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Crackdown on Sidewalk Cycling ignores Cause of Problem

This is another case of treating the symptoms rather than the cause of a problem.

According to the Star, there are plans to “crack down” on cyclists riding on sidewalks:

Cycling on the sidewalk has become “a huge issue” in cities across the province within the last five years. But the laws governing it are inconsistent and moves to update them have been slow.

“There isn’t enough teeth in the law,” said Sgt. Angelo Costa, the traffic sergeant in 31 Division where the incident occurred. “All I can do is stop a cyclist, he has to identify himself to me and I can give him a ticket. There isn’t anything else . . . that’s going to change his behaviour.”

In January, Toronto’s public works committee recommended that council work on a strategy to get cyclists off the sidewalks.

The police services board then discussed the issue in July and sent a report on harmonizing and enforcing sidewalk cycling bylaws back to the committee.

This is all fine and good… let’s increase the fines for sidewalk cycling.

However, this entire Star article (plus most discussions of this issue) ignores the cause of sidewalk cycling… that cyclists (especially in the old boroughs and suburbs of Toronto) do not feel safe on the road because:

  1. there is NO cycling infrastructure
  2. posted speed limits for cars are often 80 km/h… and most cars do far above that, usually close to 100 km/h.

As a result, most cyclists in these areas take the sidewalk because it’s safer, and the sidewalks are mostly deserted because hardly anyone actually uses the sidewalks in the old boroughs and suburbs.

If you’re going to crack down on sidewalk cyclists, at least give them a safe alternative.

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