A review of reported cyclist collisions in London, Ontario would make one believe that there are very few such collisions. In fact there is likely a very large segment of non-reported collisions, as suggested by further research. This article will provide a short review of cyclist collisions that occurred and were reported in London, Ontario in the last five years. Then we will examine some further research which indicates cyclist collisions are under-reported by a large margin. It should be recognized that nothing can be learned from these occurrences, not only because so many are never reported, but also because of the very minimal information that is made available in each reported collision.
The following is the list of 13 collisions reported by official news media in London between the years 2019 and 2023.
May 24, 2019
At approximately 2115 hours a female cyclist was struck by an unidentified vehicle Adelaide Street between Dundas Street and Queens Ave. The cyclist sustained serious injuries. No further information was made available.
June 15, 2019
At approximately 1530 hours a cyclist, of undisclosed gender, sustained a serious head injury after a collision on Wellington St north of Horton Street. The striking vehicle was a Pontiac G5. A site photo showed a distant view of a cycle lying in the left, northbound lane of Wellington just north of Horton. No further information was made available.
June 28, 2019
At approximately 2230 hours a male cyclist sustained fatal injuries in a collision on Hamilton Road at East Street. Two vehicles were reportedly involved: a dark coloured Chevrolet SUV and a red Honda sedan. No further information was made available.
July 22, 2019
At approximately 2300 hours a male cyclist was struck by a hit-&-run driver while travelling westbound on Exeter Road and approaching Wonderland Road. The cyclist sustained numerous injuries, the most serious was a head injury that left him in a coma and ultimately with permanent brain injuries that altered his life significantly. Eventually the hit-&-run driver was caught and was sentenced in court. While there was considerable media attention paid to the health progress of the victim, nothing was reported about the details of the collision. In fact, the specific location of the collision was never publicly identified.
August 22, 2019
Shortly before midnight a male cyclist was struck by an unidentified vehicle on Commissioners Road near Andover Drive. The cyclist sustained critical injuries however the eventual outcome of those injuries was never publicly reported. The type of vehicle involved in the collision was never identified. And no information about how the collision occurred was ever provided.
November 4, 2019
At approximately 0620 hours a cyclist was struck and injured on Adelaide Street just south of King Street. A photo taken by a reporter from the London Free Press showed the struck cycle and its wheels appeared to be undamaged. However the handlebars and front wheel were rotated around 180 degrees. Police were at the site for several hours but no additional information was made available.
September 5, 2020
At approximately 1230 hours a cyclist sustained fatal injuries after he was struck while riding his bicycle across Gainsborough Road just west of Hyde Park Road. The London Free Press posted an article focused on a cyclist who arrived at the collision site only a few minutes after it occurred. The witness cyclist claimed that there was a sight obstruction caused by vegetation in the southbound direction in which the deceased was travelling. Police were observed to operate a drone during their investigation at the site but no additional information was released about the collision.
Gorski Consulting conducted a traffic study at the site and it was found that the witness cyclist was correct in his reporting the sight obstruction. Furthermore it was found that typical motor vehicle traffic along Gainsborough Road was well above the posted speed limit and that unsafe features of the cycling path where the fatal collision occurred also may have been a factor in the collision. The London Police Service did not provide any information about their investigation.
March 2, 2022
The London Police Service reported that a cyclist was struck by an unidentified vehicle at an undisclosed location of Trafalgar Street near Elm Street. The extent of injuries to the cyclist was not reported. No further information was made available.
August 7, 2022
At approximately 0200 hours an unconscious cyclist was found lying on a sidewalk on Sunningdale Road near the YMCA east of Adelaide Street. No information was made available by police about their investigation. A family member posted on social media that the cyclist sustained major head injuries but that he was likely to recover. The family member also reported there were “cuts all over his arms, legs and neck”. No further information was made available.
September 18, 2022
At approximately 0430 hours a cyclist was struck by a hit-&-run vehicle on Hamilton Road near Inkerman Street. Extended media coverage of many months described how the search for the striking vehicle was continuing. Meanwhile nothing was noted about how the collision occurred. In February 2023 local residents gathered at a local community centre to discuss what actions could be taken to make Hamilton Road safer.
September 1, 2023
On this Friday afternoon a cyclist was struck by a vehicle on Adelaide Street between Dundas Street and Queens Ave. The extent of injuries to the cyclist was not made available. London City Police did not provide any information about their investigation.
December 1, 2023
At approximately 0500 hours a cyclist was struck by a Chevrolet SUV on Wharncliffe Road just north of Riverview Ave. News reporter photos showed the cycle lying in a driveway at the edge of the southbound curb lane. The cycle’s front wheel and handlebars were rotated 180 degrees. There appeared to be minimal or no damage to the rims of the cycle. The Chevrolet reportedly had damage to the right of its front bumper and along its right fender. No information was provided by London Police Service about the status of their investigation.
December 8, 2023
At approximately 1630 hours a cyclist as struck by a London Police Service cruiser on York Street near William Street. The cyclist suffered a serious injury but no specific injury information was made available. News media reported that York Street was closed for over 12 hours and that the Ontario Special Investigations Unit (SIU) became involved. At this time there has been no further information made available on the SIU website. No further information was made available from any other source about this collision.
Thirteen collisions have been discussed in this five-year review of reported cyclist collisions in London, Ontario. Reviewing the descriptions it can be seen that absolutely nothing useful has been provided in these descriptions. If one were to provide safety guidance to cyclists and motor vehicle drivers these descriptions would be of no value.
The question remains whether these 13 collisions are the only ones that occurred in London in the past five years. No one can say for sure because no specific, official data exists that would confirm that cyclist collisions are being under-reported.
One might believe that an organization such as a local health unit might provide reliable information about cyclist collisions. After all a health unit must be responsible for monitoring any health risks to the public. The local health unit in the London area is the Middlesex-London Health Unit. Scanning their website it becomes clear that not much useful data about cyclist collisions is available. Some dated reports are available on the website with some data. For example a report in 2014 provided some cyclist collision data as follows:
However even this limited data raises some questions. Someone conducted an analysis that determined there were 779 cyclist collisions in the 5-year period between 2008 and 2013. Or there were about 156 cyclist collisions every year. Compare this result to the one in our review where only 13 collisions were reported to the public between 2019 and 2023. Does that not suggest that there is a very large under-reporting of collisions to the general public? And there is more…
In a Canadian Press article published on August 2, 2022, statistics on cyclist hospitalizations were quoted from the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI). In part the article noted:
Does this finding also show that recent collisions are vastly under-reported in London, Ontario? There were “nearly 29,000 trips to the emergency room from cycling injuries” in Ontario. In 2021 Ontario’s population was estimated to be about 14.9 million. And London’s population was approximately 400,000, or about 2.7 percent of the province’s population. If there were 29,000 trips to the emergency room in Ontario then one might believe there should have been about 783 visits in London. This belief would seem to match the data from the Middlesex- London health (779 visits) unit noted above.
Comparing the research to the number of cyclist collisions reported to the public would indicate that, of those collisions requiring a hospital intervention, which were about 780, only 13 were publicly reported. Or only about 1.7 percent were actually reported to the public. And even when those collisions were reported absolutely nothing of benefit was provided that would help the public in understanding how their safety might be jeopardized or what factors would be important in preventing their injury and death.