The worst intersections for cyclists in Toronto might surprise you. Ever since Adrian Verster's girlfriend was injured in a cycling accident, the PhD Biology student and data head has been crunching more than 25 years of GPS tagged statistics from the Toronto Traffic Safety Unit on injuries involving bicycles in the hope of finding the safest route around the city.
The fruit of his labour, published online this week, is a list of the worst intersections for cyclists based on the number of reported accidents, falls, collisions, tires pinched by streetcar tracks - anything that's brought a ride to a sudden and painful end.
"I spend a huge amount of time crunching data, plotting stuff, et cetera," Verster says. "We live in a world where there's so much data readily available and you can do so much stuff with it."
The raw data appears to show an even scattering of scraped knees, skinned elbows, and, in some tragic cases, loss of life. Verster's treatment shifted each accident to the nearest major intersection in an attempt to make some sense of the carnage.
The number one blackspot since 1986? Lake Shore Boulevard East and Carlaw Avenue.
This intersection is unusual because there appears to be a good safety infrastructure in place. The fully separated Martin Goodman Trail is controlled by dedicated traffic lights and a set of seldom used rail tracks is buried beneath rubber covers.
"Bloor and Queen Street are really high up the list and that I found not surprising because they are two major bike commute routes that don't have bike lanes. The kinked intersections I did find more surprising, I wasn't expecting to get that back."
Verster is referring to several non-standard intersections that feature jogs or unusual bends in his complete top twenty-four: namely Queen and River, Avenue and Lonsdale, Bloor and Parliament, Bloor and Castle Frank, Broadview and Gerrard. Streetcar tracks, a perennial threat to cyclists, feature sporadically in Verster's list.
THE COMPLETE TOP 10
1) Lake Shore Blvd. E and Carlaw Ave.
2) Queen St. W and Niagara St.
3) Queen St. E and River St.
4) Bathurst St. and Davenport Rd.
5) Avenue Rd. and Lonsdale Rd.
6) Bloor St. W and Brock Ave.
7) Bloor St. W and St. Thomas St.
8) Lake Shore Blvd. W and Jameson Ave.
9) Bloor St. E. and Castle Frank Rd.
10) Bloor St. E and Parliament St.
Are you surprised by the top ten? Which intersections did you expect to make the list?
Chris Bateman is a staff writer at blogTO. Follow him on Twitter at @chrisbateman.
by Chris Bateman via blogTO