“Ghost bike” memorial to cycling fatality. (Pat McGrath, The Ottawa Citizen)
If you’re male, between the age of 45-54, living in an urban environment in Ontario, and you are cycling in the spring or summer during clear weather, on dry roads, with good visibility, watch out, the statistics say that you are in the crosshairs of cycling fatality. This emerged from the report, released by the Office of the Chief Coroner of Ontario yesterday, on All Accidental Cycling Deaths in Ontario From January 1st, 2006 to December 31st, 2010.
At first glance, a couple of points stand out:
“In terms of mortality, cyclists are among the most vulnerable road users worldwide” and “One of the hypotheses of the Cycling Death Review was that all cycling fatalities are preventable. This hypothesis held true in each and every death we reviewed. ”
Collectively, we have decided that people who choose a lifestyle outside of car culture are the most expendable users of public space in our cities.
Media response has focused largely on the recommendation for mandatory wearing of helmets for cyclists. This comes as no surprise. If cyclists die on our roads, surely it’s somehow their fault. But the report itself doesn’t even get to the topic of helmets before it makes the following recommendations:
Adoption of a “complete streets” approach – focused on the safety of all road users – to guide the redevelopment of existing communities and the design of new communities throughout Ontario.
Development of an Ontario Cycling Plan to guide the development of policy, legislation and regulations and the commitment of infrastructure funding to support cycling in Ontario.
A comprehensive cycling safety public awareness and education strategy, starting in public schools, and continuing through the purchase of every new and used bicycle and through driver’s license testing.
Legislative change (Highway Traffic Act (HTA); Municipal Act; relevant Municipal By-Laws) aimed at ensuring clarity and consistency regarding interactions between cyclists and other road users.