Eight adult cyclists were treated in emergency rooms over a five-month period last year for injuries suffered while trying to cross the Burrard Street Bridge, a UBC researcher told Vancouver city council yesterday during a meeting to discuss trial bike lane re-allocation.
Councillors are considering turning one or two lanes of the historic bridge into cycling routes.
A six-month trial would aim to gather data on how closing lanes would impact drivers before the city spends major money expanding the bridge deck or constructing a cycling bridge.
Kay Teschke, a professor at the University of B.C.’s school of population and public health, told councillors that five of the eight injuries last year involved motor vehicles.
Some of the injuries also involved “interactions” with other sidewalk users, where the cyclist fell or was pushed off the raised sidewalk onto the bridge deck.
“Some of the injuries were extremely serious, involving extreme trauma, including head injuries,” Teschke said.
By comparison, one cyclist has been injured on each of the Cambie and Granville bridges, Teschke said.
Council, which will further debate the issue tomorrow afternoon, heard from 14 of 21 scheduled speakers. All but two were in favour of a two-lane re-allocation trial.
The Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association’s executive director, Charles Gauthier, said his organization opposes the trial because it would discourage trips into the downtown area.
He said it is the worst possible time for a lane re-allocation because of Canada Line construction on Cambie, and asked that it be delayed until after the Paralympic Games.