Vision Zero

Zero is the number of traffic fatalities envisioned by planners who are trying to remedy Toronto’s worsening transportation problems. Vision Zero is an international movement, so safety ideas come from all over … even Beach Hill.

Yesterday, Danica and I participated in a well-attended, lively roundtable hosted by our local councillor. We used provided maps to communicate our observations. I pointed out places where cyclists on sidewalks are a problem, for example.

Roger Browne, City Traffic Control and Safety Manager, was there to collect our input for the database.

Mystery Bonus: Councillor McMahon will not be running for re-election this year, so who is going to try for the job? One prospect was sitting at our table. He let it slip that he will be announcing his candidacy soon, so I won’t steal his thunder, but Danica and I think he might be good at the job.

7 thoughts on “Vision Zero”

  1. I bike a lot in the city and basically the only reason that I bike on the sidewalk is because I feel unsafe on the street. Trust me, cyclists want to get where they are going as fast as possible and if the road was a safe option then that is where they would be. Too many cyclists die ever year from unsafe conditions between cyclists and vehicles. I am sure that is the sentiment that you shared, just wanted to give my two cents as a cyclist.

  2. The roads I marked have cycle paths to use, but some people prefer to ride on the sidewalks. Admittedly, the cycle lanes are sometimes occupied by parked vehicles and even other cyclists going the wrong way, but my problem is with cyclists who ride the sidewalks just for convenience. They can dismount and walk their bikes when they feel the need.

    Children with small bicycles are allowed to ride on sidewalks, but adults who make up their own rules are a problem … especially those on ebikes who rocket past pedestrians, coming up from behind. It’s startling and hazardous.

  3. Riding on the sidewalk (unless you are a very small person with a very small bike) is against the law in Toronto. The reason for this law is because bicycles on the sidewalk are a danger to pedestrians. The bicycle rider who rides on the sidewalk is actively choosing to put their safety above that of pedestrians. This seems to me to be typical of the sense of entitlement that many bicycle riders seem to have.

    If pedestrians want to be safer they should learn to look left before they step off the curb and get their faces out of their cell phones. That would help a lot. If cyclists want to be safer they should learn to figure out where the blinds spots are on large trucks. That would help a lot. Also, they might consider not using their cellphones while riding (happens all the time). Otherwise, Darwin does his work. If a cyclist genuinely doesn’t feel safe on the street, they might want to consider a different method of transportation.

    Occasionally, life is risky. Revel in it.

    For the record I have been riding bicycles on the streets of Toronto for 66 years.

    • Very accurate description of the problems of busy streets. Communication will be key for resolution. It is said ‘the answer lies in the description of the challenge.’
      AI vehicles appear to be in ‘beta’, as I see them testing the streets. Human response to driving can be more intuitive than autonomous vehicles (if we are paying attention).
      The future will be interesting.
      p.s. (most of Darwin’s stuff was about how cooperation of the species caused them to survive, yet history has focused on mechanism of natural selection.)

  4. My concern is more about society than methodologies. It’s always someone else’s fault. Personal responsibility is a non factor. Who can I blame, who can fix this for me. Why isn’t my life perfect. Doesn’t matter how it affects the rest of society as long as I’m good. Blah, blah, blah…

    Personally I’m tired of this constant whinging. Ninety nine percent of road incidents are avoidable, as long as the participants pay attention to what they are doing. AI, no matter how good the algorithm, cannot overcome inattention and carelessness.

    Yes, the future will be interesting.

  5. Gee, this topic is drawing some good comments. The Traffic Control people seem to have moved past expectations of safe behaviour, in favour of physical barriers. On the cheap (ineffective) side, there are plastic bollards and mid-road speed limit signs. Concrete curbs and channels are effective, but expensive. Asphalt speed humps fall somewhere in the middle … they sort of work and are not too costly. Emergency services don’t like them.

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