Last week, Toronto Police Services 11 Division sent out an email regarding a week-long bicycle safety blitz starting today. The blitz covers various parts of 11 Division, including The Junction, High Park, Roncesvalles, and Bloor West Village.
They will be cracking down on cyclists who disobey traffic rules, especially sidewalk cycling. They really made sure to spell out the details of the sidewalk cycling bylaws and how they are enforced. No word on whether they will also crack down on motorists parked in the Runnymede bike lane, joggers in the High Park bike lane, or motorists doing crazy stuff pretty much wherever they please.
You can read the text of the email below.
The 11 Division Traffic Unit has received a number of community complaints related to traffic safety issues within the division. In High Park both bicycles and motor vehicles frequently speed and fail to obey stop signs within the park. Additionally, bicycles ridden on the sidewalk endangering pedestrians is a problem in Bloor West Village, The Junction and in Roncesvalles Village.
A traffic safety initiative to address these concerns comprised of both enforcement and educational components will commence on Monday 05 May 2008 and conclude on Sunday 11 May 2008. Any traffic related concerns can be directed to 11 Division’s Traffic Unit by phoning 416-808-1100.
Sidewalks are for Pedestrians. Pedestrians use sidewalks to travel safely along busy city streets. During the summer months sidewalks are congested with pedestrians, cafes and vendors. When cyclists, in-line skaters and scooters are also involved, conflicts arise that could be prevented.
A City bylaw allows cyclists with a tire size of 61cm or 24 inches or less to ride on the sidewalk. The intent of this bylaw is to allow young children to cycle on the sidewalk while they learn to ride. The bylaw is based on wheel size because it is difficult for Police to enforce age-based bylaws, as most children do not carry identification. This is a municipal bylaw and rules vary in communities across Ontario. The Toronto bylaw states that riding a bicycle with tire size over 61cm (24 inches) on sidewalks is prohibited, as is riding/operating a bicycle (or roller skates, in-line skates, skateboard, coaster, toy vehicle) on a sidewalk without due care and attention and reasonable consideration for others. The fine in downtown Toronto for not following this bylaw is $90 and aggressive cyclists can also be charged with careless driving.
There are many hazards involved when cycling on the sidewalks. If a cyclist hits a pedestrian, the injuries can be severe. Seniors are especially vulnerable and can fall merely by being startled. Anyone with a visual or hearing impairment is at increased risk. Many cyclists ride on the sidewalk because they are afraid of cars. But choosing to ride on the sidewalk does not eliminate the risk of a car and bike collision. Cycling on the sidewalk is a contributing factor in 30 per cent of car and bike collisions. Collisions occur when cyclists ride off the sidewalk into the roadway or when motorists are exiting a laneway or driveway.
What to teach young cyclists about cycling on the sidewalk:
- Always yield to pedestrians. Get off and walk your bike or put your foot down.
- Ride slowly.
- Always walk your bike through a crosswalk or crossover (Fines apply if not followed).
- Use a bell or horn to let pedestrians know that you are there.
- Make eye contact with drivers. Assume that drivers don't see you.
- Look for cars in driveways, laneways and at intersections and be prepared to stop.
- Expect pedestrians to exit from stores.
To teach skills and give riders confidence in riding on the road, the City offers CAN-BIKE cycling courses for children and adults. Call 416-338-0000 to register or go to www.toronto.ca/cycling and click on CAN-BIKE.