Casual cyclists feel much safer on sidewalks, rather then the Road

Update: see previous posts – September 7, 2011 Opening of Doors of Motor Vehicles,  September 5, 2011 Bike Trails Through Two Hydro Corridors and Leaside Rail Corridor, August 11, 2011 Bicycle Safety Called for by Ontario Medical Association, August 9, 2011 Police/T.T.C Target Drivers/Pedestrians/Cyclists at T.T.C Stops from Aug.8 – 14, 2011, August 5, 2011 Results of Bicycle/Pedestrian Blitz on August 3 & 4, 2011, August 2, 2011 – Bicycle/Driver/Pedestrian Blitz on Danforth Ave from Victoria Park to Broadview Ave on August 3 & 4/11, July 30, 2011 Pedestrian Injured by Cyclist Calls for Regulated Cycling in Toronto, July 28, 2011 Bicycle Helmets Lead to Fewer Head Injuries for Cyclist’s Who Wear Them, July 17, 2011 Cyclists Ignore the Signs at Kew Gardens, July 13, 2011 Toronto Bicycle Lanes Eliminated, July 9, 2011 Cyclists Continue Riding the Wrong Way on a One-Way Street (Huron Street), July 8, 2011 Toronto Police to Ticket Cyclists and Motor Vehicles Ignoring Cyclist’s Space, July 7, 2011 Careless Driving Causing Death?, May 4, 2011 Police Charge Parent of Young Cyclist Not Wearing His Bicycle Helmet, May 2, 2011 Cyclist on Powered-Assisted Bicycle Charged with Not Wearing a Helmet and Impaired Driving, March 9, 2011 Cyclist Launches 20 Million Lawsuit against Cycling Club & Association, January 27, 2011 Time to Update the Cycling Laws in Toronto & Ontario?, January 8, 2011 Toronto is Ready to Invest in the Safety of Cyclists,December 22, 2010   Toronto’s First Count of Downtown Cyclists (Sept. 2010) , November 8, 2010 Week Long Pedestrian Safety Campaign/Blitz, October 10, 2010 Bike Boxes , September 16, 2010 Private Member’s Bill requires a minimum of one metre paved shoulder be added whenever designated provincial highways are repaved to reduce accidents/fatalities , August 26, 2010 Police Lay 400 Charges Against Cyclists/Pedestrians , May 19, 2010 Motorists Must Stay 3,4 or 5 Feet Away from Bicyclists , March 29, 2010 Toronto’s Zero-Tolerance Bicycle Blitz , November 16, 2009 Most Dangerous Intersections for Pedestrians – Toronto (2008) , October 12, 2009 Idaho Stop Law , September 7, 2009 Toronto Police Bicycle Safety Blitz , March 21, 2009,  Bicycle Accidents Toronto, Reported in 2008 , December 20, 2008 City of Toronto Considering Installing “Rumble Strips”

see source

Woman riding bicycle, with cellphone, on the sidewalk, rather than on the street

Waterloo Region’s latest report on road collisions shows that in seven out of every ten crashes involving a cyclist, the cyclist was riding improperly.

The 2010 Collision Report shows that cyclists were at fault 73 per cent of the time in a total of 616 collisions between 2006 and 2010. That amounts to 449 collisions over five years in which the cyclist was deemed at fault. The report also shows that in more than half of those collisions (55%), the cyclist had been riding in a crosswalk. Cyclists in the age group 20 to 24 had the highest number of improper riding collisions.

Rob McIntosh is a cycling activist who contributes to the local blog www.waterloobikes.ca. But he looks at the numbers as more of a bylaw issue than evidence that cyclists are reckless.

“(The report) goes on to talk about pedestrians and how they’re not at fault for their part in these (collisions) in the crosswalks,” McIntosh states in explaining his position. “But the only difference is the bylaw. There’s no evidence, from what I can see, that there’s any real difference in the dangers (between using a crosswalk as a pedestrian or while riding a bike). It’s just that the bylaw states that if you’re in the crosswalk on two wheels than you’re at fault.”

What McIntosh is suggesting is that cyclists and pedestrians are at equal danger when crossing an intersection at a crosswalk and the statistics fail to demonstrate any driver error that may have played a role in the collision. Under the rules of the Highway Traffic Act, the cyclist is automatically at fault for failing to dismount.

McIntosh believes the collision statistics are symptomatic of a larger problem. Cyclists are involved in these collisions, he says, because they don’t feel safe riding on the road.

“Casual riders are more likely to be on the sidewalks and I think that’s a pretty good indicator that they don’t feel safe on the roads,” McIntosh speculates. “Even with the (bike) lanes, even with all that stuff, they still don’t feel safe on the roadway.”

Even as a year-round, avid cyclist, McIntosh endorses sidewalk riding. But he admits it must be done respectfully and not “at 30 or 40 km/h.” He also does not endorse riding through crosswalks. While he’s willing to push for change in bylaws that would allow sidewalk riding, McIntosh is not about to advocate for change in the Highway Traffic Act with regards to dismounting at crosswalks.

Through it all, McIntosh remains optimistic the collision stats will generate dialogue which, in turn, will lead to changes that will make cycling safer.

“(Engineers) may not go out and say cyclists are all reckless. They may not have that judgment on that number that we have when we read it but it’s good that they’re looking at these numbers and asking how we can reduce that 70 per cent where (cyclists) are at fault,” McIntosh says. “Maybe they’re saying we should get them off the sidewalk with other types of biking infrastructure.”

The purpose of the annual collision report is to provide various stakeholders the information they need to make improvements to road safety in the region.

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