Cyclist safety has been a hot topic in Ottawa in recent weeks, as it has been for years among Ontario’s personal injury and bicycle accident lawyers. A fatal hit-and-run in the city’s downtown core in mid-May sparked protests and calls for change in the Nation’s Capital, prompting city councillor Catherine McKenney to suggest a Vision Zero approach.
“We can’t just keep waiting for cyclists and pedestrians to get killed and then take more action,” the Somerset ward councillor told reporters last month.
Toronto bicycle accident lawyers and road safety advocates are quite familiar with Vision Zero, a road safety strategy that prioritizes the safety of vulnerable road users and aims to eliminate traffic fatalities and serious injuries. McKenney is urging the city to adopt several Vision Zero measures, including:
- Mandatory pedestrian and cycling infrastructure with all new road construction
- Installation of segregated bike lanes
- Reducing speed limits to 30 km/h on all residential streets
- Eliminating right turns on red lights where there are bike lanes or heavy pedestrian traffic
- Changing traffic signals to prioritize cyclists and pedestrians
“We often prioritize traffic flow over pedestrian and cycling safety and that has to be changed,” she the city councillor, according to the CBC.
McKenney wasn’t the only Ottawan calling for change following last month’s accident. Protestors organized at least two demonstrations in the city, including one in which activists separated bike lanes from traffic lanes with red plastic cups, and a memorial ride attended by 400 cyclists and a police escort.
“I feel like it was a really powerful experience,” said Andrea Harden, who helped organize the ride, to the CBC. “We had quite a large crowd for three days’ worth of organizing and I think that’s a testament to how people who ride bikes in this city feel.”
Residents of the Greater Toronto Area are all too familiar with protests and memorials for vulnerable road users. Pedestrian and cyclist deaths reached all-time highs over the past several years while municipal politicians have struggled to find solutions. Toronto City Council launched its own Vision Zero plan in 2017, but it has failed to produce positive results. Local road safety experts blame lack of investment in infrastructure improvements and hesitance to adopt controversial measures, such as lowering speed limits.
If you or a member of your family has been injured in a cycling accident, contact Oakville Lawyers today to arrange a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our experienced bicycle accident lawyers.
Image credit: Richard Akerman/Wikimedia Commons