If everyone stays calm and follows the rules of the road, we can all get home safely.
Peddling Cycle Safety in Collingwood
“More and more cyclists are riding on Ontario’s roads. As the population grows in cottage communities such as Collingwood, so has the sport. But its popularity has caused some tension and confusion for others on the road – including local police. Ontario Hubs field producer Jeyan Jeganathan gets to the root of the problem.” See the TVO video coverage here.
Of note, Collingwood has also adopted a paved shoulders policy to help make regional roads safer for everybody (and to save taxpayers money as well).
Side note: For those not aware of how cycling groups ride defensively, including riding two abreast, check out the Ottawa Bicycle Club’s educational pieces, some of the best around for well over a decade, here and here.
A dozen weeks ago Brockville City Council voted to turn a long history of unfulfilled promises into a commitment to develop an active transportation plan. That initiated a contract with MTO to receive $183,000 of funding for cycling projects on the condition that the city develop and approve an active transportation plan. The city also entered into a $60,000 contract with an engineering consulting firm to lead the development of that plan, with $48,000 of the cost coming from the provincial grant and $12,000 of city capital earmarked for the cycling advisory committee’s projects.
There were many good reasons for undertaking this approach, all discussed at that council meeting. One of the factors was the opportunity to tap a subsequent three years of provincial cycling funding, an opportunity killed by the incoming provincial government. At a recent meeting of the Finance, Administration & Operations standing committee, committee members overrode Council’s decision by asking that a hold be put on the process of developing the active transportation plan.
As a reminder to council candidates for the upcoming municipal election, there are many good reasons for developing and implementing an active transportation plan. While the benefits of becoming more bike and walk friendly are widely understood, accepted and in evidence everywhere, the benefits of going through the process of developing the plan are often overlooked. With that in mind, here’s a brief summary of “A Dozen Good Reasons For Developing An Active Transportation Plan”.
Why does this matter to Brockville? Our City continues to struggle to become age friendly, youth friendly, walk friendly, and bicycle friendly, all components of an integrated set of lifestyle attractors as we compete to attract and retain talent, families, and new businesses. As a late starter and laggard in this competition we have the advantage of being able to observe and harvest the best practices from other places.
That includes Complete Streets and Vision Zero.
If you will be walking, cycling, or driving on Québec roads, be aware that a number of updates have recently been enacted in the Highway Safety Code. The changes to road use regulations and accompanying fines and demerit points are fairly extensive. This article in the Montréal Gazette summarizes the changes, while all the detail can be found on the provincial website.
The 5th Annual Eastern Ontario Active Transportation Summit, held in Brockville on May 10th & 11th, hosted over 100 participants from a variety of municipalities and organizations across Eastern Ontario. Presentation material from the Summit is posted online here.
A pedestrian crossover (PXO) is a signed and sometimes signal-lighted crossing of a road at a location that does not have a traffic light or stop sign to regulate through traffic flow. (MTO reference)
For those driving or cycling: When you see a pedestrian with intent to cross, which may be indicated by flashing lights, come to a complete stop. Remain stopped while people are in the PXO. You may proceed when the person walking has left the road.
For those walking: Press the beg button to activate the lights. Stand facing the crossing, optionally with arm pointing to cross the road. Wait for vehicular traffic to stop, then cross the road.
For those cycling along the trail: Get off your bike. See above “for those walking”. Riding across a crossover or crosswalk is illegal.
More PXO’s have been approved by Council and will be installed along the Trail at crossings on Henry St, St Paul St, Cedar St, Laurier Blvd at Bridlewood, Centennial Rd, and Perth St, with more to come in following years.
The two existing crossovers and those listed above are part of projects initiated and driven by the Brock Trail committee and cycling advisory committee working together. In 2018, the City will be undertaking an Active Transportation Plan which will then be approved and adopted by Council. The public workshops that will be part of the development of the plan will be the opportunity to come out and help identify the many other locations across the city where crosswalks and crossovers are needed.
Ontario drivers who put others at risk, especially those walking or cycling, risk losing their privilege to drive, paying much steeper fines, facing jail time, and earning higher demerit points that come with years of higher insurance premiums. Of special note, convictions for distracted driving will incur escalating penalties up to a 30 day license suspension, $3,000 fine and 6 demerit points for 3rd conviction. Failing to stop at a pedestrian crosswalk, crossover or school crossing will earn you a $1,000 fine and four demerit points. Continue reading “Ontario Introducing Tougher Penalties For Bad Driving”
Many municipalities and a few provinces across Canada have made solid gains towards making cycling on public roads is a safe and convenient choice for getting around. Progress is also being made towards a national cycling strategy that would provide both opportunities and consistency in guidelines and funding. Canada Bikes is the national nonprofit organization leading this charge. Working with stakeholder organizations across the country, they have developed a primer called Towards a Bike-Friendly Canada: A National Cycling Strategy Overview (pdf). That and more is on the Canada Bikes website.
“The document is inspired by long-established frameworks already in place in the most advanced and successful bike-friendly countries in the world. We hope you find it helpful in describing what a national cycling strategy could do for Canada and for all of us.”
From today’s announcement:
Ontario passed legislation today to protect the most vulnerable users of local roads, including children, seniors, pedestrians and cyclists.
The Safer School Zones Act gives municipalities more tools to fight speeding and dangerous driving in their communities, including:
Automated speed enforcement (ASE) technology, which will help catch speeders. Municipalities will have the option to use this technology in school zones and also in community safety zones on roads with speed limits below 80 km/h.
The ability to create zones with reduced speed limits to decrease the frequency and severity of pedestrian-vehicle collisions in urban areas.
A streamlined process for municipalities to participate in Ontario’s effective Red Light Camera program without the need for lengthy regulatory approval.
Municipalities, police boards and road safety advocates from across Ontario have asked for these tools to help keep roads safe, particularly in areas with children and seniors. With the passage of this new legislation, municipalities will now have the option to implement road safety measures in a way that makes sense in their local communities.
Ontario’s roads have consistently ranked among the safest in North America, and these new tools will help make communities even safer for all vulnerable road users.
Read the full announcement, with links to further information, here.
“According to a certain perspective that seems to hold sway among local newspaper columnists [and writers of letters to editors], bicyclists are reckless daredevils who flout the road rules that everyone else faithfully upholds. But the results of a massive survey published in the Journal of Transport and Land Use point to a different conclusion — everyone breaks traffic laws, and there’s nothing extraordinary about how people behave on bikes.”
This isn’t the first research effort to reach this conclusion, and it likely won’t be the last.
Read the article here, and download the study here (pdf).
Cornwall is the latest Ontario municipality to gain a Bicycle Friendly Community accreditation. Cornwall, along with Cambridge, Collingwood, Temiskaming Shores and Whitby, join 31 other Bike Friendly Communities that are home to nearly 2/3 of Ontarians. Cornwall’s bronze designation recognizes that city’s progress on the “Five E’s”: Engineering, Encouragement, Education, Enforcement and Evaluation/planning.
Read more in the Newswatch article here.
The Bicycle Friendly Community program was launched in Ontario in 2010 by the Share The Road Cycling Coalition, adapted from a similar program run by the Washington-based League of American Bicyclists. The primary program sponsor is the Canadian Automobile Association, and Trek Bicycles is also a sponsor.
Awards are granted after a rigorous application process, judged by a team of industry experts.
In this latest round, Kingston, London and Markham renewed their bronze designation, and Belleville, Essex, Midland and Norfolk County received an honourable mention.
Where’s Brockville? Our city received an honourable mention in 2013 and will apply again when sufficient progress has occurred.
As reported many times, the notion of licensing bicycles seldom gains traction. Despite that, most cities have a councilor or two who don’t pay attention to what happens in other cities, or perhaps simply look for a convenient soapbox. From the report in The Hamilton Spectator, we’re about to see a couple of councilors there learn the lesson too. Read more here.
We live in a strange world in which road fatalities are normalized, expected and have been a socially acceptable price to pay for unfettered impatience. Finally, society is coming around to the notion that it’s not acceptable, and cities are starting to embrace Vision Zero. This editorial in the Globe and Mail hits the nail squarely on the head. Read more here.
Across the land, as active transportation gains steadily restore publicly-funded roads to safer use by the general public, regardless of mode of movement chosen at any given time, someone, somewhere, is asking why licences aren’t required, either for bikes or those who ride them. Over decades, a lasting legacy of articles and council decisions have honed the responses to a simple set. Many cities do offer bike registration for theft recovery (Brockville being one, thanks to the Kinsmen Club), and some cities have bicycle licensing statutes that are largely ignored by all. However, they are the exception. Continue reading “A Lasting Legacy Of Licensing Losses”
Cycle Simcoe has produced four short videos that clearly illustrate safe behaviours required of people when cycling or driving on our shared rural roads. See here and share with friends and neighbours.
The notion of licensing bikes has surfaced once again, this time in Toronto. Some cities, like Toronto and Winnipeg, used to do this and abandoned the practice due to high costs and lack of tangible benefits. Still, every year the notion surfaces in a few cities, usually from back-seat politicians eager to make a mark yet not eager to do any homework first. As a preemptive play to dissuade any local thinking in this direction, here’s a helpful summary of why this idea is or should be a non-starter, from Cycle Toronto. Read more here.
New road rules are now in effect in Quebec as of July 1st, mirroring Ontario’s recent updates. This includes both the 1m passing law as well as dooring penalties. For those who ride and/or drive in Ontario and Quebec (and Nova Scotia), be aware that there’s a 1m minimum for passing clearance. This means a person driving must either change lanes to pass, crossing the centre line if necessary when the opposing way is clear, or wait behind a person cycling until able to pass. When driving, also remember that on roads too narrow to share side by side, a person cycling is entitled and encouraged to take the whole lane for safety. Read about Quebec’s update here.
This article from Toronto applies to all communities. The conversations around road safety – for all road users in the community, from 8 to 80, have a number of common elements. These are worth knowing and remembering, and quizzing your municipal Council about. Ask them when we can adopt a Vision Zero program, for instance. If they don’t know what any of these elements are, they’re not up to date with cities more progressive and attractive. Read more here.
As this CBC story relates, misunderstanding of road rules continues to proliferate and some people remain staunchly in an entitled state of mind. Online reactions show clearly that bullying, harassment and intimidation, long outlawed and rendered socially unacceptable in the workplace and schoolyard, are rife on the road and online. Add in CBC’s persistent penchant for fueling foment, and nobody seems served well by this approach to the conversation. Read CBC article here.