What would appear to many as a perfectly typical driveway was in reality a hotspot for cyclist falls and injuries.
Two cyclists reported falls near the intersection of Willingdon Avenue and Canada Way, in Burnaby, BC, Canada.
In Burnaby, B.C., Canada, near the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT), at least two cyclists fell trying to access the Willingdon Urban Trail (Burnaby’s term for a multi-use path) near the intersection of Willingdon Avenue and Canada Way.
For about fifty metres north of the intersection, the path is replaced by a narrow sidewalk intended only for walking. Instead of dismounting and walking the stretch, many cyclists bypass the sidewalk using an adjacent bus lane and then return to the path using a gas station driveway.
Many cyclists use the bus lane to bypass the 50 m gap in the Willingdon multi-use path.
At least two people have fallen and were injured trying to get back onto the path at this driveway.
Driveways in Burnaby are constructed with an apron lip 4-5 cm above the road. This design standard is from mid-1969—a time when considerations for bicycles were not at the forefront of engineers’ minds.
The 1969 design standard for driveways includes a curb lip raised between 4 - 5 cm above the roadway surface, presenting a solo-bicycle fall hazard to cyclists.
The raised lip, coupled with a cyclist’s shallow angle of approach, conspired to create a fall hazard at this site. As a cyclist gently manoeuvres toward the driveway, their bicycle’s front tire could ricochet against the apron lip, leading to a fall. In the reported cases, the individuals sustained injuries severe enough to require a visit to their GP.
Armed with these incident reports, the Burnaby committee of HUB Cycling (a local cycling advocacy group) contacted the City’s engineering department. When Burnaby engineers evaluated the site and recognised the injury threat, they directed their sidewalk crews to grind down the lip to be flush with the roadway, eliminating the hazard!
The driveway apron lip was ground to be flush with the curb gutter pan, eliminating the fall hazard.
To ensure that all new driveway aprons are safely accessible by bicycle, the Burnaby committee of HUB Cycling is working with staff to update the City’s driveway design standards.
One of BikeMaps.org’s key strengths is the ability to capture incident types not recorded by other reporting systems, including falls and crashes not involving a motor vehicle. In Burnaby and cities around the world, cyclists’ incident reports are helping to make our streets safer for cycling.