Friday, December 9, 2011

Another Coroners Report, Waiting on the Shelf

In 1998 the chief Coroner of Toronto wrote a report "Recommendations for reducing cycling injuries and death". This report detailed cyclist deaths and injuries over an 11 year period with an aim to enhance cyclist safety going forward. The report made 15 recommendations in five broad areas:
  • Better bicycle collision data collection and analysis
  • Education programs and enforcement for both motorists and cyclists
  • A review of the Highway Traffic Act sections affecting bicycles
  • Roadway engineering design improvements for bicycles
  • Investigation of design modifications for large vehicles to reduce injury severity
What happened when this report was released? Well, like most Coroners reports it looks like it was shelved. I can say for sure that in the last 15 years any review of the Highway Traffic Act has not produced any of the recommended changes. Design modifications for large vehicles to reduce injury severity? Moved forward in Europe, DOA here. It was revived as an issue in the federal Parliament by Opposition MP as a Private Members Bill, of course Private Members Bills never go anywhere in Canadian Parliament. Toronto's police may have acted upon the recommendations to improve collision data collection and analysis. Unfortunately, I can't judge as this is not open or available data. This leaves two recommendations that may have been acted upon: Education and Engineering.
Most serious cyclists know where the political effort and attention has been placed. Infrastructure, has been a political hot button. The rhetoric has been mighty, the results tepid. That leaves Education as the only area that may have been addressed. For cyclists the city of Toronto offers a large selection of Can-Bike courses. Online videos and tips, as well as other resources. Nothing for other road users...
Still the call is to educate cyclists before other road users, instead of other road improvements. Proven strategies are ignored and fantasies are indulged.

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