Doctors group launches road safety campaign, proposes bike lane extension

 

Article published in Toronto Star September 07, 2018.

A local doctors group launched a campaign on Thursday urging municipal candidates in the upcoming election to commit to road safety initiatives.

“The tragedies involving people who ride a bicycle need to stop,” Dr. Samantha Green, co-founder of Doctors for Safe Cycling, said in a news release. “Fortunately we have a prescription that can bring relief.”

The self-proclaimed non-partisan campaign has been named Doctors’ Prescription for Road Safety. The organization has called on candidates to commit to lower existing speed limits and to build more protected bike lanes across the city. The release added that the lanes should physically separate cyclists and drivers.

“This is not about drivers versus cyclists,” Dr. Jillian Baker, a member of the campaign, said. “This is about making our roads safer for everyone.”

Baker appears in a video that the organization will be circulating to political hopefuls, featuring physicians explaining their recommendations to the specific candidates.

In the news release, the doctors group cited a July Ekos poll, apparently showing that 75 per cent of Toronto drivers support bike lanes. They added that the first step in the bike lane extension would be to build new lanes on Yonge St. and Danforth Ave., and extending the existing ones on Bloor St.

“The solutions are out there and proven as well, it’s not a question,” said Green. “We know that it works and it works better than public education or getting people to wear bike helmets.”

“Bike helmets don’t actually prevent the collisions from occuring, we want to prevent the collisions.”

Toronto has seen a rash of pedestrian and cyclist deaths over the summer, including Dalia Chako, a 58-year-old grandmother who died when a flatbed truck collided with her bicycle at Bloor St. W. and St. George Sts. in June.

“These thoroughfares already have many cyclists,” Green said. “Imagine how many more we’d have if we added protected lanes and made Yonge and Danforth really safe.”