Regional Annual Collision Report

I was CC’ed on an email to the Region of Waterloo’s Transportation Department concerning the 2010 Collision Report. I share a lot of the concerns of the letter writer, so rather than write my own post about it, I lazed-out and got permission to post it in full. Thanks to Jonathan for sharing with us on Waterloo Bikes.


Hello,

I’m writing to you concerning your recently released collision report (http://www.regionofwaterloo.ca/en/gettingAround/resources/2010_ANNUAL_COLLISION_REPORT.pdf). First of all, thank you for your work on the report, and for devoting a section to cycling related accidents. I’m glad that these reports get released, but I have a number of concerns regarding the statistics on cyclists.

Firstly, as far as I can see, the report only lists the cyclist behaviours responsible for cyclist collisions, not driver behaviour. Admittedly, it says that 73% of the time, cyclists were at fault, but that still leaves 27% of accidents that seem to have no cause at all. This seems like a glaring omission to me.

A bigger failure of the information is that 41% of the “cyclist actions” resulting in accidents are listed under “other.” That’s not particularly helpful. There doesn’t seem to be a section for “improper lighting on bicycle” for instance. Since 55% of accidents occurred while the cyclist was on the crosswalk, that probably accounts for most of those accidents, but section 2.3.3 seems to be confusing “location” with behaviour at times. It’s unclear what the location “cutting through traffic” would be, and yet there’s no differentiation made between cyclists in bike lanes, on the road, or in intersections/roundabouts. “Cycling the wrong way on a one way road” is included under behaviours (Sec 2.3.1), but “Cycling on roadway against traffic” is included in locations (Sec 2.3.3).

Finally, there’s also no indication if cyclists were hit from behind, from the side, head-on or with open doors, and no indication of the time of day at which these accidents occurred.

I expect a little more detail could go a long way to help reduce these dangerous collisions. I imagine that the Region’s Transportation division is only compiling information provided by law enforcement, but that if that information is inadequate, perhaps we could request that more detailed information be recorded at the scene of accidents?

I see that Waterloo Transportation also releases a list of the top 100 locations in terms of number of collisions, but there is no indication as to the nature of these collisions. Wouldn’t a list of the top 100 locations for pedestrian collisions and for cyclists collisions be helpful for developing better pedestrian/cyclist infrastructure?

Sincerely,
Jonathan