Manitoba·Analysis

Winnipeg's most dangerous intersections for cyclists

A CBC analysis of cyclist-vehicle collisions data gathered by MPI shows that between 2009 and 2014 there were 917 reported collisions involving a vehicle and bicycle — seven of which were fatal.

Greatest number of crashes occured along Portage Avenue, CBC analysis shows

Seven cyclists died in crashes with vehicles between 2009 and 2014, new data show. (Jenna Reid/CBC)

Intersections along Portage Avenue, Main Street and Pembina Highway top the list of Winnipeg's most dangerous areas for cyclists. 

Between Jan. 1, 2009 and Dec. 31, 2014 there were 917 reported crashes involving a vehicle and bicycle — seven of which were fatal, according to a CBC analysis of data gathered by Manitoba Public Insurance as part of a 2016 Public Utilities Board rate application.

Navigate the map to view collision locations at intersections.

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Top 5 worst intersections for vehicle-bicycle collisions, 2009-2014:

  1. Main Street and Redwood Avenue with 7 seven collisions.
  2. Dalhousie Drive and Pembina Highway with 6 collisions.
  3. Moray street and Portage Avenue with 5 collisions.
  4. Sherbrook Street and Westminster Avenue with 5 collisions.
  5. Main Street and Sutherland Avenue tied with Arlington Street and Logan Avenue, with 5 collisions each.
There have been more reported collisions at the intersection of Main Street and Redwood Avenue than any other location in the city between 2009 and 2014 according to MPI crash statistics. (Google Street View)

Top 5 worst roads for vehicle-bicycle collisions, 2009-2014:

  1. Portage Avenue with 73 collisions.
  2. Main Street with 72 collisions.
  3. Pembina Highway with 43 collisions.
  4. Notre Dame Avenue with 37 collisions.
  5. Ellice Avenue with 34 collisions.

Local cycling advocate Andrea Tétrault said the findings are consistent with her own observations.

"[This] supports the idea that cyclists really want to be taking the most direct route that they can when they're commuting to work. I think that there's this romantic idea that we like to take these meandering paths through wooded forests, and so on, to get to work, but the reality is we're just using our bike to get to work like anybody would use a car to get to work," she said.

Tétrault said given the situation, cyclists need to take their personal safety into their own hands.

"As a cyclist, I know that I'm vulnerable and so I am extra vigilant, I am extra careful, I make sure that people see me and I try to take the safest route that I possibly can," she added.

A police officer walks past a bent bicycle near the corner of Manitoba Avenue and McNichol Street on Thursday morning. (Michael Fazio/CBC News)

Bike Winnipeg said many cyclists are also motorists and sometimes ride down these roads simply out of habit.

"Often if you're driving along there, you're used to just going along the roadways, sometimes you think [...] the roadway you drive down every day, is also the only option to bike down the other day," said Marc Cohoe, executive director of Bike Winnipeg.

"For mixed use corridors we want to make sure we're giving transportation options for all users, whether they're walking, biking, taking transit or driving," he said.


How do Winnipeggers get to work?

According to Statistics Canada's 2011 National Household Survey, the main mode of transportation for employed Winnipeg residents aged 15 and older are broken down as follows:

  • Drive a car, truck or van: 229,155 people.
  • Passenger in a car, truck or van: 24,380 people.
  • Public transit: 48,530 people.
  • Walking: 18,095 people.
  • Cycling: 7,075 people.
  • Other: 4,550 people.

A lack of data

Mark Cohoe said he would like there to be more comprehensive collision data when it comes to cycling-vehicle interactions on the roads to provide a clearer picture of the situation on the ground.

"Is it a right hook? Are we seeing similar collision types with similar types of intersections across the city?" he said.

CBC requested statistics regarding the proportion of cyclists found to be at fault in the case of a collision with a vehicle, but spokesperson Brian Smiley said MPI does not consistently track at-fault data in cases of bodily injury claims under the no-fault insurance system.

In addition, the MPI data provided for this story rounds the locations of collisions to the nearest intersection and is therefore an approximation of actual collision locations.

Sherbrook Street has a protected bike lane that runs from the Maryland Bridge to Portage Avenue. (City of Winnipeg)

Turning point

Despite the frequent crashes, Andrea Tétrault believes Winnipeg has reached a turning point in terms of the popularity of cycling as a legitimate mode of transportation.

"You just see way more people riding their bikes now than certainly even three or five years ago, absolutely, I think that more people are out on the road and that in and of itself is going to make people a lot safer because [cars] just get used to us being there."

Intersections along Portage Avenue, Main Street and Pembina Highway top the list of Winnipeg's most dangerous areas for cyclists. 1:38

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