New data is available from close to 1,000 observations of cyclists travelling on, or adjacent to, urban streets in London, Ontario in the year 2023. This is a continuation of similar observations conducted in 2021 and 2022. These data are very different from what is displayed by the City of London from their eco-counters which are embedded at select points along cycling paths, lanes and tracks, Observations along City streets provide a better indication of the safety challenges existing to the average cyclist who often rides where no official cycling infrastructure exists. The increased documentations by Gorski Consulting in the past few years allow for yearly comparisons to be made and for consideration of developing trends.
The table below shows the most recent data from the year 2023, followed by similar tables for the years 2022 and 2021.
As can be seen in the above tables female cyclist observations continue to remain low. The percentage of observed females was 12.54 in 2021, 13.11 in 2022 and 14.60 in 2023. While there appears to be a slight creeping upward in these years the best that can be said is that the percentage of observed female cyclists is in the range of 12 to 15 percent.
This data also shows the location of cyclists. Previously we have categorized cyclists with respect to whether they were observed within the travel lanes of a road or whether they were observed on a sidewalk. In the 2021 data we did not note what cyclists were doing at pedestrian crossings of intersections but this was changed in 2022 and 2023 with the addition of two columns: “Riding Thru Ped Crossing” and “Walking Thru Ped Crossing”. These columns were added because it we noted that a substantial number of cyclists were riding on pedestrian crossings and this action is prohibited.
When tallying the numbers of cyclists on the sidewalk we included all observations where cyclists were riding, walking or stopped on a sidewalk. We also included those cyclists in this category who were observed to riding or walking through a pedestrian crossing. It was judged that cyclists within a pedestrian crossing were likely to have originated from a sidewalk so this is the reason for their inclusion.
When tallying the numbers of cyclists on a road we combined those observations where cyclists were riding within a traffic lane along with those that were stopped in a traffic lane. Cyclists observed riding within a designated cycling lane or track were also included in this category of riding on the road.
As can be seen in the above tables we have separated males and females. So in 2021 the percent of cyclists on a sidewalk were: Males = 64.89% and Females = 64.94%. For 2022 the data indicated: Males = 65.25% and Females = 72.59%. And for 2023 the data indicated: Males = 66.79% and Females = 65.22%. While these data show slight differences from year to year those differences are not likely to be meaningful given the size of the samples. However, overall it could be said that about two-thirds of cyclists in London, between the years 2021 and 2023, were observed on a sidewalk versus within a travel lane of a road or cycling lane. Note that Provincial legislation and London bi-laws prohibit cyclists from riding on a sidewalk. So about two-thirds of cyclists have been observed to be disobeying those laws.
We will have more discussion about these observations in future articles on this Gorski Consulting website. Data about helmet use and differences between travel locations will be some of the issues to be discussed.