Laurier bike lane audit prompts planned improvements

By Floriane Bonneville


The results of an audit on Laurier Avenue’s bike-lane safety was recently presented to city council. The audit was ordered by the city in the aftermath of a tragic accident on Laurier Avenue a year ago.


Nusrat Jahan was fatally hit in September 2016 by a truck making a right turn from Laurier onto Lyon Street.


Mobycon, a Dutch consulting firm that also has an office in Ottawa, conducted the audit and revealed its findings in a report completed in September. 


The audit found that one of the greatest threats to cyclists on Laurier is right-turning vehicles, which account for 50 per cent of the collisions. It also suggested the city remove some of the extra signage, which can confuse drivers more than help. The city committed to removing the excessive signage immediately. 


Some other changes that the city indicated it is willing to consider are adding “tactile infrastructure” at driveways, so that vehicles are warned they are driving on a bike lane; raising the bike lanes; redesigning intersections; and narrowing the vehicle lane. 


One thing the city said it would not do is paint in green the entire length of the cyclist lane, as the cost of $600,000 would be too expensive.


The first year the bike lane was installed, it counted 2,331 trips per day; in 2016, it counted 4,128 daily trips. Between 2012 and 2015, there were 35 bike collisions, more than before the bike lanes were installed. But the increase needs to be seen in the context of the huge increase in the number of trips by cyclists along the route, the report stated.