VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – A high rate of accidents between vehicles and bikes is one reason Vancouver ranked only 37th of 90 in a global ranking of the world’s established cycling cities.
The data was compiled and published by German insurance company Coya, as the firm launches bike theft insurance. The report looks at a number of metrics from fatalities to bike sharing.
It shows Vancouver has a higher rate of accidents (1,456 per 100,000 cyclists) compared to the only other Canadian city ranked, Montreal (986/100,000).
Bianca Pick is a copywriter with Coya. She says the company wanted to learn more about how Berlin’s bike stats compared to other cities around the world so they started pulling information from OECD indicators and municipal data.
“In Canada, you have every low fatalities but you have a lot of accidents in Vancouver. That’s maybe, partly because Canada has a very good health care system, so that puts down the fatalities but the accidents are so much higher than in other places.”
HUB Cycling’s executive director Erin O’Mellin says many of the cities that rank higher have been investing in infrastructure for decades longer than Vancouver and have updated legislation to better protect vulnerable road users.
“There are segments of the network that just don’t exist so people get dropped into situations that don’t feel safe. It’s not just how many of kilometres of bike lane we have but are they connected in a meaningful way to get people from point A to point B?” she says.
O’Mellin says Vancouver has worked hard to get where it is but could do more to close the gaps between bike routes and educate both drivers and young people about cycling.
“A lot of the places that ranked really high have systemic cycling education in schools for example,” she says, adding there’s no equivalent in Canada.
It’s not all bad news though – O’Mellin points to a recent City of Vancouver report that shows the more people bike, the better the statistics look.
“There’s safety in numbers that we see,” says O’Mellin.
“We are starting to see some of that benefit … we’re trending in the right direction and the more infrastructure, the more education and awareness we put out there, the safer things are getting.”