First, the worst:
For cyclists, the worst spot in Coquitlam is where Barnet and Lougheed highways meet up with Pinetree Way. There were seven crashes there involving cyclists between 2016 and 2020, according to ICBC data.
In Port Coquitlam, the worst location is Lougheed Highway and Westwood Street, where ICBC counted seven crashes between 2016 and 2020.
Prairie Avenue is also a rough stretch of road for cyclists, as ICBC recorded three crashes at Prairie and Coast Meridian, another three collisions at Prairie and Oxford Street and three more crashes at Prairie and Cedar Drive in the five-year span.
Based on the crash data, Port Moody is significantly safer, with two crashes at Douglas and Clarke streets and a total of three crashes recorded at three different points along Barnet Highway.
Beyond the numbers
The numbers are accurate but they also fail to tell the full story, according to HUB co-chair Colin Fowler.
There are spots that – based on crash data – appear relatively safe, Fowler notes. “But that’s just because people are full-on avoiding it.”
In particular, Fowler points to the connection from Lougheed Town Centre to the Port Mann Bridge.
Theoretically, cyclists should be able to cover that distance with a smooth ride down United Boulevard and Lougheed Highway.
“Very few would dare to go on it as a result so you don’t really see crash data,” he notes.
Despite its convenience, many cyclists also steer clear of the Mary Hill Bypass, Fowler says.
“It’s a 70-kilometre-an-hour road with semis and traffic,” he says. “You have a line of paint.”
Worst stretches for cyclists (identified by Tri-Cities HUB)
- Alderside to Sasamat Lake/Belcarra Park.
- Braid Station to Port Mann Bridge
- Mary Hill Bypass from Shaughnessy to Port Mann Bridge
- Coquitlam Central Station to Port Mann Bridge
- Pitt River Bridge to Coquitlam Center/ Lincoln Station, PoCo/ Coquitlam.
- Guildford Way, Coquitlam City Hall to Port Moody City Hall.
For more info on worst routes, click here.
The data that isn’t there
Approximately one out of every eight cycling incidents are reported through ICBC, according to SFU health sciences professor Meghan Winters.
Winters is part of a team that has tried to fill in some of the missing information via BikeMaps.org
“Unfortunately relative to other areas, the Tri-Cities has very limited citizen-reporting,” Winters notes.
Based on what data there is, Winters notes many crashes occur on roads with painted bike lanes.
“In one regard, this is not surprising. This is where the limited number of cyclists can be found,” she writes in an email to the Dispatch.
In terms of safety improvements, Winters contends that it’s largely a simply matter. The road design measures that have worked “everywhere else in the world – they would apply in the Tri-Cities, too,” she writes.
That means that where vehicle speeds and volumes are high, cyclists should be completely separated from traffic.
Where we’re going
Following meetings between HUB and all three municipal governments over the past six months, Folwer says he’s optimistic about the future.
The plan to provide a separated lane for anyone on wheels or sneakers on Guildford between Pinetree Way to Port Moody is particularly encouraging, Fowler says.
“We’re really grateful for that,” he said.
With e-bike sales projected to soar over the next decade, the demand for safe infrastructure will likely follow suit as cyclists with an e-assist will likely brave hills they would have previously avoided, Fowler explained.
“E-Bikes are changing that quickly,” he said. “Topography becomes less of a challenge.”