Report Updates Findings On “Safety In Numbers”

SafetyInNumbersA new report from the National Association of City Transportation Officials updates the “safety in numbers” evidence showing that risk to all road users declines as the number of people cycling grows.

Past research has shown conclusively that almost 2/3 of people would cycle more but they hesitate for fear for their safety when mixing with motorized traffic, that protected bike lanes are the preferred facility for this group, and that indeed large uptakes in cycling occur when such lanes are built.  NACTO’s report rounds this out with new research tying the larger numbers to lower overall risk, evidenced by declining injury rates.
Read the Streetsblog report here, and the NACTO report here (PDF).

King St West Update

IMG_2501DxO2 In Brockville’s SW corner, King St W from Rivers Ave to the City limits at the Country Club is milled and storm drains and utility covers are reset. Repaving will start soon. Expect the reconfigured, renovated and upgraded entry to the City to be complete within a few weeks. It’ll be more welcoming and friendly to all with a reconfiguration of lanes that will benefit those using the sidewalks, or cycling or driving. This will be augmented with similar treatment from the Counties that will extend the lane configuration from the City limits out to Grants Creek.  Brockville’s first bike lanes are almost a reality!  Details previously posted here.

Bike Helmet Debate Continues To Be A Distraction

NoHelmetsCBC has published an interesting article exploring the seemingly endless debate on bicycle helmets.  Personally, I wear a helmet, having cracked three in falls over the years and walked away from those falls. Still, I understand that a helmet provides no useful protection in a serious collision.  I also understand that helmets, like seat belts in a car, only come into play when a collision or misadventure is already in motion. Finally, from decades of studying cycling issues, I also understand that cycling benefits far outweigh all the risks, and that providing safe infrastructure and facilities for cycling is much more effective in preventing injury than any passive device will ever be. The helmet debate detracts us from that more important work.  It’s also clear that legislating helmets is ineffective (pdf). Read CBC article here.

Why Suburbia Is Literally Depressing

Suburgatory - from GoogleEarth
Suburgatory – from GoogleEarth

Here’s a fascinating essay on why people’s souls are dulled by typical suburban design. It also provides context to understand better why “complete street” treatment of urban corridors, with better sidewalks, bicycle facilities,  pedestrian crossings, crossing refuges and intersection bulb-outs, can make streets like Laurier Blvd more livable, inviting more walking and cycling, taming traffic, restoring their family-friendly face and social ambiance, and raising property values.  Read more here.

Lanark County Paved Shoulders Rolling Smoothly

shouldersLanark County reports that two years into their paved shoulders policy they’ve already covered 27% of their roads and they’re on track for $600,000 in annual maintenance savings and a 16 year payback on the capital costs. This good news does not include the deeper societal savings from reduced motor vehicle crashes – savings in insurance, emergency response, health care, lost wages and yes, lives.  Nor does it include the benefits of a safer environment for those walking and cycling.
Read more here.

News: Ottawa PXO Plan Set To Launch

Three of four different styles of PXO
Three of four different styles of PXO

Big news from Ottawa where they’re about to start installing up to 60 pedestrian crossovers (PXOs) a year for the next three years.  Along with Ottawa’s complete streets policy and cycling plan rollout, this is clear indication of that city’s commitment to prioritizing people first.  Here in Brockville, we could start with public workshops toward generating a current comprehensive transportation plan.
Read more about Ottawa’s PXO plan here.

News: Sudbury Adopts New PXO Standards

Three of four different styles of PXO
Three of four different styles of PXO (Source: MTO)

News from Sudbury where repeated calls for safer pedestrian crossings (PXO’s) is being met by plans that will see 17 new PXO’s installed, all using variations of the new designs legitimized last year by MTO in Bill 31. This is something Brockville needs too – along King St, along Water St, and at all Brock Trail road crossings.  Read Sudbury article.
See here for MTO descriptions of crossovers and new laws.

Building Community Through Bike Friendly Planning

Bicycle_Friendly_Community_Sign_02_1This linked article from Toronto’s dandyhorse magazine  takes a closer look at five Bicycle Friendly Communities featured at the recent Ontario Bike Summit. The article provides a good summary of how commitment to the “5E’s” (Engineering, Encouragement, Education, Enforcement and Evaluation/planning), along with good political will, has enriched the communities.  Read the article here.