A response to Ontario’s Cycling Strategy

My thoughts on Ontario’s Cycling Strategy can be summed up pretty easily –> It sucks.

Anthony from ibiketo.ca who got me on this topic was a little nicer  … “If someone were to ask me how I would describe Ontario’s new Cycling Strategy in a word I would have to choose one of these: “vague,” “wishy-washy,” or “same-old, same-old” ….”

As cyclists our opportunity to provide feedback lasts until the end of January 2013. Take a read of the strategy and provide your feedback to the Province.

Links:

  • Link to Government website providing more info and a submit comments button
  • Link to a good piece from ibiketo.ca
  • Link to Ontario’s draft Cycling Strategy

Also let Bob Chiarelli know he can do better. I’d be curious to know how much it cost to produce this drivel. My few bullet points on my previous post would have been a better start.

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Dear Bob Chiarelli or whomever has the the Ministry of Transportation portfolio come spring,

It helps to have a compelling vision for cycling in Ontario before you come up with a strategy. What does a successful implementation of your strategy look like? From reading your strategy paper, I have no idea. A vague, impassioned vision leads to a lack luster strategy, particularly when there’s no suggested timeline.

Here’s a wishlist I put together in like 10 minutes before reading the draft strategy. Pick one, pick a date, start acting on it and voila you’ve got a better strategy. And one more thing, ask Ontario’s cyclists to hold you (or whomever) accountable.

  • Inclusion of a bicycle safety course as part of the provincial mandatory curriculum in elementary school (say grade 7).
  • Inclusion of cycling awareness in the Ontario Driving Manuals.
  • Upgrade provincial standards for roundabouts to include safe cycling paths or lanes, here in Waterloo Region they plop down a roundabout and pretend cyclists don’t exist 10 feet before and after, at least that’s where the cycling lanes begin and end. (Usually I just take the lane).
  • Provincial standards for road maintenance of cycling lanes and or sides of roadways; too often cyclists must ride in the gutters that are filled with debris,  potholes, ruts, man hole covers, drainage grates, or it’s the place where ploughs dump all the snow.
  • Whenever a road is resurfaced mandate at least a paved shoulder, painted cycling lane or even better a segregated cycling lane.
  • Launch awareness campaigns on the rights of cyclists, beginning a conversation to educate drivers. A good start would be the 1 meter passing law followed by at fault accident legislation when a motorist hits a cyclist. Make drivers tremble with fear if they were to ever hit a cyclist or pedestrian. The dutch put the onus on the driver to prove they’re not at fault when a driver collides with a child.
  • When a new bike is sold in Ontario make sure it’s safe … ie. we don’t sell cars without lights, so why do we sell bicycles without them.
  • Legislate away laws prohibiting cyclists on sidewalks of roadways where there isn’t a cycling lane (ie don’t make it illegal to be safe).
  • Decrease speed limits t0 a maximum of 40km/hr in urban areas.
  • Any urban roadway where the speed limit is more than 50km/hr should be accompanied by a segregated bicycle lane (thinking Homer Watson in Kitchener).

Yours Truly,

Graham Roe

Waterloo, Ontario

6 thoughts on “A response to Ontario’s Cycling Strategy

  1. I’d add a couple of things…

    – Motorway crossings. The MTO right now refuses to pay for any redesign or work that would make highway crossings safe for cyclists. (Waterloo Region wants a multi-use path on King St N under the 85 when the overpass is rebuilt next, and the province wouldn’t even consider it unless the Region paid for a new design themselves.) Even in the draft strategy, the design of tourist-y provincial cycling routes will be to avoid crossing highways, which is completely the wrong approach. It should be a top priority to upgrade all over/underpasses to include safe cycling infrastructure. Further, the province needs to tackle more ‘mid-block’ highway bridges and tunnels like the one near Conestoga College, so fewer neighbourhoods are isolated for pedestrians and cyclists.

    – Update the HTA and MTO regulations to allow for contra-flow bike lanes, coloured bicycle lanes and bike boxes, mid-block trail crossings, cycling signals at intersections, and cycle-friendly cross-“walks” on multi-use trails, where dismounting should not be expected. Basically remove the regulatory roadblocks municipalities face in implementing cycling infrastructure that has been tested elsewhere.

    – MTO regulations that would require municipalities to put ‘shark teeth’ wherever a cycling lane terminates (for an example of what this looks like, see http://real.uwaterloo.ca/~mboos/?p=1005) or ‘switches sides’ with a turning lane. Also standards on cycling lane widths (no less than 1.25 m, 1.5 m if it has sewer drains in it) Something like the Region’s corridor guidelines that mandates all transportation modes be accommodated on new or rehabilitated roads, with a higher priority than ‘level of service’ standards for car throughput.

    1. Mike your touristy comment is bang on. In my opinion the MTO doesn’t seem serious about cycling as a mode of transportation. I wonder what it would take? An election? A new premier?

      1. Yes, with some revision, of course. I will also be sending this to Kitchener staff who are preparing comments on behalf of the city for the draft strategy.

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