Deaths by Road Type
The most dangerous place to be a cyclist, however, was on an arterial road, which we defined as a busy, multilane thoroughfare with traffic signals at intersections and speeds limits exceeding 30 miles per hour. Arterials accounted for 65 percent of the fatal crashes in our database. We saw that poorly designed intersections along these roads presented serious hazards for cyclists. While many had multiple lanes for cars, they had none for bikes. Furthermore, many had speed limits as high as 45 miles per hour. (Speed limits have been increasing in many parts of the country.) And numerous intersections on arterials allow vehicles to turn right on a red light, or have several turning lanes, which makes it much more likely that a driver won’t see a cyclist while they are turning.
BikeMaps.org executive director Karen Laberee adds that cars making unprotected left turns—those with no dedicated left-turn light—are especially hazardous, because a driver may be watching for other cars coming in the opposite direction but not for cyclists or pedestrians. “A left turn is a particularly challenging maneuver cognitively https://www.macleans.ca/news/canada/the-cure-for-killer-cars/ for a driver—there’s a lot going on for them to process,” Laberee says. One solution is to restrict concurrent movement, with separate light cycles for left-turning vehicles, vehicles driving straight, and pedestrians and cyclists, she says. That way, only vehicles or pedestrians are going through the intersection at one time.