Many cyclists complain that motor vehicles encroach into their riding space. They also complain that painted cycling lanes do little to improve their safety. However there is no objective data available to quantify this subjective feeling of danger. For this reason Gorski Consulting has embarked on a documentation of lateral travel paths of motor vehicles and cyclists along an urban street (Colborne Street) in London, Ontario, Canada. The above table provides some preliminary results from two sessions of observations, conducted on April 12 and 14, 2023.

The “Average” column shows the distance, in metres, that the outside edge of the right front wheel of a motor vehicle was located with respect to the edge of the concrete gutter of the lane (i.e. the right edge of the lane). The “Standard Deviation” is the degree of variation in that average. For cyclists the position of the front wheel was documented. Further explanation is shown in the following figures taken from video during the testing procedures.

This view shows a typical northbound light vehicle travelling through a set of orange roadway markers in the northbound lane of Colborne Street. The markers are positioned at 5-metre intervals. Within each 5-metre position orange dots have have been painted at 20-centrimetre intervals over a width of 2 metres. As the right front tire of a vehicle crosses the dots its lateral position is noted and then averaged over a distance of 50 metres.
In this view the right front tire of an London Transit Commission (LTC) bus is seen travelling over the first set of markers. It can be seen that the outside edge of the tire is about 0.70 metres from the right edge of the lane (i.e. distance from the edge of the concrete gutter). Video cameras follow the progress of the bus as it passes through each set of markers positioned at 5-metre intervals over a distance of 50 metres.

In this view we see a northbound cyclist travelling over the first set of markers. The cycle’s front tire is crossing over the dot at 0.60 metres distance from the right edge of the lane.

Procedures like this help to provide basic data on the typical lateral travel paths of various motor vehicles and cyclists. This provides a quantitative basis for discussing the extent to which motor vehicles and cyclists may interact as cyclists are passed by the larger and wider motor vehicles. Eventually some data will be gathered as to the lateral position of motor vehicles as they pass cyclists within this 50-metre zone of testing.

The preliminary data in the above table shows that the right front tires of LTC buses typically past through a similar lateral location as the lateral paths of cyclists. Oversize vehicles in this study were comprised of slightly narrower vehicles such as over-size commercial vans, although some school buses are included in this category. The lateral travel paths of these over-size vehicles along with the paths of light vehicles appear to be located further away from the right lane edge (1.03 and 1.08 meters) than cyclists.

It is important to note however that the standard deviation of the lateral travel paths in each category provide some concern. The deviation in the lateral paths of cyclists is greater than that of the wider motor vehicles. Such information needs to be studied further.

The Colborne Street site was chosen for this study because the City of London has informed the public that it intends to create a cycling lane at this location by painting a white line to designate the edge of the cycling lane. Once such a line is painted it is expected that further documentations will take place to observe what differences there are in the travels of the vehicles and cyclists compared to the condition where no painted white line existed.