An article published by the Canadian Press, dated August 2, 2022 contained some important data on recent cycling injuries in Ontario and Canada. In part, the article noted:
“The Canadian Institute for Health Information has released national data that covers hospitalizations and emergency department visits from April 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021. It shows hospitalizations for all injuries dropped by about 15,000 visits year-over-year to 256,000 — but hospitalizations for cycling injuries increased 25 per cent to 5,255. The jump was especially big in Ontario, which logged 1,579 bike-related hospitalizations and accounted for about 30 per cent of all cycling traumas. The province also saw nearly 29,000 trips to the emergency room for cycling injuries, up one third from the year before. Nationally, CIHI says cycling-related ER visits jumped 36 per cent to 43,700 and hospitalizations for biking brain injuries increased to 776 from 563.“
The cited report is not presently accessible to the public on the CIHI website. It is not clear why since the Canadian Press article indicated that the CIHI “released” the national data which was published on July 28, 2022. The CIHI reports that it is funded by several government agencies and such information would be highly important for the public to evaluate.
While cycling injuries have been rising there has been little indication of this in news made available to the public. In London, Ontario, like in many similar cities, there have been many adjustments made to roadways with the creation of new cycling lanes. And there have been reports that the cycling mode of transportation is on the rise. Yet little has been said about what types of collisions involve cyclists, what injuries have occurred and under what circumstances. A glance at news media articles would make one believe that very few cyclist injuries occur in the City.
As an example, in the year 2019 there were 6 incidents reported in the news media of collisions occurring within the City of London. One collision, reportedly occurring on Hamilton Rd west of Highbury Ave, caused fatal injuries to the cyclist. The remaining 5 incidents involved injuries but scant information was provided as to the details of those injuries or in what circumstances they occurred. A single cyclist collision that occurred on Exeter Road near Wonderland garnered more attention as the young male cyclist sustained severe head injuries and the progress of his recuperation was publicized over many months.
In contrast another cyclist collision that caused critical injuries to the cyclist in late August of 2019 on Commissioners Road near Andover Drive received very little publicity and minimal information was revealed about the circumstances in which the injuries occurred.
Meanwhile, in the year 2020, when the Canadian Institute For Health Information (CIHI) reported the very large increases in cyclist injuries, there was only a single incident in London that became reported by news media. That incident was a collision in which a retired university professor was killed while attempting to ride his bicycle across Gainsborough Rd just west of Hyde Park Road in west London. Again, very little, if anything, was officially reported about how and why the cyclist was killed. An article written by Dale Carruthers, of the London Free Press, quoted a a cyclist who used that portion of the multi-use path where the collision occurred, reported that “When you’re coming from the north of the bike path, there’s bushes on the right, so you would have to come pretty cautiously to get across the road,”. But no official response was given by either City or police officials. In fact, testing as the site by Gorski Consulting shortly after the incident revealed a number of deficiencies and high speeds of motor vehicle traffic: facts that should have been obvious to the City and police.
And in 2021, another year relating to the CIHI data regarding increasing cycling injuries, not a single news item was noted reporting any cyclist collision in the City of London. Does this mean that, throughout Ontario, a massive increase in cyclist injuries was occurring but in London there was a miraculous lack of those incidents?