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.