Ben Jestico and Trisylan Nelson are part of the UVic team behind Bike Maps (bikemaps.org)

University of Victoria project Bikemaps.org goes global

Greater Victoria-focused website has already drawn 9,500 online visitors and 466 cycling incident reports in first month of operation

  • Nov. 11, 2014 2:00 p.m.

Researchers behind a new interactive online map that tracks cycling crash hotspots and near-misses are anticipating the project will soon spread to cities across the world.

Bike Maps (bikemaps.org) has already drawn 9,500 online visitors and reports of 466 cycling incidents in its first month of operation, said University of Victoria associate professor Trisalyn Nelson, who created the project with a small team in the Spatial Pattern Analysis and Research geography lab.

“We already have people entering data from nine different countries without any promotion,” Nelson said. “This is the launch site.”

The idea started with Nelson, who commutes by bike to UVic. Her kids, three and six years old, are following suit as little commuters of their own, which inspired Nelson to take cycling safety analysis to the next level.

“I originally thought about a site where you could rant about a near-miss and community cycling hazards, but that wasn’t enough. The planning community wants to increase ridership and safety is a number one concern,” she said.

Bike Map’s main feature is collecting reports of cycling-involved crashes fusing data from ICBC, the Victoria Police Department and the public, who are invited to submit their own experiences. Researchers are keeping the emphasis on Greater Victoria for now.

“What we’re seeing is there are hotspots of bike incidents around the city that wouldn’t have shown up using strictly ICBC data because they’re not vehicle-related and therefore don’t result in claims,” Nelson said.

As of last week, Bike Maps’ four categories included 115 collisions, 175 near misses, 131 hazards and 45 bike thefts. Hazards refer to potholes, narrow intersections or other road dangers while near-misses and collisions include those with another bike or pedestrian.

Users can register their riding area and receive tailored monthly updates. A smart phone app is scheduled for the spring, and cyclists will be able to use it in real time.

“You would get real time alerts with the phone, you could even change your route based on them,” Nelson said.

Building the site was tasked to fourth year undergraduate Taylor Denouden, who spent the summer putting in the work. Now that Bike Maps is live, SPAR masters student Ben Jestico is continuing his graduate work to study predictors of cycling safety. A fourth member, Karen Laberee, is in charge of publicity. Nelson says the eventual trove of cycling data collected through Bike Maps will be useful not only to cyclists, but to police and other academic researchers.

“Our message has mostly been around safety, but including the incidents of bike theft made sense. There is bike theft (in Greater Victoria) and with Bike Maps, we’ll see it in clusters of place and time.”

See more at bikemaps.org.

The project was funded by the Canadian Automobile Association and the Capital Regional District.

reporter@saanichnews.com

 

Did you know?

  • Mountain biking maps for Greater Victoria are also readily available through a new mapping website called Trailforks (trailforks.com). South Island mountain biking trails are filling up the mountainside images on the site. Launched by the popular mountain biking website Pinkbike, Trailforks is a three dimensional map and trail directory which allows for easy mapping, monitoring and sharing of mountain biking trails by local riders and associations, such as the South Island Mountain Bike Society.
  • Trailforks ran in beta version over the summer and is already the largest directory of mountain bike trails in the world with over 13,000 trails.
  • Visit trailforks.com/region/victoria to see Saanich trails at Hartland and Partridge Hills.

 

Just Posted

Croatia loses in World Cup final, Victoria fans still jubilant

“We’re just a small little country, we only have 4.5 million people, and look how far we’ve come.”

Park ambassador pilot going well at Mount Doug

Dog poop bags, litter and cigarette butts among ongoing park issues

Jacklin Road reopens

The section of road has been closed for five months

Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson set to hit Rock the Shores stage

Other acts include Bahamas, Allen Stone and Bedouin Soundclash

VIDEO: Unique canvas for local artist

Haren Vakil brings joy and smiles to homeowners and passersby

REPLAY: B.C.’s best video this week

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

How to sponsor a refugee, global refugee situation only worsening

‘U.S. is no longer a safe place for refugees,’ says local MP

Former NHL goalie Ray Emery drowns in Lake Ontario

Police say the 35-year-old’s death appears to be a ‘case of misadventure’

Air quality statement warns of smoky air for Kamloops area

Environment ministry says area on north side of Thompson River may be affected by wildfire smoke

LOCAL FLAVOUR: South Island expecting a bumper berry crop

It’s berry time in Saanich. My raspberries are getting plump and ripe… Continue reading

Pussy Riot claims on-field protest at World Cup final

Russian protest group claimed responsibility after four people ran onto field in police uniforms

Fans party on Montreal streets after French World Cup win

To city is home to nearly 57,000 French nationals

B.C. VIEWS: Making private health care illegal again

Adrian Dix battles to maintain Cuba-style medical monopoly

Almost every part of Canada’s largest national park deteriorating: federal study

Drawing on decades of research — the report lists 50 pages of citations

Most Read