A study conducted at York University has revealed that numerous injured cyclists in Toronto are not accounted for. Published in the journal Injury Prevention, the study analyzed local hospital records from 2016 to 2021. It also used traffic data from the Toronto Police Service.
ER trips data
“We found that there were approximately 30,000 total cyclist emergency department visits over five years,” Alison Macpherson, a York University professor said to CityNews on Monday. “That’s a high number for sure. I think what was the biggest surprise to us was that 80 per cent of those emergency department visits were from cyclist injuries not involving a motor vehicle. We expected that proportion to be somewhat higher.”
Pedestrian versus cyclist injuries
Macpherson said that about 2,300 cyclists required hospital admission. In the case of pedestrians, there were roughly 9,700 visits to the emergency department. 54 percent of pedestrian incidents were documented in Toronto Police Service data. However, Macpherson highlighted that only 7.9 percent of cyclist-related incidents were recorded.
Linking data to get better understanding
“The police don’t respond to everything, that’s not their job,” she said. “What we would really ideally like to see is some linkage between police data and hospital data because the police data has. That means the context, the location, whereas hospitalization data focuses on the individual that was injured. And of course because that’s the reason those data are collected.”
By amalgamating this information, they can obtain a comprehensive overview of injuries sustained by cyclists and pedestrians.
Invaluable data for City of Toronto
“Cycling is a safe and sustainable way to get around the city,” she said, saying that the City of Toronto has done a great job recently with added infrastructure. “Previous studies that we’ve done show that the safest place for bicyclists to ride is on a pathway separated from motor vehicles, so I’m not saying that cycling is unsafe—that’s not true at all—but I think if we want to make it safer, we need to look at the infrastructure both on roads and off roads that makes it safer for cyclists.”