Toronto – The GPO is demanding that the McGuinty government improve road safety for all users by finally delivering on the long delayed Ontario Bike Strategy.
The GPO’s demand for safer streets follows today’s release of the Cycling Death Review Report by Dr. Andrew McCallum, Chief Coroner for Ontario, and Dr. Dan Cass, Deputy Chief Coroner.
“The McGuinty government has failed to prioritize making roads safe for all users,” says GPO leader Mike Schreiner. “The government can’t keep building roads without investing in safe cycling and pedestrian infrastructure.”
The GPO is calling on the government to dedicate 1% of the transportation infrastructure budget to cycling and another 1% for pedestrians.
According to Share the Road Cycling Coalition, 93% of Ontarians want solutions to “improve safety for cyclists and motorists alike;” 67% support provincial funding for cycling infrastructure; and 53% would cycle more often with safer roads.
Quebec spends $200 million on cycling infrastructure and earns $135 million each year from bicycle tourism alone. The US dedicates 1.6% of its transportation budget for states to invest in cycling infrastructure. Ontario has no dedicated funding to support cycling or pedestrian infrastructure.
“If Premier McGuinty can find $1 billion dollars to build his ‘people’s highway’ (the 407 extension), why can’t he find a few million dollars to make streets safe for people?” asks Trinity-Spadina candidate and GPO critic for transportation Tim Grant.
Mr. Grant is leading a petition drive calling on the provincial government to implement a 1998 Toronto coroner’s recommendation calling for side guards to be installed on all large trucks. In the 20 years since the European Union mandated side guards on all heavy trucks, truck-bike fatalities have dropped significantly.
“A Complete Streets Act making streets safe for cycling will reap big returns for Ontario — combating gridlock, reducing health care costs, and supporting local businesses,” says Grant.