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Office of the Chief Coroner for Ontario, “Cycling Death Review” recommendations reflect progressive transportation vision


See VIDEO below, “TEDxCarlton – Gil Penalosa – Creating 8-80 Cities, from thinking to doing” – in this writers opinion, the point of the recommendations in this Coroner’s Report is to arrive at something close to what Gil Penalosa lays out in this TedXCarlton Talk.


The motto of the Coroner is to ‘Speak for the Dead to Protect the Living’.

It is difficult therefore to pick out the positive elements in this report – that is by necessity – about 129 deaths of cyclists over the period – it’s a statistical break down of those who died: children out playing; adults riding casually; groups of cyclists hit by a car; commuters dying on the way to work – what time of day they died, what caused their deaths… .

So of coarse the second part of the coroners motto, ‘to protect the living‘, is where the hope is – and the hope is a vision that the recommendations try to capsulize – and in this cycling advocate’s opinion, they are very good recommendations; and a very good vision. It’s not new; it’s the New Urbanism school; it’s the Complete Streets meme; it’s Sustainable Transportation; it’s Livable Cities.


Office of the Chief Coroner for Ontario: 

Cycling Death Review
A Review of All Accidental Cycling Deaths in Ontario from January 1st, 2006 to December 31st, 2010

Dan Cass BSc, MD, FRCPC
Deputy Chief Coroner – Investigations
Office of the Chief Coroner for Ontario
Chair, Cycling Death Review
Team: Dr. Dan Cass as Chair, Dr. Bert Lauwers, Dr. Nav Persaud, Ms. Dorothy Zwolakowski and Ms. Emily Coleman
Published: June 2012


• 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.

• Strategies to promote and support helmet use for cyclists of all ages.

• Implementation of mandatory helmet legislation for cyclists of all ages, within the context of an evaluation of the impact of this legislation on cycling activity.

• Establishment of a “one-meter” rule for vehicles when passing cyclists.

• Prioritizing the development of paved shoulders on provincial highways.

• Mandatory side-guards for heavy trucks.

• Enforcement, education and public safety activities targeted to the specific issues of cycling safety identified in a given community.


The mass media a glommed onto the 6th of the recommendations, “Implementation of mandatory helmet legislation for cyclists of all ages…” to the exclusion of all the others – the others that are key to preventing death and injury, preventing 1,500 car / bike collisions per year in Toronto – and the key to increasing cycling numbers that will go a long way to solving traffic congestion crisis, the global warming crisis, the obesity crisis and … the economic crisis!

In a few words it is Dialectical Urban Planning.

The mass media’s distillation of the report is an old metric of easy answers at a time when the car – as the geopolitical centre of an economic universe, the basis of the post World War II economy – is over-represented in every aspect of our culture – where in, the oppressor culture fixates on a mandatory helmet law – that when taken separate from the whole of the list of recommendations – serves not to reduce death and injury – but rather, to blame victims for their lot.

Here’s a great essay on these things from the editors of the Kitchener Waterloo Record, from Friday June 22, 2012:


Helmets not the only answer

Humans naturally crave quick and easy fixes for tough problems, and this holds true whether the human is pedalling a bicycle or driving a car.

No surprise, then, that this week’s release of a report on bicycling deaths by the office of Ontario’s chief coroner sparked heated demands for a new law forcing every cyclist in the province — regardless of age — to wear a helmet.

The coroner’s report recommends precisely this change and a public debate on such legislation would surely be timely. Yet the report’s call to action includes so much more than just a mandatory helmet law that it would be wrong, in fact needlessly distracting, to focus on this issue alone. Too many people are doing this.

The public deludes itself if it thinks a tough new helmet law will suddenly end all the dangers cyclists face on the road or that the passage of such a new rule will free us to move onto other matters, confident our roads are safer. Not so. It might be quick and easy. But it would hardly confer the armour of invincibility on those who mount a bicycle for fun, recreation or a commute.

In fact, to read the Cycling Death Review of 129 fatal accidents involving cyclists in Ontario over a five-year period ending in 2010 is to reach a far different conclusion. Major changes, extensive changes, very expensive changes are needed in how this province builds its transportation networks.

Read the rest at ––helmets-not-the-only-answer


One of the contributors to this Coroners Report was “8-80 Cities”.

8-80 Cities is a non-profit organization based in Toronto. 8-80 references the idea that (from the website), “If you create a city that’s good for an 8 year old and good for an 80 year old, you will create a successful city for everyone.” (

In this video below the idea is laid out beautifully by Gil Penalosa of 8-80 Cities, at TEDXCarlton – Melbourne Australia, Feb 16, 2011 (

TEDxCarlton – Gil Penalosa – Creating 8-80 Cities, from thinking to doing




Office of the Chief Coroner for Ontario: Cycling Death Review | (pdf)

The Record (Kitchener/Waterloo) | Helmets not the only answer |–helmets-not-the-only-answer

Youtube Channel, TEDxTalks | TEDxCarlton – Gil Penalosa – Creating 8-80 Cities, from thinking to doing (Feb 21, 2011) |

8-80 Cities |

New Urbanism |



Share the Road (Canada) | Alan Medcalf | Linked-in discussion: “Coroner’s report is out” |*1_*1_*1_*1_*1_*1_*1_*1_*1_*1_*1_*1_*1_*1_*1_*1_*1_*1_*1_*1_*1.gmp_3788901

..via Linked-in Profile, Christina Bouchard – Assistant Planner – Communications at City of Toronto | Groups and Associations |

City of Toronto Bicycle/Motor-Vehicle Collision Study, 2003 | Works and Emergency Services Department – Transportation Services Division – Transportation Infrastructure Management Section | Executive Summary (page 6) |



Posted: August 8th, 2012
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