Hey, Ontario, cyclists would like to dance! But where's the party?

Last night at the Toronto Cycling Advisory Committee meeting a motion was floored to create an Ontario Cycling Advisory Committee. But it was killed by the very person who brought it forward, and yours truly.

The rationale for killing it? Guests who invite themselves for dinner are not often made to feel truly welcome.

Today Metrolinx is unveiling its official plans for the regional transportation policy. Cycling is featured within these plans. But we need to go farther, much farther.

Hey Minister Bradley and MTO! Hey McGuinty! Cyclists in Ontario would like to dance with you, but we're waiting for an invitation. You've already given us a token of your affection with the exclusion of PST on bikes, we do appreciate that. Metrolinx is doing some nice stuff for cyclists, and we like that, too. How about we talk about the many more things that the province can and should be doing for cyclists at the provincial level. Things like:

  • A "Safe Passing" law, 3 feet minimum. This is already in the Drivers Handbook but not yet in legislation
  • Increasing the punishments for hurting/killing a cyclists with car under all circumstances
  • Rationalizing the insurance laws so that cyclists don't bear the costs in crashes and collisions
  • Forbidding parking in bike lanes, similar to what's been done for handicapped parking
  • Force all cities to include bike parking and infrastructure in its planning, ie "complete streets," all new developments with included minimum bike parking requirements
  • Including a comprehensive module on cycling in driver's education for all classes of drivers
  • Providing funding for cycling education programs for kids, and making it park of the education curriculum, either CAN-BIKE or something based on CAN-BIKE
  • Removing the requirement of reflective tape on forks and stays on bike from the current legislation
  • Removing habitually unsafe drivers from the road, including repeat drunk driving offenders and people who drive without license/insurance (i.e. "Greg's law" from Eleanor McMahon)
  • Making electric scooters "Motor Vehicles" even if they have pedals tacked on (See B.C. legislation and definition for electric assist bike for a better example that what we're doing in our "e-Bike Pilot")
  • Allow cyclists to treat stop sign like yield signs, at least under certain conditions
  • Providing funding for capital investments only when cycling accommodation is included with the plan, i.e. wide curb lanes and/or shoulders and/or bike lanes on rural roads to be (re)paved or improved, bike parking at new government funded buildings
  • Improving cycling/pedestrian access over the 400 series highways and interchanges. City streets should have high speed merge/diverge lanes. All connections to our highway should always terminate in a controlled intersection.
  • More investment and coordination of inter-city cycling trails
  • Improving the number and hours of bicycles that can be carried on regional transit, i.e. GO trains and buses as well as other inter-city buses with our province.
  • Adopt and implement better cycling infrastructure standards.
  • Form an office within the MTO, at the most senior level and with a budget, to work on cycling issues and coordinate their activities with other ministries and with municipalities
  • Conduct better research into cycling, specifically with regard to bike usage and crash stats, but also economic impacts of cycling, ROI on investments/person, etc. Let's get some numbers to show that cycling is good for our local economy, good for our communities, good for our health. Let's show that the capital and operational costs for cycling infrastructure is much less than for cars and public transit, and that the savings achieved are worthwhile so that we can justify these, and further, investments in cycling
  • Either create a formal way for cyclists to "plug in" and offer their suggestions, or else find other ways to interface with the existing cycling communities

I've started my wish list of what the province can be doing, please add your own ideas and suggestions as a comment.

Comments

You hit on nearly all the ones I would have thought of, and a great many more.

The only one I would add, and I'm not even sure if it's necessarily provincial or if municipalities can already do this, is to make it possible to have a "bicycles excepted" sign added to one-ways where it's safe to do so. Otherwise, the only way cyclists can legally ride against the traffic is if there's a contra-flow lane, which diverts resources that would be much better used on busier streets. Sussex is a very quiet street running between Central Tech and UofT, with a steady flow of cyclists going in both directions, even though the street alternates: one-way in one direction, then the other, then back again... It's too narrow for contra-flow lanes so it would be nice to legalize its use by cyclists, especially since it's very nearly empty of any other traffic. Then we wouldn't have to change our routes during the one week in the year where police hand out tickets...

re infrastructure standards: Several months back, someone posted a link to such a document produced by a cycling friendly city in the US. Does that ring a bell and if so, does anyone still have the link?

Annie

thanks Anthony - all have been noted!!! please send me any additions and your final draft too!

I think the passing law is in the works... and I hope to have more to report soon. many jurisdictions in the USA already have this.

RE: Removing habitually unsafe drivers from the road, including repeat drunk driving offenders and people who drive without license/insurance (i.e. "Greg's law" from Eleanor McMahon)

..I expect to see some positive traction on this very soon. Eleanor is quite an amazing person and cyclists across the province are extremely fortunate to have her working on our behalf... quietly, in the background, without recognition or pay...and with much respect from the powers that be.

Annie - there are some 'bicycles excepted' signs in residential areas where cars are forbidden during rush hours. Municipalities can install these. If you see any, can you please let me know where (better yet, snap a pic) - tammy@dandyhorse.ca

Tammy,

There are signs around that disallow turns, with bicycles being excepted (e.g. "No Left turn, bicycles excepted", but no places that provide exemption for cyclists to ride against a one-way.

In the right places, this would be a welcome change.

How wide is a lane? If we have several feet from the curb, or parked cars, and should have three feet to our left, isn't that the whole lane? You think a driver is going to understand anything less clear than: cyclists shall be given the whole lane? Make it explicit, because implicit is getting us killed.

Also, stop pissing on the e-bikes. I don't like them either, but there are far bigger fish to fry. It makes us look petty.

There should be firm directives that police focus their resources, ticketing and charges against the modes of transportation which cause the most injury and death: cars get the overwhelming majority, pedestrians little to none, and they lay off pettiness against bikes.

Not sure if side guards for transport trucks is something that needs to be legislated provincially or if, given the amount of national/international transport, it has to be federally legislated but that's a definite must-have on my list.

Anthony, can you explain this item?

"Removing the requirement of reflective tape on forks and stays on bike from the current legislation"

I don't understand why it's bad to require reflective tape on forks -- what's undesirable about this? Would love some more info.

re: "Forbidding parking in bike lanes, similar to what's been done for handicapped parking"

isn't parking in bike lanes -- lanes marked with a bike and a diamond -- already illegal?

by-law enforcement in my town seems to think so and they have told me on many occasions that the 'no parking' signs that are posted along some busy routes are only reminders b/c it's illegal regardless of whether the signs are there.

jason.

Have to agree with 'Meredi'. I don't have tape on my bike, but I do think that this is not worth fighting. Stick to the points that will save lives. You have nineteen bullets: keep it to the essential dozen.

The gist of your posting is to remind McGuinty that he needs to include the cyclists in working out the improvements. I doubt he reads this forum ;-) and so the question is

    .......how to advance this message!

Once upon a time, Toronto was cutting-edge and wave of the future. What is really saddening is that there is nothing new on this list. Starting with the idea of an Ontario-wide bicycling organization. Vélo Québec was founded in 1967 and has been instrumental in lobbying the Québec government to build the Route Verte and many other things that we only dream about here in Ontario.

To look at each of the items on your list:

"A 'Safe Passing' law, 3 feet minimum."

This exists in many places in the USA, most recently North Carolina. When Ontario is behind North Carolina, then we've got problems.

"Increasing the punishments for hurting/killing a cyclists with car under all circumstances"

We need Dutch style laws that put the responsibility on the driver. All the Ontario government needs to do is translate the Dutch laws into English with a preamble to the bill instructing judges to follow precedents set in courts in the Netherlands.

"Rationalizing the insurance laws so that cyclists don't bear the costs in crashes and collisions"

And get rid of the Mike Harris law that effectively makes it impossible for negligent drivers to be compelled to pay for cyclist's pain and suffering. Once again, the USA is way ahead of us here. There are many US drivers that have been sued into bankruptcy. I kind of like that. Hit me and I take everything you own and garnishee your wages for a long time to come.

"Forbidding parking in bike lanes, similar to what's been done for handicapped parking"

Its already illegal. I think that what you mean is to have the law enforced with a high level of enforcement like handicapped parking.

"Force all cities to include bike parking and infrastructure in its planning"

Required in the Netherlands. Toronto already does this, but many cities do not.

"Including a comprehensive module on cycling in driver's education for all classes of drivers"

Lots of places do this. We are really behind here.

"Providing funding for cycling education programs for kids, and making it park of the education curriculum, either CAN-BIKE or something based on CAN-BIKE"

This is universal in Holland. Many places in the USA also do this.

"Removing the requirement of reflective tape on forks and stays on bike from the current legislation"

This is weird, but rarely enforced. Not a priority.

"Removing habitually unsafe drivers from the road"

It is way too easy to get and keep a drivers license in Ontario. We could really learn from the UK here.

"Making electric scooters 'Motor Vehicles.'''

Can't agree with you here. The evidence is that almost all such users came from being ICE users. The present pilot program is good.

"Allow cyclists to treat stop sign like yield signs"

The US state of Idaho does this.

"Providing funding for capital investments only when cycling accommodation is included with the plan"

In Holland, this happens.

"More investment and coordination of inter-city cycling trails
Improving the number and hours of bicycles that can be carried on regional transit, i.e. GO trains and buses as well as other inter-city buses with our province."

Don't forget about the TTC. It is insane that the Yonge trains are packed like sardines during rush hour, leading to banning bikes there. The Richmond Hill Go line could easily become an express alternative, taking about half of the current Yonge line passengers by running GO trains every 5 minutes during peak hours. Of course, this means that the province has to cooperate with the city. To see how well they do this, take a look at how the Oriole GO station is 200 metres down the track from the Leslie subway station. Insane.

"Adopt and implement better cycling infrastructure standards."

Those standards exist and are implemented in many places.

Bottom line: We are behind the best practices in the rest of the world, even the USA. That's bad.

Check out the Ontario Bike Plan for more ideas:OBP

Good list, except for coming down on e-bikes. They take the same space, are equally quiet and the same speed as regular bikes. I see no reason to get upset if users aren't getting a workout.
I'd also like side guards made mandatory for large trucks and as a pedestrian I'd like to see the ban on adult cyclists on the sidewalk enforced.

Yup, there's a large list of things the province could do to have rhetoric match reality. This would include a specific ban on driving while cell phoning.
I'd also add a great boosting in dooring fines, maybe to $5,000 plus any funeral expenses plus some jail time and loss of driving prvileges.
There is likely an opportunity for inputs, though one doesn't know if it gets through.
The new Metrolinx The Big Move draft report just released has as #2 of 8 big moves p. 19 "A complete walking and cycling network with bike-sharing programs." sugesting that at the end fo the 15 period, "as much as $300 million will have been invested in new walking and cycling infrastructure across the region, creating up to 4,500 kilometres of new, diedicated, on- and off-road facilities p. 64, yet on p. 60 think that the current 9.0% of morning rush hour trips done by walkers and cyclists will can only grow to %12.5 after 25 years.
This is a feeble target: they need some suggestions and pressure to bring that growth to a reality in five years.
It could be done: smart investments in bikeways where people now ride and where travel demand is great could easily bring out bike traffic jams - and yes, I'm thinking of Bloor St. through Yorkville - and some provincial interest in having their EA processes respected would be nice too.
There was a comment at a briefing today that the modelling behind this 12.5% figure didn't really include a lot of other things like Anthony's list that could help boost bike riding to much better levels, and their list of goals is on 29-30, and I thought I saw mention of having a 1km grid of bike lanes vs. the feeble Toronto 2km desired Bike Plan goal.
feedback to RTP@metrolinx.com see also the metrolinx.com site and the consult period is c. 2 months.
Despite these moves, and welcome support for the AT, there's still a LOT to pressure on as we are seeing a proposal for massive transit and road building in relative sprawl compared to the core, and next to zilch for the old core of Toronto, though our transick turns to trans*it while the streetcar tracks prevent us from getting bike lanes on the major east-west carterials.
So calling our province "Ontcario" is still valid, and it's great that our bureauc(a)rats are now into the 1990s, but it's still a dominant majority of car drivers and more suburban interests that are in charge and presenting.

Good list, and thanks for all your work (though I also suggest leaving the e-bikers alone).

Regarding treating stop signs as a yield: Sounds good to me when no cars are around. However, I have read the wording of some of the stop-sign-as-yield laws, and there's something I'm unclear about: under these laws, what happens when I arrive at a 4-way stop on my bike and there are other cars at the intersection? Right now everything's nice and predictable--I act like a car, take my turn appropriately, and everything's good. "Treat it like a yield" suggests to me that I would have to yield to any cars near the intersection, and at some 4-ways in Toronto, that would mean I would pretty much never get to go through. Are the laws designed to circumvent such a situation, or am I giving up some vehicular rights in order to gain others?

Good list, but I echo those commenting about being too hard on e-bikes. In the Netherlands these type of slower speed limited scooters (even gas powered) are treated just like bikes on the road (travel on bike lanes, no helmet needed) and everything works well.

I never said that you had to like all of the ideas I'm putting forward. But I promise not to shoot yours down -- at least not at this point ;-) We'll have time for vetting the list later. First let's build up our wish list some more. Yes, some of these ideas are large, and some are very small (even petty), some may be controversial, some outrageous, and many may be old ideas that haven't been picked up yet. Let's get all of these ideas out on the floor and then LATER we can pick through them (and pick on each other, it seems) to find the "best" ideas to bring forward.

The ebike/scooter issue is obviously a discussion that we'll have to have some other day. In the meantime, pretend like I didn't mention it so that you can add your own ideas, rather than picking on my ideas.

And I never promised that any of these ideas would be "new." Ontario is so far behind that we're merely playing catch-up and using the ideas that have already been put into place in many other locations. Some have accused the province of being so in bed with the car makes in Ontario that the province has specifically ignored/marginalized cyclists just to encourage job growth in the auto sector. Me, I'm not quite that cynical, but it is plausible.

If there are specific ideas that you like from bike plan that you'd want on the table to open up the dialogue then post 'em. Be as specific or vague as you like.

I really like the sideguards idea, and I wish I had included in my initial list; same for wrong-way cycling on one-way streets.

I have a few more ideas that might be worth talking to the province about, so here they are:

  • Don't allow the sale or modification of motor vehicles which can attain excessive speeds on our roads. We don't have roads that allow 100 miles/hour but we sell cars which can do much more than this. Let's talk prevention, not enforcement.
  • All bikes sold must include a bell and lights. This makes compliance with the lights and bell laws easier. Retailers can "upsell" us to better lights, or discount for including lower quality lights, but must sell all bikes with lights and bells.
  • Hard targets to strive for, like 10% of modal share in the whole province, or 25% modal share in urban centres. And let's target for a reduction in cycling fatalities and injuries caused by crashes and collisions by half in every region and district in Ontario, not just province wide. And set a deadline, five years to achieve 5%, ten years to achieve 10% modal share, 25% drop of injuries and fatalities in 5 years, the rest by the end of ten years. Be prepared to change the targets if they are achieved earlier than expected
  • Change the policies at the provincial level to encourage walking and cycling to schools while ACTIVELY discouraging travel to schools by private automobile. I remember the principal on one of the schools I went to as a kid chasing the parents away and telling them to pick up their kids a block or two away; not in front of the school because it was reserved for busses, not parents. I'd really like to see that again, and certainly not this ever again
  • Promotion of cycling and cycling tourism to Ontarians and to others who would be attracted to Ontario for the cycling tourism opportunities.
  • Investment in cycling as a sport to encourage and foster a competitive cycling community that can represent Ontario on the world stage, and having facilities throughout Ontario (indoor and out) on which to practice
  • Participate in planning/funding and coordinating an on-street inter city bike network
  • Provide incentives to businesses to provide bike parking for employees and customers and showers for employees who cycle to work.
  • Allow cyclists to use all "drive through" windows
  • Allow municipalities to create car-free streets and communities by allowing more flexibility in road design by loosening many of the street design standards (allowing very narrow roads, alternate or minimal signage, and possibly other innovations)
  • Kill the OMB so that municipalities can actually plan long term and not be overruled 10 years into a 30 year plan in a quasi-judicial process that exists nowhere else on earth. The OMB has forced many very out of place developments in our neighbourhoods that should not have occurred, and has ruined too many good municipal plans

And as for how to advance this message. as I said, we'll invite the Province to our "parties" to dance until they are ready to host their own. There are also other avenues to get our message up the ranks, such as Metrolinx, our own MPPs, and even your own municipal cycling staff. And let's not forget the Phoenix which will rise from the ashes of the Cycle Ontario Alliance... Opportunities will arise, let's be prepared!

Since the province has 100% jurisdiction over education, this can be a quick fix. What goes on in many Toronto-area suburban schools is insane. I know one school in Pickering where they even organized volunteers to help children out of cars driving all the way through school property right up to the front door. Bizarre.

A much better way forward is to ban all private cars from school property during school start/end times. With this ban enforced by large chains shutting all entrances that are only opened for school busses. And a surrounding two-block ban on car street parking. With a parking enforcement officer scheduled to be there to enforce it each and every day.

What that does is create a critical mass of students bicycling and walking to school every day. Almost all high schools are large enough that bicycles would normally and naturally dominate the roads close to the schools at school start/end times.

Meredi asked:

"Removing the requirement of reflective tape on forks and stays
on bike from the current legislation"
I don't understand why it's bad to require reflective tape on forks --
what's undesirable about this? Would love some more info.

It's not that we don't want people to have reflective tape
on their forks - they're a great idea!
It's the legislation that "requires it" - and the large fine that goes
along with the legislation, that makes it far too easy to charge
a cyclist during something like a "safe cycle" campaign..

Anthony, after reading this 3 times or so I decided that it must be a typo.

Improving cycling/pedestrian access over the 400 series highways and interchanges. City streets should have high speed merge/diverge lanes. All connections to our highway should always terminate in a controlled intersection.

This must have been meant to read:

"... City streets should NOT have high speed merge/diverge lanes."

The reflective tape legislation is also poorly written, in my understanding. It assumes a bicycle will have a conventional frame geometry. This excludes mountain bikes with full suspension as well as folders, mono-forks, recumbents, etc. There is no way for these vehicles to comply with the legislation.

It is a good example of a well intended law which reveals little familiarity with actual cycling practice, equipment or conditions.

As serious road users cyclists should demand serious treatment. Serious infrastructure. Serious programs. Serious laws.

Yes, I meant what you said, not what I originally typed. What I meant was in fact that

"... City streets should NOT have high speed merge/diverge lanes."

I love seeing these kinds of discussions; it reminds me that people do care about cycling.

As for the school issue, I live in a downtown neighbourhood which is very walkable and there are very very few children cycling, but many walking to school. I helped pilot a research project which examines children's modes of transport to school (to understand the issues around "active transportation" ) and TIME seems to be the biggest factor in how people travel. Parents are driving to work so drop their kids off by car. The will not let their children walk alone and they are not going to walk them, walk home and get the car to get to work or to the TTC or GO if they aren't walking distance away already. This is the bigger urban planning issue that car-centric leaders don't want to address.

The other is the so-called safety issue. I cycle with my kids because it's on the way and I don't want them on the streets alone (too many cars like the one sited in that Star article). I don't let them walk alone because of traffic and they're too young to be alone; no one else walks so it's not like there's a gang of kids to promote safety in numbers. The whole thing is pretty messed up.

Ya'll are forgetting something... history.

Toronto has tried and failed already on everything that Quebec is well ahead of us on. What we need here in this city and province is some mature advocates who strive to get the job done (aka "Socialists"), people who put the public good before their own self interest and emotional shortcomings.

Cycle Ontario Alliance... what happend to them?... bad management and internal bickering no doubt - the Toronto/Ontario way. (See Velo Quebec for a blueprint.)

Bikeshare... what happened to that? Funding was cut, and now the city wants to take the credit and do it themselves. (How do you say "Bixi" in English?)

A cross town bike route?... last time I was in Montreal they were finishing their lane from Berri to Greene. Hello Toronto Cyclists Union? Enough with the movies, magazines and guest speakers... get off your butts and get the job done. (Or move over and let someone else drive.)

Stick to reality everyone, by looking back at history: Once Metrolinx actually doles out the cash to motorways and transit... the usual capitalist mantra will be dragged out: "Sorry cyclists, we underbudgetted on the light rail and the subway, so unfortunately there's no money left for you."

...sigh

Highways that are safe for cyclists are highways that are safer for everyone.

It saddens me to see sections of provincial highways four-laned before the entire stretch of highway is upgraded to have shoulders. This is true for cross provincial routes such as the 7 and the 17. There should be a moratorium on four-laning until all provincial highways are upgraded to standards that make them safer for cyclists.

What would it take to have paved shoulders on all of Ontario's secondary highways? I doubt it would cost more than a few kilometres of constructing a 400-series road.

Anthony, just wanted to say that I hope you didn't think I was criticizing you with the tape on forks comment -- I really just wanted to understand why you don't like it. I can't think of anything wrong with the requirement but obviously I'm missing something. Could you please elaborate?

I'd like to see better education for drivers on how to deal with cyclists. Yes, you learn to stay away from them, but I don't think practicalities of sharing the road are ever really explored, particularly how to deal with bike lanes (for instance, what to do when turning right across a bike lane).

Arg, sorry all, I wrote that second comment this morning, previewed, forgot to post, just posted now... and realized that in the interim a bunch of people replied to my question. Thanks, folks. Now I get it.

I'll still take ideas, but I think that we can start to discuss these ones. It seems from the comments that I've hit many you've liked, and at least one you don't (e-bikes)

Accommodating cyclists on highways before or as part of an upgrade from two to four lanes make sense to me, and I'm glad that it was added

It seems that many people are comfortable with current e-bike pilot. And only some are not. Fair enough, change never makes every happy, and will always make a few uncomfortable.

As Ben already described, the reflective tape requirement on the forks and stays is impossible on many bikes, the compliance is extremely low, it's redundant as bikes are already required to have lights and reflectors, and it does little but give police an excuse to harass cyclists. Ontario is the only jurisdiction that I am aware of to have this requirement. The last reason why I dislike this is because it make a bike much uglier.

And the Toronto Sun thinks that bike lanes will get done before some of the other Metrolinx plans, which I wouldn't mind too much. See http://www.torontosun.com/news/torontoandgta/2008/09/24/68...

In "Improving cycling/pedestrian access over the 400 series highways and interchanges. City streets should have high speed merge/diverge lanes. All connections to our highway should always terminate in a controlled intersection."
are you certain you don't mean "City streets should NOT have high speed merge/diverge lanes."

Also: http://www.e-laws.gov.on.ca/html/statutes/english/elaws_st...

Section 148 subsection 6: Bicycles overtaken

(6) Every person on a bicycle or motor assisted bicycle who is overtaken by a vehicle or equestrian travelling at a greater speed shall turn out to the right and allow the vehicle or equestrian to pass and the vehicle or equestrian overtaking shall turn out to the left so far as may be necessary to avoid a collision. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, s. 148 (6).

this MUST be rewritten. It is prejudicial to an extreme and unsafe for the cyclist in fact enforcing they travel at speeds limited to those at which they can turn out safely despite road conditions and is contrary to lane entitlement sections in other parts of the HTA.

Furthermore there must be examination of the direction police receive in investigating collisions involving bicyclists. This last weekends fatality in Brigden where yet another bicylist was hit from behind supposedly because he "wobbled" underlines the need for the 3 foot rule and revision of section 148 subsection 6. Bicyclists are charged for splitting lanes yet here we have motorists splitting lanes, killing cyclists with no charges laid. Something is seriously broken here. Can you say double standard?

Anthony comments:

"Don't allow the sale or modification of motor vehicles which can attain excessive speeds on our roads. We don't have roads that allow 100 miles/hour but we sell cars which can do much more than this. Let's talk prevention, not enforcement."

This strikes me as ill-advised.

On the one hand, a 1987 Plymouth Reliant can, in a very short period of time, go fast enough to injure or kill bicyclists or pedestrians. A lot of aggressive teen drivers are buzzing around in Honda Civics, which despite the loud exhaust noise really have no more performance than a stock Honda Civic. They are just being driven by idiots. If you put an idiot in an '87 Reliant, that idiot can as efficiently injure or kill cyclists/pedestrians as the same idiot in a new Corvette. Except the idiot, being an idiot, is much likelier found in an old Reliant than in a new Corvette.

On the other hand, how many bicycle fatalities are due to cars going 100 MPH? Dooring, being crushed by trucks, or being wiped out by a left-turning vehicle seem to be the common causes. Doesn't take a Lamborghini to accomplish any of these.

(By the way, I think that the current "street racing" law in Ontario is not particularly desirable.)

How about the "20 km/h" bicycle speed limit on park paths? This is really a problem, because there are paths that are useful bicycling routes (waterfront path being the most obvious), and many cyclists can easily cruise well above that speed. Emphasis on "speedy cars" can lead to unwelcome emphasis on "speedy cyclists".

In Saskatoon a cyclists was recently murdered by street racers:
http://news.google.ca/news/url?sa=T&ct=ca/0-0&fd=R&url=htt...
I say murdered because of the inherent dangers that are imposed by these "idiots" as you would call them who chose to race their cars on the road and not on a race track.

There is an old saying:

One can pull the babies from the river, but at some point one has to stop those who are throwing the babies in the river.

This is to say enforcement and reactive measures can only take one so far, at some point one has to be proactive and start working on prevention.

Don't get me wrong, I like car racing, and went to the drag strip this summer with my family. We had a blast. But those cars are not driven on the roads to the race tracks, they are pulled there by trucks, as it ought to be. Racing is dangerous enough without having to impose the risks on the unwilling who dwell, linger, and pass on our roads.

I want this as a first step to get cars that incapable of speeding. First cap the speeds; then bring down the cap. As the technology becomes cheap and available the speed cap can be dynamicaly controlled, depending on the roads and the time of day. GPS and other technologies can accomplish this. "Pay as you go" insurance already watches your speed as well as watching where and when you drive. You would pay based on what you did and when you did it. Ultimately this should be proactive rather than reactive, not allowing the transgression, rather than making you pay for it afterwards.

This is my thinking with this. It's the first "baby step" in getting there, and would (ultimately) free up some police resources for , let's say, enforcing the no parking laws in bike lanes...

Another idea to add to the list: Get the retailers to register our bikes for us when we buy them so that they can (hopefully, or at least more easily) be returned to us in the unfortunate event that they get stolen. Used and new bike sellers would have to perform the registration into the registry proposed by Metrolinx. Making this happen at the Point Of Sale will bring complaince levels much higher than they currently are.

Meredi the problem with tape on the forks is that for mountain bikers such as myself that ride full suspension bikes you can't meet the requirements of tape on my front forks which means that each time i go out on my bike i'm actually in violation of a law and could be fined for not having the tape on my forks

Another Geoffrey, maybe the same one, has been "bumped" from behind last year while taking a lane in the west end, and as the investigating constable didn't do much to listen to Geoffrey nor assess the situation eg. talk to witnesses, Geoffrey has been messed up physically and also in spirit, as he's been forced to try to overcome a shytstemic bias that can occur; or if not that, at least try to get some accountibility and redress while being broken up.
So maybe we need to ensure/add laws and penalties that protect cyclists from being run down from behind - and that's likely more of a provincial thing than a city thing, though the local cops would do enforcement, or in theory, would do enforcement.
I believe that part of the reason that Europe is so bike-friendly seems to be that the onus of responsibility in a bike-car crash is upon the motorist to prove that she/he is not at fault vs. the right-to-drive-over-anything mentality here.

The province is already looking at a ban on cell phones whilst driving, and is planning on bringing this forward soon. Once they do, that means one item less from this list

http://www.thestar.com/News/Ontario/article/524589

"Allow cyclists to treat stop sign like yield signs, at least under certain conditions"

I think this item is counter productive. The overall theme here is that you want drivers to start taking cyclists more seriously and treat them just as they would another car on the road. But if that's the case, shouldn't cyclists obey the same laws as cars? I think creating different sets of traffic laws for cyclists will lead to more injuries and will also psychologically set back the movement to change the minds of drivers.

Amelia Y.
Seattle DUI lawyer