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Bicycle Infrastructure in Canada: Safety Performance (Present & Future)

Project Summary

Status

In Progress

Research Area

Road Safety

Responsible Council / Committee

Chief Engineers' Council / Road Safety Standing Committee

Related TAC publications

Traffic Signal Guidelines for Bicycles (2014)

Project Funding Partners

New Brunswick Department of Transportation and Infrastructure; Manitoba Infrastructure and Transportation; Ministry of Transportation, Ontario; Ville de Montréal; Translink; Region of Waterloo; CITE; City of Ottawa; Town of Oakville; City of Calgary; City of Vancouver; British Columbia Department of Transportation and Infrastructure; Bunt & Associates Engineering; ICBC; City of London; Transport Canada

Research Agency

MORR Transportation Consulting

Project Category

Road Safety

Staff Contact

Abstract

In Canada, transportation-related legislation and regulations generally describe people bicycling as being “vehicles”. This language was typically adopted as a mechanism to provide bicyclists the authority to travel on a roadway. However, today people who are bicycling are generally understood to be vulnerable road users having different needs than both motorized vehicles and people who are walking.

The increasing popularity of bicycling as a mode of travel in Canada is leading many jurisdictions to develop new bicycle infrastructure. The goal of these facilities is generally to improve the safety and mobility of bicyclists.

Several bicycle facility planning and design guidelines and resources already exist. These include the TAC publications: “Active Transportation – Making it Work in Canadian Communities (2010)”; “Bikeway Traffic Control Guidelines for Canada (2012)”; and “Traffic Signal Guidelines for Bicycles (2014)”. The “TAC Geometric Design Guide for Canadian Roads (2017)” also contains significant guidance in the design of these facilities.

Unfortunately, there is an overall lack of understanding within the transportation industry regarding the specific safety performance associated with different types of bicycle facilities in the Canadian context – whether currently in existence or under consideration for possible construction.

The major project objectives are to:

  • Identify methods and/or measures to evaluate the safety of bicycle facilities, including the impact on all road users, such as legislative changes to police reporting requirements to include bicycle collisions with other bicycles, pedestrians, and motor vehicles.
  • Identify the data requirements to undertake the evaluation so the Canadian road authorities can determine the safety performance of future bicycle facilities.
  • Identify major bicycle infrastructure projects that have been undertaken in Canadian cities over the past decade to improve conditions for cyclists.
  • Document the impacts on numbers of cyclists that use roads or ride in neighbourhoods following infrastructure improvements.
  • Quantify the impacts on the safety of cyclists, and other road users, following the implementation of the bicycle infrastructure improvements.

Key tasks to accomplish the project objectives will include:

  • Literature review to determine the best practices for measuring safety performance of bicycle facilities, identify data requirements, and bicycle collision trends in Canada.
  • Jurisdictional surveys and interviews to identify data sources and needs as well as to identify candidate bicycle facilities for evaluation.
  • Data collection and analysis to quantify the safety performance of different bicycle facilities in Canada.

The work will culminate in a report on study findings and help practitioners evaluate the safety performance of different bicycle facilities within their jurisdiction. The project deliverable will be a supplement to the Traffic Signal Guidelines for Bicycles (2014) and Bikeway Traffic Control Guidelines for Canada (2012) and it will provide the basic requirements for evaluating bicycle facilities, case studies documenting the safety performance of various types of bicycle facilities, and safety heuristics for the associated bicycle facilities.