Behavioural change / Cycling

Laurier Ave bike lanes safety review, Ottawa

In 2011 the City of Ottawa, Canada’s capital, voted for a pilot to build separate bicycle lanes through the downtown corridor. After careful consideration, the city chose for Laurier Ave. amongst others for the signaled intersections along Laurier as well as the connections on either side of downtown.

The results were very promising with initial bicycle ridership on Laurier Ave tripling. So promising in fact, that city council decided after the pilot project to continue the project as permanent bike infrastructure.

Over the years, the city has been improving access to the lanes, with new connections on the west end. They also sought to improve access and visibility for cyclists on the east end by adding more green Thermoplast and more turning boxes.

As the lane had to be built within limited space, some concessions had to be made. Two (car) lanes were removed and parking was modified. This freed up some space to introduce the bike lanes. The signals were reprogrammed in order to give straight through traffic a head start before traffic could turn and cross the bike lanes.

Since the lane was built it has seen an considerable increase with trips regularly over 3500 per day in the summer, even approaching 4000 a day compared with numbers in summer 2011 which averaged around the 2500 per day.

The right turning movements have always been a concern though and the city had taken steps (education, extra signs) to warn road users of this issue. A first measure was to move the stop lines for cyclists forward so they are more visible.

In 2017, the City of Ottawa commissioned Mobycon, with more than 30 years of experience in cycling and pedestrian safety solutions, to do a safety study after a cyclist died due to a collision with a truck. After extensive consulting with all stakeholders, the city received a comprehensive report with results and recommendations. Some of those were:

  • The number of crashes per 100 million km is considerably down
  • ‘Right hooks’ are a serious problem
  • Signage is confusing and overwhelming
  • The bike lanes are not always clearly marked as bike lanes
  • Right of way exits should be narrower, but sightlines should be wider by removing some parking

The stakeholders offer a number of solutions, such as better visibility, separate bicycle signals, more green in the pathway.

Related

blog
May 2024

Cycling Tourism - last month, our colleague Moniek Jansen became a Certified EuroVelo Route Inspector!  

Read more
blog
May 2024

"The cycle path is not a long, quiet river": 5 misconceptions about cycling urbanism

Read more
blog
April 2024

The 2024 Winter Cycling Congress: Talking Maintenance, Accessibility, and Safety

Read more
blog
March 2024

Empowering Women in Cycling 

Read more
blog
March 2024

Building a ‘cool air’ cycling system in hot, humid Bangkok – Mobycon’s first ACTIVE programme in Southeast Asia – Part 2 

Read more
blog
March 2024

Building a ‘cool air’ cycling system in hot, humid Bangkok – Mobycon’s first ACTIVE programme in Southeast Asia – Part 1 

Read more
blog
March 2024

Meet Anna Luten!

Read more
blog
February 2024

Ease, Comfort, and Joy to Create Cycling Networks for All

Read more
blog
January 2024

When the Snow Flies: A Guide for Winter Cycling Success – Part 1

Read more
blog
October 2023

Protected crossings: Why not in Germany too?

Read more