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After decisive public debate, Toronto City Council approves Bloor Street bike lanes

  • November 14, 2017
  • by Will Davidson LLP
  • bicycle accident, bicycle accident lawyer, bicycle lanes, Bike Lanes on Bloor, car accident, car accident lawyer, infrastructure, personal injury, Personal Injury Lawyer, Toronto, Toronto bicycle accident lawyers, Will Davidson LLP,

On the morning of October 18, 39-year-old David Delos Santos, a recent immigrant to Canada from the Philippines, was struck and killed while riding his bicycle in Toronto’s downtown Parkdale neighbourhood. This type of event is all too familiar to bicycle accident lawyers in Toronto, and to Parkdale residents: two pedestrians were killed in separate collisions in the neighbourhood in 2014, and another cyclist was seriously injured in 2015.

The accident added a somber, serious tone to what should have been a celebratory day for Toronto’s cycling community, as the contentious “Bike Lanes on Bloor” pilot project took a major step towards permanence.

The year-long project began in August 2016 when separated cycling lanes were installed along a 2.4 kilometre stretch of Bloor Street, between Avenue and Shaw. It aimed to study the impacts of bike lanes on pedestrian, cyclist, and motorist safety; businesses in the area; and commute times, among other things.

The City’s transportation staff – in addition to safety advocates and bicycle accident lawyers – endorsed permanent bike lanes in their report on the project, which was published earlier in October. It determined the pilot succeeded in many key objectives, including increasing the number of cyclists using the route, reducing cycling accidents, and minimizing negative impacts on local businesses.

At the October 18 City Hall debate, the bike lanes were praised by councillors and members of the public alike.

“Our City of Toronto staff have stated unequivocally that the pilot bike lane on Bloor not only worked, it was a tremendous success and should be made permanent,” said Councillor Joe Cressy, whose Ward contains part of the lane. “When you design a bike lane and you implement it well it is a win-win for everybody. That’s what we heard all day long.”

According to the Toronto Star, community members including schoolchildren, local doctors, environmental advocates, cycling activists, business and residential association representatives, and friends and family of injured or killed cyclists all stepped forward to voice their support for the project. One speaker ceded his time at the microphone for a moment of silence for Delos Santos.

Though some business owners and at least one city councillor were against the project, the debate period confirmed the public’s support, and on November 7 council voted 36 to 6 to make the bike lanes permanent.

“Today’s decision I think puts to bed the old debate that it’s bikes versus cars, or bikes versus business,” Cressy said after the vote. “What this vote and the staff report in support of it has shown is that when you build a bike lane and you design it well, it’s a win-win for everybody.”

If you or someone you love has been injured in a cycling accident in Toronto, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact the bicycle accident lawyers at Will Davidson LLP to arrange a free consultation to determine whether a personal injury lawsuit is right for you.

 

Image credit: Danielle Scott/Flickr

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