Tag Archives: bike safety

John Diogenous Cycling safety

Cycling Collisions & What the Bike Community is Saying About Them

In many of my previous blog articles I have touched on the safety hazards that cyclists face each day while riding in Toronto. One of the most feared and dangerous threats posed by our busy city streets is, of course, the collision of a moving vehicle with a cyclist. However, in addition to moving vehicles, “dooring” has also brought down many cyclists in their riding prime. I have spoken about dooring in a previous article, identifying it as a collision caused by drivers opening their doors and cyclists being unable to swerve. When a cyclist hits a car door there can be serious consequences including long-term, debilitating injury or death.

I am constantly researching different biking issues and opportunities that arise in our city. This week was no different, and I found dozens of articles speaking directly to these aforementioned safety hazards. One Toronto cyclist was so put off by the fact that Toronto Police do not record doorings that he decided to create a website where these accidents can be recorded and measured. Thanks to his efforts, www.Doored.ca is now up and running. This website allows you to report dooring incidents and keep track of them in accordance with their time of occurrence, location and severity. This data is compiled alongside a map that designates where the incident took place.

The creator of Doored.ca is Justin Bull. On Metro Morning, he put forth excellent reasoning behind his decision to create this innovative app. When Ontario redefined what a collision meant, they took dooring incidents right off of the map. The new definition precludes dooring because, despite the severity of the resultant injuries, it is not realized as the collision of two vehicles that are in motion. This exclusion of dooring prevents police officers from having to keep track of the incidents – so Bull is doing that job for them.

Many cyclists are saluting Bull’s efforts. However, the majority acknowledge that this sliver of education is not going to protect cyclists. Although the visibility of the numbers may encourage our community to recognize that dooring is actually a significant issue, this may not be enough to save lives. Therefore, in response to this enthusiastic act, many cyclists have put forth ideas regarding how to lessen the likelihood of such incidents.

Many Torontonian cyclists suggest that the fine for dooring, which is only $85, should be increased to discourage drivers from being so careless. Others argue that the municipality should readdress the issue, reopening it to be considered as a collision and thereby taken more seriously. Toronto’s own Police Chief recognizes that the issue significantly impacts citizens’ commutes each day; however, there is no easy resolution to be found at this time. Therefore, I put it out to all of you: how can we decrease the number of doorings in Toronto? Is there a way that will create more good than harm (in the way of driver/cyclist rivalry)?

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Cycling Safety

Bicycle Bashing or Concerned Citizens About Cycling Safety?

Cycling Safety
When large-scale discussions used to erupt regarding obeying the rules of the road these discourses revolved around driving. Each generation seems to spur a different road safety discussion; from wearing seat belts to drinking and driving, public safety is directly influenced by the behaviour of citizens on the road. However, the millennials are less concerned with hot rods and more concerned with environmentally friendly modes of transportation. In Ontario alone, over 600, 000 citizens ride a bike daily.  So now, the road safety discourse is changing.

Toronto cyclist advocate and CEO of Share the Road Cycling Coalition, believes that the millennial generation’s transportation habits are changing the ways of the road. However, other citizens are not so happy about this transition. Conversation surrounding cycling safety was sparked in Toronto after a TTC Chair was ticketed for rolling through a stop sign on her bicycle. The Chair Tweeted that she refused to pay the ticket due to a citation error and discourse boomed.

An enraged Toronto columnist responded to this news with a scathing article about bikers’ disregard for motorists and basic road safety. The Toronto Star columnist, Judith Timson, wrote about driving home late at night and witnessing a cyclist biking against traffic in the dark nestled in amongst parked cars. Timson states, “I am a motorist, fearful and angry, and I’ve come to the end of silently tolerating cyclists who break the law.”

This prompted a rather anger-filled discussion about cyclists either not knowing or not caring to obey road rules. McMahon responded stating that as we move away from being car-centric, we need to ensure that cyclists understand how to travel safely. However, this is currently an unfair assumption, as the city does not provide any type of cycling education. Motorists just assume cyclists know the best way to manoeuvre throughout Toronto’s busy streets, but that is just not the case.

Motorists have books, classes and courses about how to drive properly. Parents take driver education seriously and there are very few, if any, young motorists that have not gone through months of in-class and in-car training. But what of this new generation that is saying no to cars and yes to eco-friendly, cheap cycling? How will they learn to cycle safely if we do not take the time to teach them?

In various blogs (TORONTO BIKERS BEWARE: & “DOORING” MAJOR DANGER FOR TORONTO CYCLIStS) I have explored the dangers of biking in Toronto. But, what about the dangers that cyclists create for motorists? I can only imagine the emotional turmoil that a motorist who strikes a cyclist must suffer. What can bikers do to keep themselves safer? Beyond wearing a helmet, wear lights at night. Don’t blend into bad lighting and traffic; stand out with noticeable gear and protective headwear. Don’t cut cars off! Do not casually roll through lights or stop signs and certainly do not go against the grain of traffic to save time. I do not agree with biker bashing, but several of these motorists’ claims could have been avoided by safer, smarter biking. Do not shed a negative light on Toronto’s cycling community. Educate yourself or advocate for public cycling education. Let’s keep Toronto’s streets safe for everyone. Stand up for yourself by being safe and continuing to enjoy fast, cheap travel in Toronto.