Hamilton Road Safety: We deserve safer options in 2016
The author is a McMaster University graduate student and a member of Cycle Hamilton.
As both a Hamiltonian and a cyclist, I was deeply troubled by the recent death of Jay Keddy.
Keddy was a well-prepared and thoroughly practiced cyclist, equipped with bicycle lights and a helmet, obeying the rules of the road.
Despite his diligence, he was struck by a car and left lifeless on his commute home this past December.
No one emerged from the horror of Keddy's death unscathed.
Not his friends, family and acquaintances, not the kindergarten students he taught, and not the members of the wider community.
What kind of city do we desire?- Benita van Miltenburg
As it stands, the rules of the road mandate that a bicycle and a three thousand pound vehicle occupy shared road space.
The logic behind these rules is deeply flawed.
When accidents happen, the ones who suffer most are almost always the more vulnerable road users.
This is not a system that is safe for people on bikes, and it is likewise not a system that works well for automobiles.
Many residents of this city regularly make use of multiple means of transport, and nearly all road users understand the difficulties inherent to this outdated system.
We, as citizens of this city, as shared users of the road, must demand more.
What sort of community are we presently fostering for our children, for ourselves and for our seniors?
Hamilton is blessed with abundant potential.
Situated between Lake Ontario and the beautiful Niagara Escarpment, Hamilton is home to fantastic post-secondary institutions; vibrant art, music and culinary communities; outstanding social programs and just enough character to keep things interesting.
But the city is currently doing itself a terrible injustice by consistently catering to one road user over others, sometimes at the expense of residents' lives. We are bypassing the opportunity to create a complete, socially inclusive and safely navigable community.
Status quo not safe
I say this not to demonize car ownership, as it is helpful, even required in some instances.
Rather, I wish to encourage planning that supports multiple forms of transportation as opposed to just one.
We, as citizens of this city, as shared users of the road, must demand more.- Benita van Miltenburg
With the City-Wide Transportation Master Plan in review and a motion put forth to adopt Vision Zero, Hamiltonians have some crucial decisions to make.
Are we to accept this subpar status quo? Are we to remain Ontario's second most dangerous city to walk in? Can we risk any more unnecessary tragedies?
Or will all road users: pedestrians, cyclists, car drivers and transit goers alike come together and support positive change that caters to all forms of transportation equally and protects all residents from risk of injury.
Let's come together and insist on safer active transport options in 2016.
We all have the right to enjoy our city out of harms way.
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