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General cycling issues (Is Toronto bike friendly?)

A van was turning out in front of me and stopped when I rang my bell, so I had hit to the brakes and they never worked better.. My attention had been on a car I went ahead of to get around other parked cars. When I looked forward all I saw was the van in my path. While I thought I had the right of way, there was a stop sign I totally missed until I was half way over the handlebars. The parked cars partially obstructed my sight line of the sign plus the sun was directly above the sign as well. It was a combination of factors causing a freak accident and I blame no one but myself.

I am not trying to preach that everyone needs to wear a helmet. Anything can happen to anyone and a helmet is a cheap insurance plan.

I'm grateful you're here to tell the story!
 
A van was turning out in front of me and stopped when I rang my bell, so I had to hit the brakes and they never worked better.. My attention had been on a car I went ahead of to get around other parked cars. When I looked forward all I saw was the van in my path. While I thought I had the right of way, there was a stop sign I totally missed until I was half way over the handlebars. The parked cars partially obstructed my sight line of the sign plus the sun was directly above the sign as well. It was a combination of factors causing a freak accident and I blame no one but myself.

I am not trying to preach that everyone needs to wear a helmet. Anything can happen to anyone and a helmet is a cheap insurance plan.
Glad to hear your injuries were not worse. You take the blame on yourself, but with proper infrastructure you would not be exposing yourself to that level of conflict with motorized vehicles. I ride on roads but avoid those that have high speeds or large numbers of vehicular conflicts. I can only track so many vehicles when riding defensively.
 
Even in the Netherlands, with its state of the art cycling infrastructure, having all cyclists wear helmets would save many lives, and many more serious injuries. There is obviously a trade-off here between having everyone be safe vs discouraging casual cycling, but even the best infrastructure can't keep everyone safe.

The methodology sounds suspect to me. Applying international data to the Dutch context?

Cycling fatalities are 0.8/100M bicycle kms travelled in NL with good infrastructure, vs 2.1 in the UK with a more helmet oriented safety culture.


Maybe good infrastructure plus helmets is even safer, but that can be a personal risk evaluation for each road user. Making cycling less convenient likely would have second order effects that might offset the safety benefits. I'm sure walking down the street would be much safer if helmets were worn, in the event you are struck by a car.
 
I had a cracked helmet last fall so I tossed it out, honestly thought the spring would come and I would be able to go into a store and try out a new one. There is no way I am ordering a helmet without trying it on.
 
The methodology sounds suspect to me. Applying international data to the Dutch context?

Cycling fatalities are 0.8/100M bicycle kms travelled in NL with good infrastructure, vs 2.1 in the UK with a more helmet oriented safety culture.


Maybe good infrastructure plus helmets is even safer, but that can be a personal risk evaluation for each road user. Making cycling less convenient likely would have second order effects that might offset the safety benefits. I'm sure walking down the street would be much safer if helmets were worn, in the event you are struck by a car.

Helmets for Pedestrians and Motorists

From link.

pedestrianhelmet+-+Copy.JPG

helmetsincars.gif


In Denmark we have the Danish Pedestrians' Union [Dansk Fodgænger Forbund] who do everything they can to fight for the pedestrians rightful place in the traffic.

I figured that with the current fanaticism coming out of the Danish Cyclists' Union, the Danish Traffic Safety Board and the Danish media at large, they would be interested in saving pedestrians' lives, too. It is the logical continuation of their ideology and lack of respect for science.

So I asked the head of the Pedestrians' Union a couple of questions in an email interview:

Question: I can see that the statistics show that pedestrians are at risk from head injury. I can also see that the Danish Traffic Safety Board and Danish Cyclists' Union are currently attempting to promote bike helmets. Does the Danish Pedestrians' Union have plans for promoting helmets for pedestrians so we can reduce the number of injuries in traffic? Pedestrians are at a higher risk than cyclists. Wouldn't it be a good idea?

Answer: Hi, Mikael. No, we haven't considered promoting helmets for pedestrians on the street. There are several reasons [choose freely];

1) We haven't even thought about it.

2) People who are injured in solo-accidents usually get injured in their home instead of the traffic. So people should probably wear helmets in the shower, instead.

3) Our primary goal is to get all the different players in traffic to obey the traffic laws so that traffic accidents become, in theory, impossible.

4) It ruins your hairdo.

5) You can't pull your rain hood over the helmet.

6) We risk changing peoples' attitudes and making it look like it isn't that dangerous to hit pedestrians - "But they have helmets on!"

In the big picture you shouldn't expect us to inconvienence pedestrians with this kind of promotion in order to 'save' them from the stupid mistakes made by drivers/riders of vehicles in traffic.

Actually, I think that motorists would stop hitting pedestrians immediately if it became widely known that pedestrians will explode with a large BANG and scratch the paint job on the car.

Best regards,
 
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In a world of finite policing resources, it literally is 'either or'. If you compare the number of deaths/injuries caused by vehicles to those caused by bikes, there's a pretty strong case for leaving the spandex gangs alone..

In particular for going 'over 20km/ph' in a park, assuming they don't hit anyone or come close to doing so.

If a cyclist is running a red light, I'm entirely open to cracking down on that; or if they doing 45km/ph through a zone with lots of little kids.

But 25 km/ph in High Park is not high up the risky behavior list.
 
In a world of finite policing resources, it literally is 'either or'. If you compare the number of deaths/injuries caused by vehicles to those caused by bikes, there's a pretty strong case for leaving the spandex gangs alone..
I believe these were by-law officers rather than $100k+ TPS, but not sure. But it's a fair point.
 
Yes, yes…. cars need more enforcement, but it needn‘t either or.

Except the official line from the police is literally that it is either-or.

Every single week, people are maimed and killed by drivers, and the police do basically jack shit about it. Fix that first.

EDIT: I see now that @duffo made the point more eloquently, but my frustration/anger is palpable because the TPS is beyond repair and people literally die because of it.
 
As a driver, cyclist, motorcyclist and pedestrian my experience (High Park hijinks aside) is that Torontonians are for the most part moving about without injuring each other and more or less obeying the laws. Which is a good thing considering that I rarely see a TPS officer unless they’re on paid duty. IDK where the 5,000 TPS are all day.

Where TPS is totally dropping the ball is enforcement of the Safe Streets Act and laws against public nuisance, intoxication, littering, vandalism and property theft. Every day now as I walk or drive this city there’s beggars walking down the middle of the road, litter, vandalism and graffiti is everywhere, bikes and parcels are getting stolen, junkies are shooting up in plain sight, etc. This city’s going to hell, and seems to want to end up like Seattle. And a pox on the first person who replies that these are societal or social rather than policing matters - BS, TPS enforce the law and let the courts and the province sort out the fines, sentencing, etc.

As for TPS enforcement of infractions by bicycles, I’d like to see a focus on keeping bikes off sidewalks.
 
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High Park was created in 1876. There no automobiles in Toronto back then. Only people, people on horses, and people on bicycles. The automobile came later, and with them, laws that were directed at the automobile. The stop signs (which should be replaced with yield signs) and speed limits were directed at the automobile, not horses, not bicycles, and not pedestrians. Slowly the laws were altered to include everyone, including pedestrians (who do not stop at stop signs... yet).

(Horses didn't have speedometers on them, back then or now.)
 

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