Cyclist Safety Study: Need For Care Around Streetcar Tracks

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A recently published study reveals that street car tracks are a major cause of serious bicycle injury in Toronto. With summer in full force and bikes taking to the road, the study provides insight into the causes and potential measures that may help improve cyclist safety in busy downtown cores.

The Dangers Of Navigating Street Car Tracks

The study was conducted at Ryerson University and the University of British Columbia. The researchers analyzed 276 bike crashes occurring in Toronto over the two biking seasons between May 2008 and November 2009. The crashes were serious enough in nature to put the cyclists into the hospital. The findings showed that 87, or about one-third, of the accidents, involved cyclists becoming entangled in streetcar tracks - either by getting caught in the grooves of the tracks or by skidding across the slippery metal surfaces. Notably, most of the accidents took place on roads without bike lanes or where cyclists were forced to navigate around parked cars or other obstacles. Another dangerous scenario - comprising 15% of the accidents - involved cyclists making left turns where it can be near impossible to cross a complicated web of tracks at the recommended 90-degree angle.

Possible Improvements And Preventative Measures

Preventing cyclist injuries is a multi-faceted issue. The study may provide data for urban planners to build more dedicated bike lanes or light rail transport (LRT) systems with their own rights-of-way, separate from other traffic. Since most city bike tires are narrowing than street car tracks, wider tires may also be of some assistance. Meanwhile, until better infrastructure is implemented, cyclist training, deliberate care, and increased attention are the first line of defense. Gluckstein Injury Lawyers represents injured cyclists and advocate for their safety as they share their right to be on the roads along with other users.


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