Ban cyclists from the street

Toronto, the fourth largest city between Canada and the U.S. (obviously the largest in Canada) is notorious for being among the worst when it comes to cyclists riding safely on the road. The city has designated bike lanes on some streets and some research shows that they increase safety among the cyclists, however, that is just putting a band aid on a shotgun wound. If you’re wondering how this is business related, then think of all the law suits emanating from car/cyclist accidents and how city planning has a major impact on the productivity and success of the city’s economy.

Many people on both sides of the argument have very deep feelings on this issue. Cyclists may be even more emotional about it because there are far fewer of them and because in an accident with a car, the driver will likely not be fatally hurt, but the same cannot be said for the cyclist. Most drivers, including myself, have witnessed near accidents or actual accidents between a cyclist and a car on the road. It is said that the majority of these accidents end up being the driver’s fault. The only ways this can true is if the statistics are not looking at all the bike/car accidents, the law is VERY flawed allowing cyclists to do dangerous things on the road or if the law simply favors the cyclist unless it has been proven that the cyclist did something incredibly inexcusable and wrong.

The fact is that most cyclists routinely act as a driver and pedestrian at the same time and switch between the two in an instant depending on their convenience in the moment. They will for instance, ride on the street and when they approach a stop sign they will instantly move to the pedestrian crossing and never actually stop. They also do not stay within their own bike lane very well and will frequently ride on the outside of it or straddle the line. This makes drivers very nervous around bikes and will often lead them to merge in to the next lane, which can cause an accident with nearby cars in that other lane.

The solution to all these problems (and I haven’t even mentioned10% of the issues and scenarios where the cyclist is the culprit, but you get the point) is to ban cyclists from using the roads outright. Instead, bike lanes should made next to the sidewalk (some streets already have this). They would not be close enough to the sidewalk so that a pedestrian would be hit by them, but they would be made between the sidewalk and road and elevated to the sidewalk level. On streets where there is no grass separating the sidewalk and street, they can widen the sidewalk and paint a bike lane there instead of using the road to make one.

Also, laws need to be in place to make cyclists behave like pedestrians at all times. The police needs to enforce these laws strictly because cyclists also make pedestrians nervous and can cause them injury. Above all, cyclists must be prohibited from riding on the road at all times, other than when crossing the street in which case they should only be able to do so in the pedestrian cross walk and must obey street lights.

If these changes are made, we would undoubtedly see a dramatic decrease in bike/car accidents, law suits resulting from this issue and a more smoothly operating city. Hopefully the government gets the courage to make this a reality at some point.