Comment 107464

By kevlahan (registered) | Posted January 01, 2015 at 13:43:21


I am devastated to hear about your serious accident, but relieved that your injuries were not worse. Thank you so much for sharing your story: people need to know that there are real people behind the unacceptable injury statistics for pedestrians and cyclists in Hamilton. They need to know that being a defensive, law-abiding experienced urban cyclist is not always enough to keep you safe on our neighbourhood streets.

The design of the streets and the attitude of many drivers unfortunately makes dangerous collisions like this inevitable, and pedestrians and cyclists are especially vulnerable. The statistics show clearly that Hamilton is one of the most dangerous cities in Ontario for cyclists and pedestrians.

'The risk to cyclists can be as much as 81 per cent higher than the provincial average.'

Our streets need to change NOW!

This intersection is used by many commuting cyclists as a way to get off Aberdeen as soon as possible when travelling East, but it is dangerous. The intersection is close to the 403 exit which means traffic is still travelling fast and motorists are not entirely adjusted to the urban environment.

Two years ago I wrote about an extremely unpleasant run in with a driver while waiting to turn at that same intersection.

In this case the driver basically tried to run me off the road and threatened that I would die if I persisted in cycling on the streets! After that incident I decided to change my route to avoid turning at Hawthorne; I'd had too many unpleasant and dangerous incidents with impatient or careless drivers. Now I take the newly completed path through the golf course, even though it involves an extra 200m (and going up and down the hill).

This shouldn't be necessary. Aberdeen is indicated as an un-signed cycle route, shown on the City of Hamilton bike route map, and actually has a (very narrow) cycle lane just west of this location travelling west. And, more importantly, our urban streets should not be so dangerous and unpleasant that experienced and rule-abiding cyclists have to carefully plan their routes to avoid being killed or maimed. Given the severity of the injuries speed was a factor. Remember that cyclists and pedestrians are far more vulnerable even at speeds that are considered 'low' (for motorists!).

This situation is unacceptable. We know what we need to do to build safer complete streets. Other cities are already doing it. We MUST too.

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