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Cyclists, stay on the roads: There's safety in numbers

If you've been injured in a crash in the past, you know that your injuries can be costly and difficult to recover from. The fear of injury puts off some cyclists, particularly in busy city areas.

Cyclists in Ottawa are being asked not to avoid downtown for a very good reason: There's safety in numbers. Having more cyclists could actually help prevent bicycle accidents from taking place.

Some people say they won't bike downtown because there is construction, heavy traffic and other issues. The problem with that, according to cycling advocates, is that reduced numbers of cyclists actually make it more likely for cyclists to be hit by a car or truck.

A 2011 survey by the TRANS committee showed that there was a 40 per cent rise in the number of cycling journeys between 2005 and 2011. In 2011, around 53,800 daily biking trips were being taken. In 2005, there were only 37,100. When you look at the number of collisions within that time period, you see that there were 231 in 2006 and 228 in 2014; the data suggests that cycling in greater numbers does actually reduce injuries and crashes.

Safety concerns are having an impact. A total of 54 per cent of Ontario residents want to be able to ride more than they do, but they're concerned that they won't be safe on their bikes. Only 4 per cent of residents in Ottawa within the greenbelt ride to work at the moment. The city hopes that increasing that number to 8 per cent will help reduce injuries and accidents. Investing in a cycling infrastructure and further education could help.

Source: CBC News, "Why Ottawa cyclists are being urged not to give up on biking downtown," Jennifer Chevalier, Sep. 03, 2016

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