The Chief Coroner of Ontario, Dr. Andrew McCallum, announced this morning that his office would be investigating cycling deaths over the last four years to determine ways to prevent them, reports the Star and CBC (read the announcement). Ten to twenty cyclists die every year in Ontario as a result of injuries on Ontario streets. A coalition of cycling and senior groups - Toronto Cyclists Union, Advocacy for Respect for Cyclists and the United Senior Citizens of Ontario - wrote to the coroner requesting the inquest, and an opinion piece was written in the Star in August by lawyers Albert Koehl and Patrick Brown, along with former president of the United Senior Citizens of Ontario, Marie Smith, explaining why they wanted the inquest.
A similar review of 38 cycling deaths in the city of Toronto over an 11-year period was completed in 1998. That review led to a number of cycling initiatives in the city, including the Bike Plan, the city-wide network of cycling lanes, and the establishment of the cycling advisory committee, which was disbanded earlier this year.
“We know a lot has changed since then,” Cass said, adding that there are more cyclists on the road now than ever before and more interest in sustainable forms of transportation. “It seemed timely to do this and look at how we can make things as safe as possible for cyclists going forward.”
Dr. Dan Cass is the regional supervising coroner for the Toronto West region. The results of that previous coroner's inquest can be found on the City of Toronto's website and came with a long list of recommendations. Almost 14 years later, it appears that we have been dragging our feet as much as possible.
Comments and recommendations can be sent to Dr. Cass and the review panel before Nov. 30, 2011 by writing firstname.lastname@example.org or at the following mailing address: Dr. Dan Cass, Office of the Chief Coroner, 26 Grenville Street, Toronto, ON, M7A 2G7.