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Vancouver Bike Accidents - What's Going On ?

Jeffrey S. Witten, B.A., LL.B.
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Personal Injury Lawyer at McComb Witten Marcoux

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                                             Vancouver Bike Accidents - What's Going On ??


Is it just me or does it seem like cyclists are multiplying like yeast on the streets of Vancouver ?

Some claim to be going green. Others say they like the exercise. And still more say that the price of operating a car has pushed them out from behind the wheel.

Whatever the reason, there's a turf war happening on Vancouver's roadways. Cars and cyclists are going at it hammer and tong over a limited amount of ashpalt. And when car collides with cyclist, in the words of comedian Russell Peters, " somebody gonna get hurt !".

According to statistics kept by ICBC ( they're the ones who have the stuff) between 2005 and 2010 some 2,157 cyclists were injured in cycling accidents on the streets of Vancouver. And that's just the accidents which were reported.

Interestingly enough, it seems that many of these accidents took place at intersections located on designated bike routes.

So, what's going on ? Why are all these cyclists getting hurt?

I guess it depends on who you ask.

The City of Vancouver seems to think that cyclists share a healthy chunk of the blame and started a new program called " People are Fragile". The idea here is to educate cyclists about the dangers of running stop signs, not looking out for cars when entering intersections and bolting off the curb into oncoming traffic etc.

But, based on some (admittedly informal) polling conducted by yours truly, it seems that many Vancouver cyclists feel that motorists are the root cause of this problem. In fact, one of my cyclist informants ( who requested anonymity) felt that Vancouver drivers were an entirely self-absorbed bunch. " Why can't these knuckleheads take a few seconds away from sipping their lattes, shaving, texting and eating their free range apples to pay attention to their driving ? I've had more close calls in the last month then you've had hot dinners," growled Mr. X ( name with held for fear of retribution).

All right, so we know what the problem is. Cyclists are getting injured on the streets of Vancouver. So, what's the solution ? Should the City of Vancouver provide increased protection to cyclists by way of more separate bike lanes ( think Burrard St. Bridge)? Does the Vancouver Police Department need to crack down on motorists who fail to give cyclists proper respect ? Would a massive public education campaign ( like with drinking and driving) make a significant difference ?

Me, I don't have all the answers. But, I can tell you this. We as a community need to start taking this issue more seriously. Because too many good people are getting injured while biking on the streets of Vancouver.


Category: Bicycle Accidents

1 Comments to "Vancouver Bike Accidents - What's Going On ?"

While I applaud your call for a closer look at the cause of these accidents, the 'limited amount of asphalt' argument just doesn't wash. It's very enlightening to stand at any major intersection and see just how much unused road space is dominated by motorized vehicles. It's not uncommon to look eastward from Broadway and Cambie at any time of day, and when the lights change, see how blocks and blocks of city land is basically sitting empty every few minutes. It's not hard to imagine how reclaiming some of this under-utilized space might take pressure off of housing prices if we judiciously revamped our streets to create additional room for home-building, and of course, the small amount of separated bike lanes in the city is a tiny fraction of overall road space. Again, I thank you for the concern regarding cyclist safety, but encourage a closer look at our utilization of public space and how an over-commitment to automobile movement has is having a negative impact on a variety of livability issues.


Chris Keam
Posted by Chris Keam on March 12, 2013 at 02:37 PM

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