Ontario Doctors Support Cycling Safety Through Collision Reduction

As tweeted by Share the Road, the Ontario Medical Association has just released an excellent policy paper, Enhancing cycling safety in Ontario. Their recommendations are very similar to the BCCC’s policy Cycling Safety Through Collision Reduction with the focus being on investing in infrastructure improvements and education. The report also highlights the need to improve intersections.

Transportation planners must be charged with implementing bicycle safety solutions that have been proven in other jurisdictions, and work to solve any additional challenges that intersections pose for cyclists and drivers sharing the road. Similarly, the OMA recommends that both driver and cyclist educators emphasize intersection-specific challenges.

 They also address the issue of a lack of places for children to safely cycle.

Apart from the dangers of cyclists riding off the sidewalk into traffic, or crossing intersections or crosswalks when drivers don’t expect them to be there, sidewalk riding is not ideal for pedestrians or cyclists. If there were safer, designated places to ride, children might feel more comfortable riding on streets and their parents might be more willing to permit this.

As an overall goal, Ontario’s doctors believe that a cycling infrastructure of bike lanes and paths should be safe and seamless enough for parents to feel comfortable letting their children ride on the road in these lanes. It is especially important that bike lane networks are connected, and cyclists aren’t left stranded in mixed traffic.

Here is their list of recommendations. It would be great if the BCMA would produce a similar set of recommendations or even better, the BC government implements such policies.

  • That both provincial and municipal transportation departments do more to make cycling safer.
  • That the provincial government develop policy and programs, including funding, to facilitate safe cycling routes. 
  • That municipal governments, which have the responsibility to build a significant portion of the much-needed cycling infrastructure, redouble their efforts to do so.
  • That bike lane and bike path networks should be safe and seamless enough for parents to feel comfortable permitting their children to ride on them.
  • That bike lane networks be connected so that cyclists aren’t left stranded in mixed traffic. 
  • That transportation planners in Ontario be charged with implementing solutions that have been proven in other jurisdictions, and work to solve additional challenges that intersections pose for cyclists and drivers sharing the road. •
  • That investments in cycling infrastructure be made in suburban settings as well. 
  • That connected networks of roads with paved shoulders are needed in rural settings, to allow for the much needed separation between cyclists and fast-travelling vehicles on rural roads. 
  • That the Ontario Drivers’ Manual be revised to include a comprehensive section on vehicle-bicycle interaction, and furthermore that the Ontario’s Drive Test include this in the examination of new drivers.  
  • That the ongoing delivery of bicycle safety education for young children through such programs as Can-Bike be supported, and that such training be mandatory for all Ontario primary school students. 
  • That education material for both drivers and cyclists emphasize intersection-specific dangers.  
  • That the use of bicycle helmets is strongly recommended, on and off road, for children and adults alike.

Note that helmets are mentioned last. Like the BCCC, while strongly recommending helmet use, their focus is on collision reduction.

… the prevention of collisions and falls is the much preferred solution. There are many head injuries that bicycle helmets cannot protect against, so the ultimate goal must be to prevent the falls and collisions that result in cyclists hitting their heads.

The only major point they missed was the importance motor vehicle speed reduction but still, great work by the CMA.

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