On May 16, another cyclist lost their life on Ottawa’s streets. It happened just metres away from City Hall, and right next to Ottawa’s flagship piece of bike infrastructure, the Laurier bike lanes. This tragedy – like so many pedestrian and cycling fatalities that happen throughout the year in Ottawa – was avoidable.
While it is common to call these events “accidents,” the root causes of these instances are bad policy and design. The May 16 tragedy was a product of the choices we have made in building and designing our city. We have built our city around the car – prioritizing ease of travel and speed for car users. Every decision has trade-offs, and a recurring consequence of our current system is severe injury and death for pedestrians and cyclists.
This must end now. Ottawa can choose a better way forward – one that eliminates severe injury and death from our streets. Click here to demand action from your councillor and the mayor today.
Cities around the world are adopting “Vision Zero,” a road safety project that aims to eliminate severe injury and death on streets. Started in Sweden in 1997, the Vision Zero concept has moved to countries, regions and cities around the world. In Canada, cities like Toronto, Edmonton and Surrey have been leading the way in adopting Vision Zero, and re-designing their streets for safety in the process.
On May 22, Councillor Catherine McKenney urged council to adopt Vision Zero, and delineated what that policy could look like in the Ottawa context. Some measures Councillor McKenney proposes include:
- Ensuring any road reconstruction includes infrastructure for pedestrians and cyclists that meets the highest safety standards;
- Installing segregated bike lanes or cycle tracks;
- Reducing the speed limit to 30 km/h on all residential streets;
- Eliminating right turns on red lights, or wherever there are bike lanes or heavy pedestrian areas; and
- Altering traffic signals to give cyclists and pedestrians priority over motorists.
On Wednesday, June 12, Ottawa City Council will vote on Councillor McKenney’s motion. It is urgent that council and the mayor hear from residents across our city, demanding that council step up the fight against severe injury and death on our streets.