Active transportation coordinator Adam Krupper says city is on the right track when it comes to improving safety for cyclists and pedestrians.
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More needs to be done on the federal and provincial levels to increase safety for pedestrians and cyclists, says the city’s active transportation coordinator.
The World Health Organization recently released a report on global road safety that states Canada is falling behind when it comes to the safety of its cyclists and pedestrians.
While the country promotes active transportation, there are few policies in place to enforce safety, the report says.
The City of Thunder Bay’s active transportation coordinator Adam Krupper says that every major municipality in Canada is implementing policies and plans to improve infrastructure and education for cyclists and motorists, but those municipalities aren’t receiving any support provincially or federally.
“We don’t have policies to enforce it and we don’t have money to help us as municipality to implement safer measures,” he said.
Krupper said last year in Ontario an independent bill was brought forward to create a one-metre shoulder on all highways in the province; that shoulder would greatly increase safety for cyclists riding on those roads.
“That bill was shot down,” he said. “It never passed. That shows on the provincial level there isn’t the political will to improve safety for cyclists.”
Most interactions between motorists and pedestrians and cyclists happen in municipalities so the onus to improve safety is on the city, said Krupper.
However, provincial legislation, like the Ontario Highway Traffic Act, has a profound effect on what a municipality can do.
In Ontario, unless at a pedestrian crossing, motor vehicles always have the right of way and Krupper said that ups the danger factor for pedestrians.
“Motorists aren’t going to yield the right of way because they don’t have to. It’s not their legal responsibility and if a driver does stop … because they’re not supposed to do that, they’re obstructing traffic,” he said.
As a municipality, Thunder Bay is on the right track, added Krupper.
The city is constantly looking at ways to improve sidewalk connections, add more bike lanes and pedestrian crossings like the recently installed crossing on Oliver Road by the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre.
Krupper said they have urban design guidelines that were approved by council that look at how they can make complete streets.
“Streets that aren’t just designed for cars, but that are designed for cars, cyclists, pedestrians and transit. Let’s make our roads functional for everybody,” he said.
Some work Krupper would like to see done federally or provincially to improve active transportation safety includes adding more information into driver training about how to drive the roads with cyclists and to see more training for cyclists, specifically integrated into school curriculum.
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