Burrard Bridge eight times more dangerous

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The most popular story on Metronews Vancouver today is titled Burrard bike lane debate goes on. Author Jeff Hodson reports on stats that imply the Burrard Street Bridge crossing is more dangerous than its Granville and Cambie Street counterparts.

Eight adult cyclists were treated in emergency rooms over a five-month period last year for injuries suffered while trying to cross the Burrard Street Bridge, a UBC researcher told Vancouver city council yesterday during a meeting to discuss trial bike lane re-allocation. Councillors are considering turning one or two lanes of the historic bridge into cycling routes.  A six-month trial would aim to gather data on how closing lanes would impact drivers before the city spends major money expanding the bridge deck or constructing a cycling bridge.

Kay Teschke, a professor at the University of B.C.’s school of population and public health, told councillors that five of the eight injuries last year involved motor vehicles.  Some of the injuries also involved “interactions” with other sidewalk users, where the cyclist fell or was pushed off the raised sidewalk onto the bridge deck. “Some of the injuries were extremely serious, involving extreme trauma, including head injuries,” Teschke said. By comparison, one cyclist has been injured on each of the Cambie and Granville bridges, Teschke said.

Council, which will further debate the issue tomorrow afternoon, heard from 14 of 21 scheduled speakers. All but two were in favour of a two-lane re-allocation trial.

The Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association’s executive director, Charles Gauthier, said his organization opposes the trial because it would discourage trips into the downtown area. He said it is the worst possible time for a lane re-allocation because of Canada Line construction on Cambie, and asked that it be delayed until after the Paralympic Games.

Last modified: May 7, 2009

2 Responses to " Burrard Bridge eight times more dangerous "

  1. Tz says:

    Why did they only use data from the past 5 months? What are the injury stats for Burrard vs. Cambie vs. Granville over a longer time period?

    I cross this bridge twice a day and I have never seen enough bike traffic to warrant bigger bike lanes. I have however seen more than enough car traffic to warrant turning the existing sidewalks into car lanes. Let’s trial that instead.

  2. Old Kitsie says:

    One of the reported accidents is quite possibly an accident that my husband and I happened upon … we had just left the cinema on Burrard Street and were heading home west over the bridge when we realized a cyclist was down. We stopped mid-span and helped her out – she was badly gashed on her face from landing hard on the pavement and did require stitches. We took her and her bike back to her home and then she went to emergency – the thing was she told us that she”just closed her eyes for a minute and fell over”. She fell asleep at the wheel, so to speak! There is not enough bike traffic to warrant any closures but it would be helpful if we could somehow mandate common sense for those that do use the bridge, in any capacity.