Cycling Advocacy Letter
As a club we are asking for the support of our city councilors in making Toronto a safer place to ride bikes. As such we are asking our members to take the following actions: read the letter below, Copy it, add your personal info as well as your city Councillors info, print it off and mail it in as a personal letter to your city Councillor
We believe that taking these actions will help us make Toronto's roads safer for cycling.
Thank you in advance
MGCC Member Name
[Insert MGCC Rider City Concillor Name]
100 Queen Street West, Suite C [INSERT COUNCILLOR'S SUITE #] (note councillor suite @ can be found at http://app.toronto.ca/im/council/councillors.jsp)
Dear Councillor [INSERT COUNCILLOR'S NAME]: (Use this link to find your city councillor: http://app.toronto.ca/wards/jsp/wards.jsp)
I would appreciate if you would pass on my concerns regarding the City of Toronto (City) cycling bylaw outlined below to the Toronto Cycling Committee. I am an active recreational cyclist who participates in weekly Morning Glory Cycling Club rides.
You may not be aware that the City has a bylaw that requires all cyclists to ride single file, “No person shall operate a bicycle upon a roadway other than riding in single file except when over taking another vehicle.” The City by-law can be found here, http://www.toronto.ca/cycling/pdf/hta.pdf. This bylaw, 32-92-14(2), was written in 1992 at a time when recreational cycling may not have been as popular, but today recreational cycling is growing in popularity. The Globe and Mail reported this spring that recreational cycling is growing in the range of 10% per annum (http://www.theglobeandmail.com/sports/more-sports/cycling-is-the-new-golf-the-rise-of-an-on-trend-activity/article4246149).
In June of this year the Ontario Coroner’s office released a report on cycling deaths. The theme of this report was public safety, ‘We encourage all Ontarians to take personal responsibility for their own safety and for the safety of all road users.’ As any cycling club will tell you riding single file increases (not decreases) the risk to cyclists. A group of cyclists needs more room on the road than an individual cyclist in order to avoid the usual road hazards as well as the cyclists in front or behind them. Riding single file tempts drivers to pass the cycling group without changing lanes, which poses a danger to a larger group of cyclists.
When a group of cyclists ‘claim’ the lane in which they are riding, by riding two to three abreast, it helps to increase safety by:
1) Sending a message to drivers that they must switch to an alternative lane to safely pass the group; and
2) By riding 2 or 3 abreast (well within the right-hand lane) the length of the group is shortened by 1/3 to 2/3, making it safer and quicker for motorists to pass the group.
Any experienced group cyclist will tell you riding in formation with 2 or more cyclists abreast is a standard safety procedure performed by any large group of cyclists. Cycling safety research also supports the ‘safety in numbers effect;’ increasing the density of cyclists improves their overall safety,
In 1996 the City also requested the Chief Coroner of Ontario to review cycling deaths in Toronto. This report, A Report on Cycling Fatalities in Toronto 1986-98: Recommendations for Reducing Cycling Injuries and Death, was released in 1998. Recommendation 12 suggested a review, and possible changes, to the municipal bylaws to be consistent with the provincial Highway Traffic Act (HTA). This also parallels with Recommendation 9 from the recent provincial Coroner’s report, superficially asking the City of Toronto to ensure consistency with their By-Laws and the HTA. The City bylaw is inconsistent with the HTA; the HTA does not have a law that requires cyclists to ride single file.
The City also has a number of programs and initiatives supporting cycling safety. The Toronto Bike Plan written in 2001 encourages safe cycling in Toronto. The vision, ‘to create a safe, comfortable and bicycle friendly environment in Toronto, which encourages people of all ages to use bicycles for everyday transportation and enjoyment,’ supports and encourages recreational cycling in Toronto. The Toronto Public Health Department released A Road to Health this April noting the need to improve walking and cycling within the City.
The province continues to encourage safe cycling, both for recreation and commuting. The Ministry of Transportation is poised to release its updated cycling policy before the end of 2012. The Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport promotes the adequate provision of and access to sport and recreation infrastructure at the community level. In 2011 the Ontario Medical Association published Enhancing Cycling Safety in Ontario, a document advocating for a healthier Ontario through increased recreational cycling.
As an avid cyclist I ask you and your team to consider repealing by-law 32-92-14(2), ‘Fail[ing] to ride in single file.’ This by-law poses a safety risk to myself and my fellow cyclists.
Thank you for your consideration in this matter.
[INSERT MGCC Member Name]
9/16/2012 07:10:45 pm
First of all let me tell you, you have got a great blog .I am interested in looking for more of such topics and would like to have further information. Hope to see the next blog soon.
9/17/2012 11:27:32 pm
First of all let me tell you, you have got a great blog .I am interested in looking for more of such topics and would like to have further information. Hope to see the next blog soon
12/7/2012 08:51:04 am
Great letter. I have sent a version to my local councillor. Can I suggest that the second last paragraph be updated, as the Ministry of Transportation has just released its new cycling strategy for consultation?
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