The Canada Day long weekend and the end of the school year coincide this weekend making road safety the main priority for all.
The City of Toronto so far this year has 18 pedestrians and three cyclists who were killed in traffic mishaps. In comparison, police reported four cyclists and 36 pedestrians were killed in all of 2017.
“Whether it is riding a bike to a friends house or riding a bike to their job at the mall, there will be significantly more people moving in different patterns than the norm, so drivers have to pay greater attention,” said Brain Patterson, the president and CEO of the Ontario Safety League.
He said one thing the OSL is focusing on this summer is drivers and cyclists.
“The popularity of recreational cycling is increasing year over year,” Patterson said. “So drivers need to take extra care when it comes to cyclists, you’re going to see more cyclists and you need to be aware of them.”
He said there would be more young kids on their bikes, many for the first time as they are gaining their skills and abilities this summer. So it is important to be vigilant and stay off the phones while driving, Patterson said.
Driving requires you to use all your senses, focus on driving
and not answering that text or email. You need all your senses to see everything and anticipate what is happening on the road. #VisionZeroTO #SpaceToCycle #Safety1st pic.twitter.com/ejTaVdX7cD
— TPS Traffic Operations (@TrafficServices) June 11, 2018
While drivers need to be aware, there are precautions pedestrians and cyclists can take as well. The City of Toronto has posted a list of safety tips. The Ministry of Transportation also has its tips.
“Try and walk or ride in single file, be proactive, know the rules, and if you see a driver ahead about to turn assume that they are probably going to block your lane,” Patterson said.
He suggests creating a safety zone for cyclists by giving them lots of room. Motorists must leave a metre of space, or move to the next lane on a two lane street, to let cyclists know that the driver is looking out for their safety.
The OSL said Toronto Police has taken a very aggressive position on speeders and traffic safety this summer and they are using all of their tools to the best of their abilities to keep the roads safe.