Now, we’re going to delve a little deeper into some of these hot topics.
Drivers vs. cyclists: who’s right?
There seems to be unrelenting animosity between the drivers and cyclists of Toronto. According to a study from the Angus Reid Institute, 43% of individuals believe there is quite a bit of conflict on the roads. Some say the cyclists are entitled, others say that drivers don’t know how to share the road. So who’s in the right?
To put it simply, no one wins when either party is being unsafe. Drivers being aggressive towards cyclists and vice versa puts both in a dangerous situation; just consider the recent altercation in Toronto caught on video between an irate cyclist and driver. Some intersections and roadways can be difficult to navigate with all of the different types of traffic — whether it’s pedestrians, cars, cyclists, streetcars, or buses — and getting frustrated at each other won’t help calm your nerves.
Some complained that there’s no infrastructure for bikes and that they don’t need to pass any tests when it comes to road rules, as drivers do. The city actually looked into having bicycles licensed at least three times in the past for various reasons; but each time they considered it, the idea was rejected. Primary reasons included obstacles in maintaining an up-to-date and complete database and the difficulty of licensing child cyclists.
While it’s true that cyclists can ride without a licence, the Ontario government adopted a Complete Streets policy in 2017, mandating that streets are to be designed for users, which means we all need to simply slow down and share the road.
Spending a few extra minutes getting to your destination is well worth sparing someone’s life. When you stop to think about your road rage being the difference between whether someone makes it home for dinner or not, it puts things into perspective.
What about the thrill?
Of course, there are always those who are after the thrill of speeding along the highway and zooming in and out of traffic. This may be a source of adrenaline for some, but it endangers the lives of the other drivers and passengers on the road — definitely not worth a dose of adrenaline, in our opinion.
Even if you don’t hurt anyone while stunt driving on a public roadway, you can get nailed with some hefty penalties. Your first offence can get you:
An immediate seven-day licence suspension and seven-day roadside vehicle impoundment
Fines from $2,000 to $10,000
The accumulation of six demerit points, a maximum licence suspension of two years, and a maximum of six months in jail
If you’re convicted for stunt driving for a second time within 10 years, the courts can suspend your licence for up to 10 years.
If you’re looking for an adrenaline rush, find a local racetrack where you can drive as fast as your heart desires. You can satisfy your need for speed, without risking your safety and the consequences of stunt driving on a public roadway.
Does road safety apply to pedestrians?
Yes! Knowing the rules of the road and staying alert is just as important for pedestrians as it is for drivers and cyclists. When vehicles get into fender benders with each other they usually face superficial damage, but when vehicles and people collide, the damage is much worse. It’s imperative for pedestrians to anticipate what other road users are about to do and who has the right of way in order to navigate the streets safely.
In 2018, there were 40 pedestrian fatalities in Toronto. Similar to defensive driving, pedestrians should always be aware and alert when walking the streets regardless of who has the right of way. Of course, drivers should give the road and its users their undivided attention, but it’s important for others to be on the lookout in case someone else slips up. At the end of the day, all that matters is that everyone’s safe.