Putting safety into action to enhance visibility among the cyclist community
At Onlia, we are proud to be a part of making Canada’s roads safer. By connecting with different commuter communities, we’re able to not only talk about some of the ongoing issues they face every day, but also help do our part to make them feel safe.
In Ontario, and Toronto specifically, shared road space has become an ongoing issue. A staggering 93 pedestrians and cyclist casualties have been reported in Toronto over the past two years. With cycling becoming one of the fastest growing modes of transportation in Toronto, there is an increasing need for these vulnerable road users to feel safe and in harmony with other road users. We wanted to do our part to help, so we dug into some of the issues facing the Toronto cycling community.
Did you know that one of the most common reasons drivers give after colliding with a cyclist is, “I just didn’t see them”? This is especially compounded in dark or grey weather conditions, which are proven to have a negative impact on a driver’s state of mind and reduce overall road performance. Add congested and hectic urban road conditions to the mix, and you have a formula for stressful and potentially dangerous interactions between drivers and cyclists.
Given that visibility is such an important factor for cyclists and drivers alike, we decided to take action to bring this issue to light.
Through an event called, “Light Up The Night,” we partnered with Switchback Cyclery, a non-profit organization whose goal is to develop an inclusive and bike-friendly community within Toronto, and a network of influential cycling enthusiasts for a night ride. Driving awareness to the importance of visibility, we affixed brightly coloured lights to the wheels of their bike to literally light up the night.
Before heading out on the road, we heard harrowing stories of “close calls” from cyclists and had a discussion around what all road users can do to be more safe. Well-known cyclists and fitness advocates Justine Keyserlingk, Laura Sanhueza-Miller, Soren Meeuwisse and Zehra Allibhai joined us at the event and shared their own personal experiences.
Some of the cycling tips shared are below:
- Adhere lights on your bike or on a helmet to increase visibility
- Wear brightly coloured clothing or reflective gear
- Plan your trip ahead of time
- Use proper hand signals
- Make sure you are aware of your surroundings: moving/parked cars, pedestrians, fellow cyclists, etc.
Community of Cyclists
The night ride was an exhilarating experience - Our group of cyclists set out on a 1.1km route within the downtown core. Every cyclist had vibrant lights attached to the wheels of the bicycle making them unignorable to drivers, pedestrians and fellow cyclists alike. Our goal for the Light Up The Night event was to educate and instill safer behaviours among the cyclist community and shed light on the importance of road visibility, and we did just that. Following the experiment, riders felt more visible, more safe, and more empowered to both claim their space on the road and safely share the road with drivers. Check out the video on our YouTube channel or below to see some of these first hand insights from our cycling community participants.
We believe that cyclists and drivers should always have a safe commute, and this change starts with all of us. Together, we can make a difference, one ride at a time.
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