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Saturday, June 20, 2009

City cracks down on bicycling lawbreakers: for 1 week

The city of Toronto says it's cracking down on cyclists who break the law... for a week during Bicycle Month.

They are specifically targeting bicyclists who do not have proper lighting, bells, reflectors etc. (all of which are mandatory and factory-installed on eScooters), riding on sidewalks and also targeting those unsafe cyclists who do not stop at Stop signs and red lights.

That latter point should be of more concern to a pedal-powered biker than eBikers, because a federal study showed that eBikers were quite a bit more likely to stop at stop signs.

OntEBA is drafting a position document asking the provincial government to make adult bicycle helmets mandatory in Ontario, as they are in British Columbia, and doubling the fines for bicycles committing dangerous offenses such as riding without helmets, riding on the sidewalk and failure to obey the long-standing traffic laws like one-way streets and stop signs.

If safety is a serious concern of the Ontario government, they'll do it.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Helmets don't make cyclists safer.
Just look at Copenhagen or Amsterdam, helmet wearing is rare yet the hospitals aren't full of people with cracked noggins.

ontEBA: said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ontEBA: said...

Do helmets help prevent injury? It seems to be a truly debatable point.

However, a British government study found that about 50 per cent of bike accidents produce head and face injuries. Are Ontario cyclists aware of that?

As for Copenhagen and Amsterdam: there are much better and safer lanes there, and auto drivers are culturally more conscious of two-wheeled traffic.

In North America, bikers get no respect. We're invisible. And unlike Copenhagen where the hot nuts are sold by street vendors, in Toronto the hot nuts are driving cars.

The Canadian Medical Association Journal sums it up nicely: "Cycling is very safe where it is popular."

Many people point to the Nova Scotia experience of the 1990s, where bicycle use dropped after mandatory helmet laws were introduced.

However, Ontario is not Nova Scotia, our cities are all larger and more urban. Gasoline prices have almost doubled since that N.S. experience. Bicycle use in Toronto and environs is unlikely to drop here due to mandatory helmet laws.

So mostly we need to make cycling of all types more popular (ergo safer?).

As for other safety issues, about one in six bike accidents is caused by cyclists riding the wrong direction, according to B.C. statistics. That is truly a preventable act and a preventable injury.