Safer Roads Will Save Cyclists' Lives: Ontario's Doctors

TORONTO, Nov. 30, 2011 /CNW/ - Today Ontario's doctors provided valuable input to Dr. Dan Cass, Regional Supervising Coroner for Toronto-West Region, who is leading an investigation into cycling deaths in the province.  The Ontario Medical Association (OMA) submitted its recently released policy paper, "Enhancing cycling safety in Ontario," to the Coroner's office and encouraged the adoption of several key recommendations.

The most recent data on cycling injuries from the National Trauma Registry shows that there were approximately 1,300 cycling-related hospitalisations in Ontario in the 2009-2010 fiscal year.  With increasing interest in cycling across the province, Ontario's doctors want to ensure people are safe.  A safe environment encourages people to take up cycling and promotes a healthy and active lifestyle. 

Included in the report on cycling safety, Ontario's doctors recommended that:

  • Investments in cycling infrastructure should be made in urban, suburban and rural settings. Urban bike lane networks should be connected so that cyclists aren't left stranded in mixed traffic. Transportation planners in Ontario should be charged with implementing solutions that have been proven in other jurisdictions, with a particular focus on the dangers that intersections pose for cyclists and drivers sharing the road.

  • The Ontario Drivers' Manual should be revised to include a comprehensive section on vehicle-bicycle interaction, and the Ontario's Drive Test should include this in the examination of new drivers.

  • The ongoing delivery of bicycle safety education for young children through such programs as Can-Bike should be supported, and such training should be mandatory for all Ontario primary school students.  Additionally, bike lane and bike path networks should be safe and seamless enough for parents to feel comfortable permitting their children to ride on them.

For the complete list of recommendations from "Enhancing Cycling Safety in Ontario" please visit www.oma.org.

Quotes 

"Cycling is a healthy activity, but the dangers on our roads are a deterrent for many people.  Ontario's doctors are committed to working towards making our roads more inviting and safer for cyclists.  Ontario's doctors are calling on all levels of government to recognize that changes need to be made to make our province a safer place for cyclists."
Stewart Kennedy, MD, President of the Ontario Medical Association 

"Riding a bike is an easy way to be active and live a healthier life, but reports of injuries and fatalities increases the perceived dangers and risk involved with riding a bike. It is crucial that Ontarians increase their physical activity levels, and it's the responsibility of all levels of government to create a safe space for them to do so, including on our province's roads."
Stewart Kennedy, MD, President of the Ontario Medical Association 

Quick Facts 

  • Annually more than 2,000 cyclists are injured in vehicle-bicycle collisions alone;
  • 68 per cent of car-bike collisions happen at intersections and these most frequently involve children riding off of the sidewalk; and
  • In the past five years cycling fatalities have averaged 20 per year in Ontario.
  • In August, 2011, the NDP included the OMA's recommendation regarding the creation of a province-wide cycling infrastructure fund for investments in bicycle lanes, bicycle storage, and bicycle tourism in their provincial platform.


SOURCE Ontario Medical Association

For further information:

OMA Media Relations at (416) 340-2862 or toll-free at 1-800-268-7215 ext. 2862
www.oma.org
@Ontariosdoctors


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