Toronto's political football provides more proof that bike lanes reduce accidents and injuries

Part of a complete street
CC BY 2.0 Bike lanes are part of complete streets / Lloyd Alter

One of the first thingsToronto Mayor Rob Ford did when he was elected was rip up the fresh new bike lanes on Jarvis Street, a major commuting artery with a strange reversible lane in the middle that confused a lot of people and was ugly to boot. There is a very small silver lining however; it is one of those rare cases where one gets to look at not only a before and after scenario, but a before/after/before.

David Topping of the Grid writes that collisions went down significantly while the lanes were there, and then went up after they were removed, even though the City installed fully separated bike lanes a long block east on a parallel street. Cutting out that reversible lane didn't affect the number of cars, either, according to David:

An average of 31,285 cars were counted going either northbound or southbound daily at Dundas over three days in 2007, and 33,883 over three days in 2012. (It took them just a little longer to make the trip—two to five minutes more on average, depending on the time of day, a delay that city staff found could be trimmed simply by adding an advanced left turn at Jarvis and Gerrard for cars going north.)

So what do we learn after all this? Taxpayers' money wasted putting the lanes back. Cylists endangered and injured. Drivers barely inconvenienced or delayed, which might have been ameliorated with signalling changes. David concludes:

From what we know now, Jarvis seems to have been a safer street with bike lanes on it than it was before, or has been since—and that goes for everyone who took it, were they pedestrians, cyclists, or drivers. In other words: it was a win-win, but not anymore.

Put that in your crack pipe and smoke it, Rob Ford.

Toronto's political football provides more proof that bike lanes reduce accidents and injuries
The accident rate went down when Toronto's Jarvis Street bike lane was installed, and went up again when it was ripped out.

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