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209 Safety of cycling infrastructure installed during COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto Canada
  1. Linda Rothman1,2,3,
  2. Sima Namin1,
  3. Naomi Schwartz1, 3,
  4. Alison Macpherson4,
  5. Anne Harris1,2,
  6. Meghan Winters5,
  7. Colin Macarthur2,3,
  8. Andrew Howard2,3
  1. 1Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada
  2. 2University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada
  3. 3Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Canada
  4. 4York University, Toronto, Canada
  5. 5Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, Canada
  6. 6Parachute, Toronto, Canada


Background In the spring/summer of 2020, 8 new cycling infrastructure corridors (6 downtown) were installed in Toronto, Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic. Changes in cycling volumes and safety (6 cycle tracks and 2 buffered bicycle lanes), pre-versus post-installation were examined.

Methods Cycling volumes were estimated using 34 temporary counters across the city (September 2019 compared to 2020/2021) and 21 downtown permanent bike counters (May 2020 compared to 2021; October 2019 compared with September 2020). Pre- and post- installation cycling volume data on new infrastructure was based on two-day average counts collected in 2020. Police-reported cyclist collisions pre- (2016-Aug 10, 2020, n= 278 collisions) and post-installation (Aug 11, 2020- Dec 31, 2021, n=102 collisions) were mapped within 25-metres of each cycling corridor. Collisions were adjusted by observation time.

Results Cycling volumes increased by 12% across the city [58 to 65 bikes/hour]; 72% downtown (128 to 220 bikes/hour), and 68% on the new infrastructure (106 to 179 bikes/hour). Cycling collision rates decreased 28% on the infrastructure (0.74/1000 to 0.53/1000 cycle months, respectively), with most collisions occurring at intersections with little change post-installation (72% versus 74%, respectively).

Conclusion Cycling volumes increased post installation, most markedly downtown and on the cycling infrastructure. There was a reduction in collisions with the installation of cycling infrastructure; however, the proportion of intersection collisions increased.

Learning Outcomes There was a trend towards increased cycling in Toronto since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. Although collisions declined along new cycling infrastructure, intersections must be designed to improve cycling safety.

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