A global mapping crowdsource tool for cycling safety launched a year ago by UVic researchers is getting its official Metro Vancouver launch this month.
One of the developers of BikeMaps.org., SFU assistant professor Meghan Winters, told the Straight by phone that although the tool’s website has been functional for a year, it wasn’t until recently that a grant allowed her to start promotion on a larger scale.
“The idea was that every city could report on it,” Winters said of the initiative that asks cyclists worldwide to log—on the site or through an app—collisions, near misses, road hazards, and even bike thefts.
Winter, who teaches in SFU’s faculty of health sciences, studies city design and population health, and “safety in getting around” is a big part of her research, she said.
“The physical benefits outweigh the risks,” Winters said of cycling. “My aim is to capitalize on the fact that cycling is healthy, and to make cycling as safe as we possibly can.”
Information contained in a BikeMaps.org release notes that almost 400 incident reports have been logged in the Metro Vancouver region already, with about two-thirds of them being characterized as near misses. This mapping gives cyclists the opportunity to use BikeMaps.org in a proactive manner when plotting trip routes.
“This is an important tool. ICBC crashes might only be 30 to 40 percent of cycling accidents,” Winters said. “So this is a more complete picture than ICBC data give us.”
Go here to check out the site and identify hot spots in your region.