Canada's most dangerous city for cyclists

While Toronto and Montreal have the greatest number of cyclist accidents, you're much likelier to run into a car—or it into you—in B.C.'s Lower Mainland, Canada's collision capital.

Spring is here and as the warm weather takes hold, more cyclists will don a helmet, roll up a pant leg, and take to the streets. Unfortunately, more bicycles on Canadian roads leads to more collisions with cars.

It’s a contest the bike seldom wins: some 7,500 cyclists in Canada seriously injured in accidents with cars each year. We wanted to know: Which Canadian city is most hazardous to cyclists.

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There are no national bike-accident statistics, so we pulled together numbers from each of Canada’s major cities in 2011 (the latest complete year) and prorated them to population size. What do they show? That with 83 accidents per 100,000 citizens, Vancouver is far and away the most dangerous city for Canadian bicyclists.

Surprised? In Toronto, cyclist-driver relations are famously toxic, and grisly headlines—“Crash on Queen West during rush hour leaves cyclist pinned between car and newspaper box"—are only too common. But while Toronto’s 1300+ accidents were Canada’s most in 2011, the city’s size saves it, statistically speaking. Montreal is in the same boat, with a crash total is similar to Vancouver’s but a population three times bigger.

Here’s a breakdown of cyclist collisions in major metro Canadian cities in 2011:

 

City

Population

Bike/Car Collisions (2011)

Collisions per 100,000

Vancouver

642,843

532

83

Toronto

2,712,900

1,302

48

Winnipeg

691,800

230

33

Montreal

1,978,066

635

32

Ottawa

923,000

277

30

Edmonton

793,000

219

28

Hamilton

519,949

139

27

Calgary

1,090,936

218

20


The data don’t tell us why certain cities are more susceptible to accidents, but one thing is clear: most bike-car accidents, no matter the city, take place at intersections with traffic lights. In Vancouver that number is 60 per cent.

Toronto doesn’t record the locations of bicycle accidents. But according to regional reports, these were the most perilous intersections in Montreal and Vancouver, #2 and #3 in total crashes, respectively. 

Vancouver (2007-2011)
1)    Burrard Street Bridge & Pacific Street Onramp & Offramp  – 23 collisions
2)    East 2nd and Main Street – 15 collisions
3)    Clark Drive and 10th Ave – 13 collisions

Montreal (2006-2010)
1)    Ontario and Berri – 24 collisions
2)    Cremazie & Christophe Colomb – 22 collisions
3)    St. Antoine & Atwater – 13 collisions



Psychotic drivers running you off the road? Arrogant cyclists getting in your way? Any dangerous intersections we've missed (especially in Toronto)? Have your say below.

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