How to get cyclists off the sidewalk: councillor asks, answers and then ignores herself
One can't help feeling that Councillor Stintz is trying to divert attention away from her responsibility for helping to cut access to TTC routes by pulling the old "get the cyclists off the sidewalk" complaint out of her political toolbox. News680 and now CBC has picked it up. In the tried and true way of Mr. Ford, she listens to a complaint or two from ward residents and figures it must be an epidemic.
Sister Mary Sibbald, a Toronto nun, likes the idea of cracking down.
"They are a menace sometimes on the sidewalk," she said of sidewalk cyclists. "They come behind you so quietly and so surreptitiously."
In 2009, a woman died after she struck her head on the pavement after being hit by a cyclist on the sidewalk.
Wow, one person died two years ago. There must be a scourge of sidewalk cyclists killing pedestrians! That comes to an average of 1/3 pedestrians dead per year due to cyclists (if I'm allowed to make a generous inference from one data point). From the City of Toronto's pedestrian collision data (pdf for years 2002 to 2007) we see an average of 29 pedestrians dead per year due to automobiles. Shouldn't we pay paying 100 times more attention to all these pedestrians dying from automobiles? The rate, after all, is 100 times higher.
Still, sidewalk cycling should be discouraged. Just how do we go about convincing cyclists to get off the sidewalk? An enforcement campaign? A public education campaign? Maybe. But then Councillor Stintz responds to her own approach with an even better answer:
"It's like jaywalking," she said. "We have a bylaw about jaywalking but people still jaywalk. And the best way to change behaviour is not to ticket jaywalkers. The best way to change behaviour is to create safer ways to cross the street. We've done that with pedestrian scramble.
So is that an analogy, Stintz? Out of your mouth keep coming the words "enforcement" and "education", but what you really mean to say is this: "safer cycling infrastructure". If Andie Garcia can say it so can you:
"If there was a provision for cycling infrastructure … I think most cyclists would use the infrastructure rather than the sidewalks," said Andrea Garcia of the Toronto Cyclists Union.
"There are times that road conditions can be so unsafe that cyclists feel that their safest option is to ride on the sidewalk," Garcia said.