The death of a cyclist on September 5, 2020 along with concerns expressed by residents prompted Gorski Consulting to attend the site of the collision on September 13, 2020, at the intersection of a multi-use bike path and Gainsborough Road on the western outskirts of London, Ontario, Canada. Official reports indicated that a 77-year-old male cyclist was travelling south along the multi-use path, with a partner, and approached the uncontrolled intersection with Gainsborough Road. While crossing Gainsborough the male cyclist was struck in the eastbound lane by an eastbound pick-up truck.
The following are a group of GoogleMaps views of the area.
Next are a set of Google Maps street views. Google reported that these views were taken in July of 2019, or well over a year before the collision date.
The Google Maps view below shows a westward view from just east of the cycling path and an orange circle has been added to denote an area where vehicles were parked. This increased the visibility problem for both cyclists and eastbound drivers.
During our examinations of the site in September, 2020 we noted that not much has changed since the Google Maps views of July, 2019. Several vehicles were observed parked near the bare area next to the cycling path, as noted below.
Speed and volume of traffic on Gainsborough Road and on the Cycling path was documented on September 13, 2020 using multiple video cameras. Cameras were placed along the south side of Gainsborough at 50 metre intervals from 200 metres up to the edge of the path. This provided calculations of average speeds of eastbound vehicles over 4 independent distance intervals. Cameras placed on the north and south sides of the intersection at the cycling path also provided details on the stopping location and speed of cyclists. This documentation occurred over a time of two hours commencing at approximately 1445 hours.
Analysis of the video is progressing and 20 minutes of observations have been successfully completed. In these 20 minutes 118 eastbound vehicles were documented. The average speed of all 118 vehicles has been noted below, separated into the four distances approaching the cycling path.
Between 200 & 150 metres west of the path = 65.83 km/h
Between 150 & 100 metres west of the path = 65.28 km/h
Between 100 & 50 metres west of the path = 62.00 km/h
Between 50 west & west edge of path (Zero) = 59.86 km/h
Eighteen of the 118 eastbound vehicles were observed to be travelling at 72 km/h or greater. This represents about 15.3 percent of the total.
Yet, the reporting of the speed of all eastbound vehicles does not provide a clear indication of the actual speed of vehicles travelling eastbound straight through the site. This is because a large number of vehicles were observed entering and exiting two driveways, on the north side of Gainsborough, in the vicinity of 150 and 50 metres west of the cycling path. It was apparent that a commercial event was taking place at a property in this location causing a large number of vehicles to enter and exit the driveways. For those vehicles that exited onto Gainsborough and made a left turn to travel east, this caused a substantial interference with eastbound vehicles attempting to travel straight through the site. Thus when this interference occurred observations were removed from further analysis.
There was further interference for those vehicles that could not travel faster because a slower vehicle was travelling in front of them. Thus vehicles were arbitrarily removed from the study if their location was 5 seconds or less behind a vehicle ahead of them. Thus this removed all those vehicles that were travelling slower because they were impeded by a vehicle ahead.
Once all the observations were removed where interference was a factor, this reduced the number of observations from 118 to just 26. Examining the speed of just those 26 westbound vehicles that travelled straight through the site without interference resulted in the following, recalculated, speeds:
Between 200 & 150 metres west of the path = 68.03 km/h
Between 150 & 100 metres west of the path = 67.81 km/h
Between 100 & 50 metres west of the path = 64.09 km/h
Between 50 west & west edge of path (Zero) = 61.69 km/h
Eight of the 26 westbound vehicles were observed to be travelling at 72 km/h or higher. This represents 30.77 percent of the total and is substantially greater than the 15.3 percent of the total 118 vehicles noted earlier.
There will be further analyses conducted in the near future which will include the full two hours of videotaping and the results of this analysis will be posted in another Gorski Consulting website article. In the meantime there is reason to be concerned about the speed of westbound vehicles, the lack of signage to warn drivers of the presence of the cycling path, and the lack of visibility at the cycling path that is caused by trees and parked vehicles.
In many North American cities the intense pressure toward creating infrastructure for active transportation has resulted in painful adjustments to transportation systems that were built to accommodate the almighty automobile. London, Ontario is not unique in the inadequacies of its system of bicycling paths that contain many dangers. In a society that is so focused on finding fault and hiding fault, many resources of municipalities, the Province of Ontario and other agencies, are engaged in fighting wars of civil litigation rather than using those resources to identify and correct safety problems such as those at this Gainsborough Road site.