Cycle Toronto Calls on City of Toronto to Investigate Streetcar Track Hazards
Submitted by Jared Kolb on 7 August, 2012 - 10:55
Cycle Toronto (formerly the Toronto Cyclists Union), Toronto’s largest member-supported cycling advocacy organization, has appealed to the City of Toronto to undertake a comprehensive study of the safety hazards posed to cyclists by streetcar tracks.
On Monday, August 6, 2012, a Toronto cyclist was involved in a fatal accident when his wheel got stuck in a streetcar track and he was thrown off his bicycle as a result. The incident occurred on Wychwood Ave., south of St. Clair Ave., where the existing streetcar tracks have been out of service since 1978.
"First and foremost, Cycle Toronto would like to express our condolences to the deceased's family" said Jared Kolb, Cycle Toronto's Director of Campaigns and Membership. "It is also important to highlight the risks that streetcar tracks pose to cyclists; safe cycling infrastructure can help prevent similar incidents in the future."
Streetcar tracks are a well-known hazard to Toronto cyclists. Busy intersections and the lack of space between parked cars and streetcar tracks on busy roads are both high danger zones. Cycle Toronto advocates for improved City infrastructure including separated bike lanes, bike specific traffic signals, and way-finding pavement markings to increase safety.
Kolb continued, “As always, Cycle Toronto stresses that City Hall's primary focus should be safety for all road users, including cyclists. At present, the City of Toronto does not track data on non-collision related cycling accidents. Beginning to track non-collision accident data will be an important first step towards improving road safety for cyclists.”
Citing the findings of a similar study commissioned in Portland, Cycle Toronto is urging City Hall to undertake a comprehensive review of streetcar-cyclist interactions, and take action on the following short-term recommendations:
- Identify particularly dangerous intersections and crossings
- Use shared-lane markings (sharrows) to guide cyclists through challenging intersections, and in particular, left turns
- Educate cyclists on the best way to cross streetcar tracks through on-street signage
- Remove derelict streetcar tracks such as those on Wychwood Ave
“Streetcar tracks are a significant hazard for cyclists. We’ve got to recognize this and get the conversation going on the short and long-term solutions to make the streets safer for everyone,” Kolb said.
For more information about safe cycling, please review Cycle Toronto’s Toronto Cyclists Handbook.