Cars and bikes: learn to coexist on the road

Sunny days are on the way, which is a joy for avid cyclists, who can at last get back on their bikes. It’s also the beginning of the sometimes strained relationships between cyclists and drivers. Sharing the road is a sensitive subject. Quite often the responsibility for accidents is shared between cyclists and drivers. For riders and drivers, sharing the road safely is everybody’s concern. Here are a few pointers for getting along successfully.

Road cyclists can never be too careful

In discussions with drivers, they sometime say that cyclists are at fault for accidents. So here are a few reminders for cyclists:

  • Keep visible at all times: It’s the rider’s responsibility to ensure that cars see them when they’re on the road. Gear up with reflectors and active lighting (a white light on the front and red in back) when riding at night. And when you pedal in the day, don’t hesitate to where colourful clothes. The one rule to keep in mind is this: the more visible you are, the safer you are.
  • Follow the sense of direction: This may seem obvious, but riding against the flow of traffic is a frequent cause of accidents on both two-way and one-way streets. The sense of direction applies equally to bikes and cars, so don’t do what you would never find yourself doing behind the wheel of a car.
  • Respect the Code of the Road: This means stopping at red lights! Even if the path looks clear. Nobody is insusceptible to slight inattention or misjudging vehicles that arrive faster than anticipated.
  • Make bike paths your priority choice: As bike paths are made for cyclists, they are safer than main streets, so use them as much as possible. Before heading out on the road, consult a map for the bike paths in your city.
  • Get yourself a mirror: A bike mirror helps you confirm if a vehicle or another cyclist is coming up behind you, keeping you more aware and able to adapt your riding as a result.
  • Establish eye contact: Always try to make visual contact with car drivers around you to ensure that they see you and understand your intentions.
  • Invest in a GPS for bikes: Have you heard of SmartHalo? Developed in Montreal, this smart device guides cyclists around town easily and intuitively.

In the driver’s seat, stay alert at all times

In discussions with cyclists about sharing the road, they most often bring up their feelings of not really being considered by drivers, and therefore not truly safe. So here are a few recommendations for drivers:

  • Keep the potential presence of cyclists in mind: Quick, smaller and quieter than cars, it may not always be obvious that a cyclist is near. Always keep it in mind that a cyclist may appear at any moment.
  • Be attentive: Check your mirrors and always signal before turning. Be just as attentive when opening your door and check your blind spot when turning to ensure that the way is clear.
  • Keep your distance: If you pass a cyclist, make sure to keep a distance of at least one metre beside them.
  • Slow down at intersections: Check to the left and right even if the light is green. You can never be too cautious.
  • Be courteous and patient: Bicycles are more fragile than cars, so let cyclists pass, particularly when it’s raining or snowing.
  • Use the “Dutch Reach” when opening the door: This technique, taught during driver’s tests in Holland, consists of opening the door with the right hand. This basically forces the driver to make a rotational movement that allows them to take a glance behind them. This way, they can see if a cyclist is coming from behind.

On the road, it’s up to everyone to be responsible, as one moment of inattention can cost the life of a driver or rider. Being cautious and courteous and communicating your intentions clearly makes all the difference.

One act at a time, the city is becoming more safe and secure for everybody.

Did you know that bicycles are covered by home insurance? Don’t hesitate to contact us to find out more! 

Source: www.belairdirect.com

 

Quebec – 2017 Worst Roads Campaign – And the “winners” are…

QUEBEC CITY, May 16, 2017 /CNW Telbec/ – For the third year in a row, road users have spoken, voting in large numbers to draw up a list of the 10 worst roads in Quebec: the “winner” for 2017 is a stretch of rural road in the Laurentians. Once again, motorists, motorcyclists, cyclists and pedestrians have proved quite eloquently that they are intent on travelling on roads that are in good, safe condition.

The Top 10

 

Rank

Road

Municipality

Administrative region

1.

Chemin Kilmar*

Grenville-sur-la-Rouge

Laurentides

2.

Chemin Newton

Mascouche

Lanaudière

3.

Boulevard Gouin East*

Montreal

Montreal

4.

Rue Principale

Sainte-Julie

Montérégie

5.

Montée du Bois-Franc*

Saint-Adolphe-d’Howard

Laurentides

6.

Avenue D’Estimauville

Quebec City

Capitale-Nationale

7.

Chemin Saint-Thomas*

Sainte-Thècle

Mauricie

8.

Chemin Brunelle

Carignan

Montérégie

9.

Traverse de Laval*

Lac-Beauport

Capitale-Nationale

10.

Route du Portage

La Martre

Gaspésie–Îles-de-la-Madeleine

 

Nearly 10,000 reports
Thousands of reports were posted from early April to early May by motorists, motorcyclists, cyclists and pedestrians, all of whom wished to sent a clear message to authorities.

“The Worst Roads campaign is much more than a way for road users to let off steam!” says Sophie Gagnon, CAA-Quebec’s Vice President, Communications and Public Affairs. “It’s a one-of-a-kind opportunity to make a real difference. Last year, for example, 9 of the 10 roads on our list were subsequently repaired or included in a medium- or long-term roadworks plan.”

“Repeat offenders”
Clearly, though, in the eyes of many of those who took part in the campaign, that isn’t enough. A number of the roads that made the 2017 Top 10 list (those marked with an asterisk in the table) had already rated a mention in 2015 or 2016. The message from voters is, authorities obviously need to pick up the slack. And one is left to wonder why these particular stretches of road remain on the list.

One such case is Chemin Kilmar in Grenville-sur-la-Rouge, this year’s top finisher, with more than a thousand votes. This road led from start to finish during this year’s campaign, thanks to mobilization by users.

Montreal and Quebec City are well represented
No fewer than four of the Top 10 roads are in Montreal and its vicinity. They include Boulevard Gouin East: in this case, one committed citizen practically organized an election campaign to ensure her “favourite” dilapidated artery made the list.

In the Quebec City region, Avenue D’Estimauville and Traverse de Laval were singled out for their “minefields” of potholes. On Traverse de Laval, which connects the municipality of Lac-Beauport with Sainte-Brigitte-de-Laval, certain measures have already been taken to remedy the situation.

The regions aren’t left out
The Laurentides, Gaspésie and Mauricie regions are all represented on this year’s “wall of shame.” Regional rankings are available for all regions where a significant number of votes was logged.

“You’ll be hearing from us”
Each of the cities that placed a stretch of road in the Top 10 has been notified in writing, with multiple follow-ups to be conducted in the months to come. CAA-Quebec plans to make sure that citizens’ messages are heard, and will monitor authorities’ intentions regarding improvements to be made to the roads on its list.

In 6 months’ time, CAA-Quebec will publish a summary report of work done or investments announced, which will reveal whether authorities have in fact been listening to Quebecers. To read what’s been happening with top finishers in previous Worst Roads campaigns, go here.

CAA-Quebec conducts this annual campaign as a way to give voice to road users and allow them to express priorities. “With motorists paying some $3 billion per year in taxes of various kinds, we all have the right to roads that are in decent condition. It’s a matter of big money, but also a matter of safety,” Ms. Gagnon concludes.

About CAA-Quebec
CAA-Quebec, a not-for-profit organization, provides all of its members with peace of mind by offering them high-quality automotive, travel, residential and insurance benefits, products and services.

SOURCE CAA-Québec

VPD Steps Up Enforcement in Support of Roadside Worker Safety

Today, the Vancouver Police Department is partnering with the Work Zone Safety Alliance and WorkSafeBC to kick off the seventh annual B.C. Cone Zone Campaign with an enforcement blitz at a roadside worksite on Burrard Street in Vancouver. Last year, one roadside worker died on the job and 21 were injured and missed time at work.

The B.C. Cone Zone Campaign coincides with the increase in roadside work throughout the province in the warmer months of the year. In the City of Vancouver, major road construction and repair projects will be as much as 25 percent greater than the same period in 2016.

Cone Zones are work areas set up by roadside workers to protect themselves and the driving public. Workers at risk include traffic-control persons, tow-truck operators, first responders and machine operators who work alongside or on roads in close proximity to traffic. Between 2007 and 2016, 15 roadside workers were killed and 229 were injured and missed time from work as a result of being hit by a motor vehicle.

“We want to remind drivers to slow down, pay attention to instructions from roadside workers, abide by temporary road signs and leave their phones alone,” says Trina Pollard, Manager of Industry and Labour Services, WorkSafeBC. “Every roadside worker deserves to make it home to their family at the end of their shift without injury.”

Employers have a legal responsibility to ensure the health and safety of their workers and are required to train and supervise their workers. Roadside workers can engage in safe work by:

  • Knowing how to identify hazards and assess risks
  • Following safe work procedures
  • Following set-up and take-down regulations
  • Wearing appropriate high-visibility garments
  • Reporting unsafe work conditions to their supervisor

Major projects underway during the 2017 spring and summer months include the Mountain Highway Interchange Project in North Vancouver, Hwy 91 at 72nd Ave. Interchange Project in Delta, Road Resurfacing on Highway H19 in the Campbell River area and the Burrard Corridor Infrastructure Upgrade in Vancouver.

Employers and workers can access online tools and resources at www.conezonebc.com and www.worksafebc.com/conezone.

About the Work Zone Safety Alliance:

The Cone Zone campaign is a joint provincial initiative supported by organizations committed to improving the safety of roadside workers. They are Ambulance Paramedics of B.C., Automotive Retailers Association, BCAA, B.C. Construction Safety Alliance, B.C. Flagging Association, B.C. Landscape and Nursery Association, B.C. Municipal Safety Association, B.C. Road Builders and Heavy Construction Association, City of Prince George, City of Surrey, Government of B.C., International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 258, Insurance Corporation of B.C., Justice Institute of British Columbia, LiUNA Local 1611, RCMP, SafetyDriven, Telus, Lower Mainland Police and WorkSafeBC.

About WorkSafeBC:

WorkSafeBC is an independent provincial statutory agency governed by a board of directors that serves about 2.3 million workers and more than 225,000 employers. WorkSafeBC was born from the historic compromise between B.C.’s workers and employers in 1917 where workers gave up the right to sue their employers and fellow workers for injuries on the job in return for a no-fault insurance program fully paid for by employers. WorkSafeBC is committed to safe and healthy workplaces and to providing return-to-work rehabilitation and legislated compensation benefits.

SOURCE Road Safety At Work

Road safety is something that everybody should take seriously

Road safety is something that everybody should take seriously

By Karl Grey | Zurich

Each year, about 1,250,000 people become victims of fatal traffic accidents, and 50 million are injured or become disabled as a result of an accident on the road.

Besides representing a humanitarian crisis, road accidents have a significant impact on society and the insurance sector.

With more than a billion vehicles covered worldwide, insurers are directly affected by road traffic crashes. The frequency and severity of claims affect insurers’ revenues. Reducing the number of collisions is a matter of significant importance for insurers.

Together with the Global Road Safety Partnership (GRSP), AXA and Nestlé, Zurich co-authored the report ‘Insurance Guide on Road Safety.’ These are the most important findings:

  • Road collisions cost the global economy about USD 1.855 trillion per year, which corresponds to between 1 and 3 percent of individual countries’ gross domestic product (GDP). In some countries, for example, South Africa and Uganda, where road crashes are a crucial challenge, they can cost up to 10 percent of GDP.
  • Approximately 91 percent of the world’s collisions happen in lower-middle-income countries, where third-party motor liability coverage is often not obligatory.
  • Fatality rates are more than twice as high in Africa (26.6 fatalities per 100,000 people) than in Europe (9.3 fatalities per 100,000 people). Yet insurers spend USD 100 billion to compensate the victims of road collisions in Europe; by contrast the figure is less than one-tenth that in Africa (USD 7 billion).

Insurers are natural road safety advocates, having a real reason to reduce risks that cause them, and the means to encourage safer driving.

“With 1.25 million people killed in road traffic collisions every year, and at least 50 million people seriously injured, road safety is something that everybody – road users, companies, governments and society – should take seriously,” says Karl Gray, Global Head of Casualty and Motor at Zurich Insurance Company. “At Zurich we are passionate about road safety and we’re proud to be part of the ‘Insurance for Safer Roads’ initiative.”

“Road safety should not be seen as competitive, so we are pleased to be involved in this important partnership with our fellow insurer AXA, along with one of our longest standing customers, Nestlé, and the GRSP. The insurance industry has a key role to play in improving road safety, and we look forward to welcoming more insurers and insurance brokers to this initiative. If we all work together, we can make a real difference to the safety of our customers – and we can help to achieve the ambitious road safety targets in the sustainable development goals of the United Nations.”

Avoid driving in flooded areas and respect the power of water, ICBC advises

Avoid driving in flooded areas and respect the power of water, ICBC advises

With the threat of more flooding in parts of B.C. this week, ICBC is urging drivers to be cautious in and around flooded areas.

ICBC recommends finding a safe location on high ground for the temporary storage of vehicles and seasonal vehicles such as motor homes, trailers or snowmobiles located in low-lying areas that may be subject to flooding. Customers must ensure that vehicles are properly licensed and insured before they’re operated on any road or highway. Customers can purchase temporary operation permits from any Autoplan broker. Do not store valuable goods or household items in your vehicle as these items are not covered by vehicle insurance.

Here are ICBC’s top tips for drivers in and around flooded areas:

  • Floodwaters can quickly wash out roads and bridges. That’s why it’s important to be prepared and plan out an alternative route in case the road you want to use is closed. Check drivebc.ca for the latest road conditions and Emergency Info BC for up-to-date flood information.

  • If you find yourself on a road that’s flooded or marked closed, don’t continue. Turn around and use another route.

  • If you have no choice but to drive into water, drive slowly and cautiously. Watch carefully for signs of a moving current that may impact the safety of the road ahead. Respect the power of water.

  • Think about what you can’t see – hazards such as submerged trees or downed powerlines that may be in the water. If in doubt, don’t proceed.

  • After driving through deep water, always test your brakes. They may pull to one side of the other or they may not work at all. You can dry the brakes by driving slowly and applying brake pressure lightly. Other parts such as emergency brake cables, axels and electronic components should be dried and checked by a qualified professional as soon as possible.

  • If your vehicle stalls on a flooded stretch of road, be prepared to abandon it and retreat to higher ground.

  • Don’t try to retrieve vehicles from flooded areas until it’s safe. Wait for the water to recede.

  • If your vehicle’s engine has even been partially immersed in flood water, don’t try to start it. Qualified professionals should check all operating systems and fluid levels to prevent possible future problems.

ICBC’s optional comprehensive or specified perils coverage provides customers with protection for vehicle damage caused by rising water. Customers can report a claim online at icbc.com or by calling ICBC’s Dial-a-Claim at 604-520-8222 or 1-800-910-4222.

If you’ve been placed on evacuation alert, take a few minutes to pack all of your important documents including your B.C. driver’s licence and/or B.C. services card/B.C. identification card, passport, original birth certificate, marriage certificate and Canadian citizenship document. Protecting these valuable documents will spare you from having to replace them.  It’s also a good idea to have a copy of your vehicle registration and Autoplan insurance policy.

As it’s national Emergency Preparedness Week, now’s a good time for drivers to make sure they have an emergency kit in their vehicles, especially when travelling on longer trips.

Media contact

Sam Corea
604-982-2480

Documents show many cities are wary of mapping flood risks, making data public

By Jordan Press

THE CANADIAN PRESS

OTTAWA _ When municipal officials were told last year about new tools to help them map the risk of flooding in their communities, they immediately raised red flags, suggesting they wanted no part of it over concerns about legal liability and political backlash.

Details contained in internal government reports echo a narrative across the country that show just how wary some city leaders have been about mapping and publicizing flood risks in their communities.

As one municipal official put it, they fear releasing the information would force them to use the Tim Hortons drive-up window to avoid the ire of those inside the restaurant.

The stance has mystified insurance industry representatives and local leaders who have been pushing municipalities to use new mapping tools to identify risk areas and make that information public.

“The big business case for this is we can all pay a lot more for insurance and experience the disruption, or we can invest in the infrastructure and experience less disruption to the economy and to families and lower insurance premiums,” said Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson, head of FCM’s big city mayors’ caucus.

“We can learn from these disasters and actually model out where it would make sense to get ahead of the problem.”

The questions about what local officials don’t know and why they don’t want to know it have been raised anew with flood waters overwhelming communities in Quebec and Ontario.

The Insurance Bureau of Canada created a mapping tool to figure out where there was the greatest risk of flooding, either from rising waters or overwhelming rainfall. A Calgary-based company, Tesera, is in the process of getting it ready for wider distribution.

At a session on disaster-proofing communities at the Federation of Canadian Municipalities conference last June, some delegates appeared to want nothing to do with the mapping tool.

A report from officials at Infrastructure Canada said that a delegate from one city worried that mapping flood risk could reduce property values in flood-prone areas where infrastructure solutions weren’t feasible. Another said local governments are reluctant to map flood risks because they could be liable for damages, “and they may not have the public or political support for infrastructure investments,” the report said.

The Canadian Press obtained a copy of the report under the Access to Information Act.

Craig Stewart, vice-president federal affairs for the Insurance Bureau of Canada, said local leaders were concerned about releasing the maps publicly, fearing owners of high-risk homes would take out their anger on local officials.

“However, it’s our opinion that people have a right to know their risk and in fact, Canadians should be educated about flood risk so that they can make the right decisions on how to defend themselves against it,” Stewart said.

The federal government has pledged cash for risk assessments and new infrastructure construction, hoping to nudge cities into making better decisions about what projects they need and how badly they need them done.

As well, this year’s federal budget earmarked $2 billion over 11 years, the vast majority of it to be spent after 2021, in the Liberal infrastructure program to help disaster-proof the communities. A further $281 million over 11 years is set aside for projects that help communities adapt to climate change.

The amounts won’t meet all the needs to protect communities from flooding: Edmonton, for instance, estimates it would require $2.5 billion in new infrastructure to reduce flooding risks over the next 50 years.

There is never going to be enough federal money to cover all the infrastructure needs cities have, but the funding is “more than we had before,” said Halifax Mayor Mike Savage.

“If you don’t adapt and if you don’t show resiliency, then you’re going to be in trouble. So I’m glad that the feds have identified that this is a necessity,” said Savage, whose city has mapped flood risks inland and along its coast line.

“When it comes to climate change, sticking your head in the sand is not the right solution.”

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