Background There has been an increase in cycling over recent years in Toronto, Canada and the risk of injuries associated with various cycling infrastructures have yet to be fully understood. More specifically, cycle tracks (painted bike lanes with a physical separation from traffic) have become more prevalent in Toronto’s cycling network and may offer additional protection for cyclists. However, there has been little research examining the effects of these new cycle tracks in Toronto.
Objective To examine the impact of the implementation of cycle tracks on the rate of cycle-motor vehicle collisions (CMVC) on tracks in Toronto, Canada.
Methods Using a naturalistic experimental design, CMVC rates per month were calculated for 2 years pre and post-installation of six cycle tracks. Collisions reported to the Toronto Police Service between 2000 and 2016 were mapped using ArcGIS. A repeated measures Poisson model was used to evaluate the effect of cycle track implementation on rates of CMVC adjusted for season and cycle tracks upgraded from painted bike lanes.
Results A total of 20,632 CMVC were reported in Toronto between 2000 and 2016, of which 190 collisions occurred on the six cycle tracks (3 upgraded from lanes) included in the analysis. The crude CMVC incidence rate before and after cycle track implementation was 0.42 collisions/month and 0.90 collisions/month respectively. The rate of CMVC significantly increased more than 2-fold following the implementation of cycle tracks (IRR=2.18, 95% CI: 1.42 to 3.33, p=0.003).The implementation of cycle tracks may result in an increased number of cyclists which may lead to greater risks for collisions.
Conclusions Further investigation is required to examine the change in cycling volume on these tracks. In addition, the area-wide effects of cycle tracks should be explored to determine whether CMVC rates change on surrounding roadways without any cycling infrastructure.
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