RoadSafety: Canadian kindness ends at street level in Toronto

In Toronto, the battle for space on the street amongst pedestrians, cyclists, motorists and drivers can be heated. Because, let’s face it: we Canadians may be known for our polite ways, but that ends at street level in Toronto. A lack of empathy, compounded by low awareness of the rules of the road, seems to be at the core of the issue.

Passion for space on the streets is justified, of course: in 2016, for example, 171 pedestrians and 42 cyclists were killed or seriously injured in a collision with a motor vehicle and 145 drivers were killed or seriously injured due to aggressive and distracted driving1. While there is considerable effort underway towards improving road safety, such as Toronto’sambitious Vision Zero road safety plan, the numbers say we all need to do more.

That’s why RSA Canada is calling for a truce.

On June 2, RSA Canada, one of Canada’s leading property and casualty insurers, will be officially launching TruceTO, an initiative which aims to bring harmony to the debate around street safety in Toronto. The goal behind TruceTO is to make Toronto one of the first cities in North America to officially call a truce between pedestrians, cyclists, motorists and drivers.

A recent survey commissioned by RSA Canada2, found:

  • 50 per cent of Toronto pedestrians and drivers admit they don’t always know when cyclists have the right of way
  • 33 per cent of cyclists report seeing an unfamiliar road sign recently
  • More than 75 per cent of street users across the board agreed that road rage is a serious issue in Toronto

As such, education is also a key focus of this initiative. The central hub at www.truceto.com will house a variety of informative and engaging content through the year, in infographic, podcast and video format.

“The success of any street safety program is determined by a reduction in injuries and fatalities, through influencing policy change and road infrastructure,” said Donna Ince, Senior Vice President for Personal Insurance at RSA Canada. “However, it is important in the short-term to turn the heat down in the ongoing debate among the city’s road users. That is why we are taking on the unique role as a mediator to unite Torontonians based on their shared desire for – and right to – safer streets.”

The survey also revealed that more than 70 per cent of pedestrians, cyclists and drivers agree that they collectively play a role to improve safety on our street. By calling a truce between all road users, RSA wants to take the antagonistic discussion off the streets and give Canadians an opportunity to share their thoughts and opinions on better sharing the road.

“As providers of auto insurance, RSA has a vested interest in road safety as a whole,” added Ince. “That said, in order to be productive and create real change, the conversation around street use needs to shift away from victim-blaming and towards a multi-lateral, action-oriented discussion.”

RSA Canada invites all Torontonians to the TruceTO launch event scheduled for June 2 at 464 King Street West (King Street West and Spadina Avenue) between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Those who can’t make it to the event are still welcome to take the pledge to be a better road sharer at www.truceto.com and by using #TruceTO on social posts. Attendees will also have the chance to participate in a driving simulation provided by DriveWise, a leading Canadian driving school, where they can quite literally, put themselves in the driver’s seat to better understand and better navigate our changing streets – bike lanes, construction zones and pedestrian crossings, to name a few. TruceTO aligns with RSA’s corporate purpose of Making Life Better Together and supports its Corporate Responsibility Safe, Secure World pillar, which focuses on safeguarding our customers from everyday risks. To learn more about RSA Canada’s corporate social responsibility, visit https://www.rsagroup.ca/about-us/corporate-responsibility/our-corporate-responsibility-journey.

About RSA:

With a 300-year heritage, RSA is a multinational quoted insurance group. Focusing on general insurance, RSA’s core markets are the UK & Ireland, Scandinavia and Canada, with the capability to write insurance business across the globe.  RSA’s core businesses have approximately 13,500 employees with net written premiums of £6.3bn in 2016.

About RSA Canada:

The RSA Canada group of companies includes Roins Financial Services Limited, Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Company of Canada, Quebec Assurance Company, Johnson Inc., Unifund Assurance Company, Western Assurance Company, Ascentus Insurance Ltd., Canadian Northern Shield Insurance Company and RSA Travel Insurance Inc. (collectively, “RSA Canada”) and is part of a group of companies headed by RSA Insurance Group Plc. RSA Canada employs more than 3,000 people across Canada and is one of the oldest insurance companies in the country with roots dating back to 1833.

©2016 Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Company of Canada. All rights reserved. RSA, RSA & Design and related words and logos are trademarks and the property of RSA Insurance Group plc, licensed for use by Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Company of Canada. RSA is a trade name of Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Company of Canada.

Toronto Police Service Public Service Data Portal

According to a survey of 1,560 Canadians conducted between December 15 and 22, 2017 by Maru/Matchbox, with a margin of error of +/- 2.6%, 19 times out of 20

SOURCE RSA Canada

These are Ontario’s Worst Roads for 2018

These are Ontario’s Worst Roads for 2018

By Kelly Roche  Source: inbrampton
The votes are in, and Ontario’s Worst Road for 2018 isn’t too far from home.

What Happens When A Cyclist Gets a Traffic Ticket?

Source: kanetix.ca

June is Bike Month in Ontario, and as more people put down their car keys and take to their bicycles, some cyclists may be surprised to learn that they can be ticketed for traffic offences, just like drivers, and face the same fines.

Cycling season is here, and according to the province, around 1.2 million adults in Ontario ride a bicycle daily during the spring, summer and fall, and 2.8 million people ride a bike at least once a week. Cycling is increasingly popular, and as more people choose to cycle, some may be surprised to learn that they can also earn a traffic ticket for not following the rules of the road; much in the same way they could if they were driving a car.

A bicycle is a vehicle

Cyclists do not need to register or plate their bicycle, and they don’t have to have a driver’s licence or auto insurance. However, under Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act, a bicycle is a vehicle just like a car, truck or motorcycle. As a result, riders must heed the same rules of the road—as well as some laws that are specific to bikes—or risk getting pulled over and fined.

What types of tickets can a cyclist get?

In general, any ticket a driver can get under Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act, a cyclist can get too. A cyclist can be ticketed for failing to stop at a red light or stop sign, going the wrong way on a one-way street, failing to signal, failing to stop for a school bus, and even careless, to name just a few examples. The fines are essentially the same as well: whether on a bike or in a car, you’ll have to pay the set fine, plus the victim fine surcharge and court costs too. For example, an $85 fine for disobeying a stop sign, will actually cost you around $110 in the end.

There are also traffic tickets that are specific to cyclists. For example, you can get a ticket for:

  • Not outfitting your bicycle with proper lighting: Cyclists must have proper lights, reflective materials and reflectors on their bicycles and failing to have these could result in a ticket with a set fine of $85.
  • Riding a bicycle that does not have a working bell: All bicycles must be equipped with a working bell or horn so you can alert other riders, drivers and pedestrians on your presence, if needed. The set fine for this ticket is $85.
  • Riding double: Riding double, on a bicycle built for one, could also net you a ticket for $85.

Many municipalities also have their own specific bylaws that, if not followed, could lead to a ticket for riders. Toronto, for example, has a bylaw in place that stipulates, “no person age 14 and older may ride a bicycle on a sidewalk”. The fine for riding a bicycle on a sidewalk is $60.

Pulled over while cycling, now what?

Unlike driving, you’re not required to carry identification when cycling. But, that doesn’t mean you can get out of a ticket if you happen to get pulled over. If you are not carrying any identification, you are required to provide the officer with your correct name and address. Being evasive or lying about who you are, could earn you another ticket at best (for failing to identify yourself), or in the worst-case scenario, arrest.

Do bike infractions come with demerit points?

They’re not supposed to, because even though a bicycle is a vehicle, it is not a motor vehicle; an important distinction when it comes to demerit points. Any ticket you get while cycling should not result in demerit points added to your driver’s licence.

Of course, mistakes happen, as one Toronto-area cyclist learned last year. After paying his ticket for running a red light on his bike, months later he learned that three demerit points were added to his driving record in error. If you should get a ticket while cycling, review it before leaving to make sure it is listed as a cycling infraction and not a motor vehicle infraction. Otherwise, you may have to fight the ticket in court.

Do cycling infractions affect your auto insurance?

Again, no, they shouldn’t. If the ticket is recorded as a cycling infraction, any ticket you get while cycling should not affect your auto insurance coverage.

“Bicycle infractions are not applied to the driving record,” confirms Ministry of Transportation (Ontario) spokesman Bob Nichols in an email exchange with Kanetix.ca. “If the officer states on the ticket that a bicycle was used, the convicting court does not send the information to the Ministry of Transportation.”

Since the ticket wouldn’t (or shouldn’t) be on your driving record, it would not affect your premiums.

Avoid getting a ticket, and ride—and drive—safely.

Road safety is enhanced, when everyone—cyclists, drivers and pedestrians—are predictable, and by following the rules of the road we can all get to where we want to go, safely and ticket-free.

ICBC speakers connecting with Southern Interior youth this grad season

ICBC’s road safety speaker, Kevin Brooks, is touring the Southern Interior to share his personal, heart-wrenching story with local high school students during graduation season to remind them of the importance of making smart driving decisions.

From his wheelchair, Kevin tells the story of how he lost his friend one Saturday night while driving drunk. He has inspired tens of thousands of young people who follow him and his story on his blog and social media channels.

Emergency room physician, Dr. Graham Dodd, will also be touring the region speaking about his first-hand experience to help youth understand the real, devastating effects of crashes.

During graduation season from April to June in the Southern Interior, on average, 1,000 crashes occur involving young drivers and 254 youth are injured.*

“Young drivers tend to be inexperienced, over-confident and take more risks behind the wheel,” said John Nepomuceno, ICBC road safety program manager. “Our speakers share their stories to get teens reflecting on the dangers of taking risks behind the wheel and help them make safer choices.”

ICBC is committed to supporting youth in developing strong decision-making skills on the road to help prevent crashes and save lives. Over the past two decades, ICBC’s road safety speakers have been sharing their stories with approximately 50,000 B.C. high school students every year.

You can find video clips of the speakers and more details on their presentations on icbc.com. ICBC also invests in various road safety programs for students including K-10 school curriculum and B.C.’s graduated licensing program.

Preliminary data shows Saskatchewan impaired driving deaths down in 2017: SGI

Saskatchewan’s Crown-owned insurance company is reporting a sharp drop in impaired driving deaths.

Saskatchewan Government Insurance says preliminary data shows 39 people died in crashes involving alcohol or drugs in 2017 compared to 57 the year before.

SGI credits three factors for the encouraging statistics; more police enforcement, tougher penalties, and increased awareness.

Joe Hargrave, minister responsible for SGI, says the numbers suggest attitudes and behaviours about impaired driving are changing in the province.

In 2015, a Statistics Canada report showed Saskatchewan had the highest rate of police-reported impaired driving in Canada.

SGI says despite the improvement impaired driving remains a serious concern, especially with the pending legalization of recreational marijuana this summer.

“The fact that we’re seeing fewer collisions, injuries and fatalities attributed to impaired driving has us cautiously optimistic,” Hargrave said in a release Thursday.

Hargrave says Saskatchewan has taken a zero tolerance approach to drug-impaired driving.

Legislation introduced last fall is expected to pass in the coming weeks.

The group Mothers Against Drunk Driving says the downward trend in impaired driving deaths in Saskatchewan shows how stronger laws and raising awareness can affect what people do behind the wheel.

ICBC urges drivers to watch for cyclists and share the roads this summer

Six cyclists are injured every day in the summer in B.C., so ICBC is urging drivers and cyclists to take extra care on our roads as we near Bike to Work Week (May 28 to June 3).

As ridership increases in the summer, so does the number of cyclist-related crashes. In B.C., 760 cyclists are injured and seven are killed in car crashes from June to September every year.*

“More crashes mean more deaths, injuries and claims, which is why we need to work together to make roads safer,” said Lindsay Matthews, ICBC’s acting vice-president responsible for road safety. “We sponsor Bike to Work Week as an opportunity to educate both drivers and cyclists. It’s part of our commitment to support road safety programs throughout the province. Whether you’re a driver or a cyclist, please do your part to drive smart.”

Tips for drivers:

  • As a driver, you see cyclists when you really look for them. Stay alert, especially at intersections, and be ready to yield the right-of-way.

  • Watch for cyclists on the road and make eye contact if you can, so they can anticipate your next move.

  • Shoulder check for cyclists before turning right and watch for oncoming cyclists before turning left. Scan for cyclists before you enter the roadway from an alley or get in and out of a parking spot.

  • Both drivers and passengers must shoulder check for cyclists before opening their vehicle door. Not only will it keep cyclists safe, it will help you avoid a dooring violation and fine too.

  • Maintain at least three seconds of following distance behind cyclists and at least one metre when passing a cyclist. Don’t risk side-swiping or running a cyclist off the road.

Tips for cyclists:
  • Obey all traffic signs and signals and follow the rules of the road.

  • Use designated bike routes whenever possible – they’re safer and reduce conflicts with vehicle traffic. Check your local municipality’s website for designated bike routes or visit TransLink.ca for maps of cycling routes in Metro Vancouver.

  • If there’s no bike lane, keep to the right-hand side of the road as much as it’s safe to do so. It’s illegal to ride on most sidewalks and crosswalks – it puts pedestrians in danger and drivers don’t expect cyclists to enter the roadway from a sidewalk.

  • Use caution around parked vehicles. Be aware of people in vehicles and taxis to avoid getting hit by an opening door. It’s best to keep at least one metre away from parked vehicles.

  • Before making any turns, shoulder check and hand signal in advance. Remember, drivers sometimes fail to yield right-of-way.

 
For more information about cycling, and videos about these tips, visit our cycling safety page on icbc.com.

Regional statistics*:

  • In the Lower Mainland, on average, 1,100 cyclists are injured and five killed every year.
  • On Vancouver Island, on average, 320 cyclists are injured and three killed every year.

  • In the Southern Interior, on average, 160 cyclists are injured and three killed every year.

  • In the North Central region, on average, 22 cyclists are injured from every year.

*Based on a five-year average using 2012 to 2016 police fatality data and 2013 to 2017 ICBC injury data.

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