The width of a cycling facility is one of the factors needed to evaluate the safety of cycling infrastructure. Yet such data rarely exists in the public domain. As part of our continued studies into cycling safety Gorski Consulting has conducted  investigations into the widths of cycling facilities in London, Ontario. The results of these observations are shown in the two tables below. The data is separated into facilities containing One-Way and Two-Way directions of travel.


It  can  be seen that there are deviations in the facilities that could affect users. London suffers from several locations where a combination of reduced lines-of-sight, slopes and narrowed paths cause safety problems in the vicinity of underpasses along its Thames Valley Parkway. An example of the problem areas is shown below at the underpass of Ridout Street at the south edge of downtown London.

This view along the Thames Valley Parkway is looking west toward the underpass of Ridout Street. The path is marked for two-way travel. The line-of-sight is limited and there are significant vertical grades on the approaches to the underpass.

This is a westward view from within the underpass showing the very limited line-of-sight and the significant vertical grade. The width of the path between the abutment wall and the railing is only 2.2 metres.

View, looking east toward the underpass at Ridout Street. Note the limited line-of-sight, downgrade and the narrowness of the two-way path. These factors force users to pay particular attention to avoiding conflicts while those less familiar with the site pose a larger problem.

The existence of immovable barriers along the edge of cycling paths is also a danger that is rarely noted. A cyclist striking an immovable barrier can sustain less injury if the cyclist and cycle are able to glance off the barrier or slide along its length. When a barrier contains open areas within it the cyclist can snag in the barrier and sustain a much more violent outcome. This problem is well-known on roadways and highways carrying motor vehicles but somehow it becomes lost when speaking of cyclist facilities. Indeed many barriers placed along the edges of cycling paths contain dangerous snagging features yet none of this is explained to the unsuspecting users.