Toronto is Ready to Invest in the Safety of Cyclists

Update: see previous posts – 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, Toronto Star

Motor Vehicles and Bicycles Must Share the Same Roads in Safety

According to a 2009 study, 54% of Torontonians considered themselves at least casual cyclists in 2009, a 6% jump from 10 years ago. Only 3% of respondents said they were unclear about bicycling laws.

Toronto’s first count of downtown cyclists revealed that about 19,000 people entered the city core on bikes on a typical September weekday. Whether 19,000 is an impressive number depends on whom you ask.

City of Toronto to Build Curbs for Separate Bicycle Lanes on its' Downtown Streets

The city does not have car numbers exactly comparable to the bicycle numbers it recently gathered, but a 2006 count showed 109,000 vehicles entering a larger downtown area between 7 a.m. and 10 a.m. The number of cyclists entering the smaller downtown area used in 2010, during the same hours, was 7,655.

A Toronto By-law (522/78 Riding/operating bicycle) (roller skates, in-line skates,skateboard, coaster, toy vehicle) on sidewalk without due care and attention and reasonable consideration for others 313 27 (D) ) states: that Cyclists that ride a bicycle with a tire size in excess of 61 centimeters (or 24.01 inches) must ride their bicycle on the roads of Toronto, and if the cyclist decides to ride on the sidewalk instead, they could receive a $90.00 ticket and aggressive cyclists can even be charged with “careless driving”.

If the wheels on your bicycle are bigger than 24 inches, then you must ride on the road and to do otherwise, would risk a ticket.

Everyone agrees that if cyclists share the road with motor vehicles, they should be able to ride their bicycles in safety.

A number of advocates have proposed different strategies to improve the safety of cyclists, which include:

According to a 2009 study, 54% of Torontonians considered themselves at least casual cyclists in 2009, a 6% jump from 10 years ago.

In October, 2010 the City of Toronto began to roll out “Bike Boxes” in the city, beginning in the streets surrounding the University of Toronto.

In September, 2010 MPP Norm Miller introduced his private member’s bill, Bill 100, Public Transportation and Highway Improvement Amendment Act, 2010 which would require a minimum one (1) metre paved shoulder on all secondary provincial highways. The Ministry of Transportation would add the shoulders, when a provincial secondary highway is resurfaced.

The Status of Bill 100?

  • September 13, 2010 – First Reading, Carried
  • September 16, 2010 – Second Reading – Debate
  • September 16, 2010 – Carried
  • September 16, 2010 – Ordered referred to Standing Committee
    – Standing Committee on the Legislative Assembly
  • How does a Bill Become Law:

    In order for a Bill to become law:

  • it must go through first reading; and
  • second reading; and/or
  • Order for Second Reading Discharged and Bill Referred
    To Standing Committee or Select or Standing Committee or Committee of the Whole House; and
  • third reading; and
  • Royal Assent; and
  • In Force
  • The terms “statute” and “Act” are interchangeable.

    In May, 2010 MPP Cheri DiNovo introduced her private member’s bill,  Bill 74, Highway Traffic Amendment Act (Safe Passing Bicycles), 2010:

  • The Bill would amend Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act (new section 147.1) to mandate that drivers must ensure, where possible, at least three feet (0.9 metres) of clearance when passing cyclists at speeds of less than 50 km/h.
  • If drivers are driving at speeds between 50 km/h and 80 km/h, they would have to ensure four feet (1.2 metres) of clearance.
  • For speeds above 80 km/h, drivers would have to maintain five feet (1.5 metres) of space.
  • Toronto’s and Ontario’s politicians, responding to residents, have taken the steps referred to above and others, all in an effort to keep cyclists safe.

    The Status of Bill 74? It has had its first reading on May 18, 2010 and carried, but hasn’t progressed any further.

    Toronto is taking the next step. It plans on building curbs for separate bike lanes, which would provide protected bike lanes, in downtown Toronto.                            

    Surprisingly, a big Mayor Ford supporter, Denzil Minnan-Wong (the           recently appointed Chairperson of the “Public Works and Infrastructure Committee”), who opposed bike lanes (from existing traffic lanes) being created on Jarvis Street and University Avenue (which didn’t pass), supports this idea.

    Minnan-Wong wants to see curb cycling routes connected along busy downtown streets such as Sherbourne, Wellesley and Richmond Streets.
    Minnan-Wong’s plan has two major north-south and east-west routes, and extends to the lake at Queens Quay. Smaller roads such as St. George, John and Beverley Sts. would be used to provide a seamless network.

    A majority of the streets that are being considered for the curbs to create separate bicycle lanes, already have existing bicycle lanes, except for Richmond Street. Minnon-Wong says that a two-way bicycle lane would have to be constucted along this one-way street, to complete and connect the network. This would most likely entail taking away one its four (4) lanes and dedicating that lane as a new bicycle lane with curbs separating it from traffic.

    A cost analysis of this plan has yet taken place, but Minnon-Wong said “putting in curbs and getting out a bucket of paint doesn’t cost a lot of money.” He hopes that he can bring this proposal to his committee by the spring. If City Council subsequently passes this proposal, construction could begin as early as the end of 2010.

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