Gorski Consulting is proceeding with assessment of the safety of the new multi-use path that was completed earlier this year south of Trafalgar Road in London, Ontario. Previous postings on this website indicated our concerns that the northward downslope of the path leading to the underpass at Trafalgar Road would contribute to an increased speed of cyclists. This speed was a concern because on the approach to the underpass cyclists were forced to make an abrupt left turn into a darkened underpass with poor visibility in a location where pedestrians were found often standing within the darkened passage where they could not be readily seen. Other concerns with respect to erosion of earth onto the surface of the path at the precise point where cyclists needed to make their sharp turns were also presented.
Before proceeding with further expressions of concern there was a need to gather data on the speed of cyclists. Thus on August 24 and 25, 2018 a series of tests were performed using a hybrid bicycle instrumented with three video cameras. The tests were commenced from a stopped position at the CN railway bridge and the cycle was coasted northward down the steep downslope toward the Trafalgar underpass. The purpose of this testing was to determine what speeds would be attained as a result of the downslope irrespective of any pedaling that the cyclists might use to gain speed.
On August 24th, 14 tests were performed. It was observed that the maximum coasting speed of the cycle was reached at 150 metres north of the CN railway bridge and that maximum speed was 39.1 km/h. It was further noted that the coasting cycle reduced its speed to about 29.1 km/h at a location 275 metres north of the CN bridge. The cycle then increased its speed to 31.3 km/h as it passed over the bridge crossing the Pottersburg Creek at a loation of 300 to 325 km/h, which is located only a few metres south of the point where cyclists need to make a dramatic left turn to enter the underpass at Trafalgar Road.
The results from August 25th were similar. The maximum speed attained at the 150 metre location was 38.8 km/h, reducing to 28.5 km/h at the 275 metre marker and then increasing speed to 30.3 km/h while crossing the bridge at Pottersburg Creek.
Considering that the average speed of recreational cyclists on a level surface is below 20 km/h, these results represent a heightened speed that has an effect on the ability of cyclists to maintain control of their cycle and increases the likelihood that a collision might occur with pedestrians within the under pass or a loss-of-control incident could occur with the cycle resulting in impacts with the concrete wall of the underpass or impacts to the metal railing within the underpass.
The next step will be to document the speed of northbound cyclists as they travel along the downslope toward the Trafalgar Road underpass. The results of those observations will be reported shortly.