News / Vancouver

Vancouver drivers at fault in 93% of collisions with bicycles: city report

Cyclists came off looking like angels in the latest report on collisions between bikes and vehicles in Vancouver.

The cycling safety report presented to city council Tuesday found that cyclists had the right-of-way in 93 per cent of vehicle-bicycle collisions where it could be determined.

Even though the right-of-way could only be determined in 54 per cent of cases – the data is based on 3,000 ICBC collisions in between 2007 and 2012 – the statistic presents a twist in the city’s endless car versus bike debate, where the common narrative involves reckless cyclists frustrating drivers to the point of road rage.

“As someone who drives, bikes and walks, I can tell you if you choose to watch for bad behavior in any given mode you can see it,” Coun. Heather Deal said to reporters after the meeting.

“But we know from that data, and this is hard data, that the actual fault lies most frequently with the car where we can determine the fault.”

Collisions between cyclists and motor vehicles tend to occur at night in the winter when it’s raining, according to the study completed in 2014 by Urban Systems, in association with UBC, SFU and ICBC.

More than half of cyclist collisions involve cars. Cars driving through two-way stops on local streets, doorings – sometimes dubbed the “door prize,” when a driver opens a car door into the path of an unsuspecting cyclist – and vehicles making left turns resulted in the largest proportion of collisions.

The law blames drivers for doorings because they legally must check to see if their course is clear. The high percentage of doorings could help explain why cyclists had the right-of-way in most collisions.

But general clumsiness is still responsible for a large chunk of collisions. No vehicles are involved in collisions about 21 per cent of the time.

Map: Cyclist collision hot spots

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