Toronto bicycle commuter safety rates

Accid Anal Prev. 1999 Nov;31(6):675-86. doi: 10.1016/s0001-4575(99)00028-7.


This analysis uses data from a survey of Toronto commuter cyclists that collected information regarding accident history as well as regular commute route to work or school. By relating the route information of the 1196 respondents to facility attributes in a Geographic Information System (GIS), defensible estimates of travel exposure on roads, off-road paths and sidewalks were developed. The rate of collision on off-road paths and sidewalks was lower than for roads. The relative rates for falls and injuries suggest these events are least common on-road followed by off-road paths, and finally most common on sidewalks. The rate of major injuries, an injury that required medical attention, was greatest on sidewalks and the difference between paths and sidewalks was negligible. These rates suggest a need for detailed analysis of sidewalk and off-road path bicycle safety. The absolute event rates per bicycle kilometer were found to be between 26 and 68 times higher than similar rates for automobile travel, re-confirming the urgent bicycle safety crisis. Examination of rates for sub-groups of cyclists suggest that experience is an important factor in bicycle safety. The same survey conducted in Ottawa, Canada found event rates much lower than Toronto. This result may confirm urban form, traffic levels and attitude do affect bicycle safety. The analysis also demonstrates a successful method to quantify bicycle travel exposure information and should be considered for further use as complement to other existing techniques.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic / statistics & numerical data*
  • Bicycling / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Occupational Health*
  • Ontario
  • Safety