Thunder Bay

Stats show bike lanes make streets safer, city says

The man in charge of planning bicycle lanes in Thunder Bay says they've caused a big drop in cycling collisions.

Police collision reports show decreases in crashes every time a bike lane is put in, city says

Thunder Bay's engineering department has studied police collision reports and has discovered a 70 per cent decrease in accidents on streets with bike lanes. (CBC)

The man in charge of planning bicycle lanes in Thunder Bay says they've resulted in a big drop in cycling collisions.

The city’s active transportation coordinator, Adam Krupper, said studies prove the value of bike lanes in Thunder Bay.

"The city of Thunder Bay has been using police collision reports to measure changes in collisions before and after bike lanes have been implemented," he said.

Adam Krupper, Thunder Bay's active transportation co-ordinator. (CBC)

"What engineering has found is that there has been a 70 per cent decrease in collisions every time a bike lane is put in. These are really important numbers to keep in mind in terms of [questions like] 'Do bike lanes make the roads safer?' Every time a bike lane is put in the road becomes safer."

'A real surprise'

Krupper said there's also been a decrease in motorist collisions on streets where bike lanes are installed.

The same study found a 22 per cent drop in car accidents.

"That's  something that was a real surprise to us," Krupper said.

"Engineering didn't expect to see changes in motor vehicle collisions.  But it's a very nice surprise to see there's actually been a decrease."

Krupper said the decrease is likely because the more narrow car lane makes motorists more cautious.

"They're paying a bit more attention," he said. "We've found that traffic volumes haven't changed when a bike lane is put in. The same number of people are driving, but we believe that those people who are driving are being more cautious."

This week the city is painting new lane markings and putting up signs for the newest additions to the network. The streets will include Adelaide, Arundel, High, Keith and Theresa, as well as Leslie Avenue.

Beverly Street will be next, after reconstruction of the road has been completed.

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