Letter to Editor 2009 - Ottawa Citizen: Bike Lanes


Morgan Duchesney: 2009

Protecting Cyclists and Pedestrians

I am writing about the recent hit and run cycling tragedy in Kanata where a motorist in a minivan struck five cyclists. A simple and well-established solution could have been prevented this tragic accident. The current practice- relying on the skill and goodwill of motorists, is thin protection indeed.

The most reliable and effective way to protect pedestrians and cyclists from out-of-control motor vehicles is to install those 3 x 2 x 10 foot concrete “Toblerone” dividers along the edge of the bike lane. In this way, any careening vehicle is directed back into the traffic rather than up onto the sidewalk. As a further measure, a second line of dividers on the edge of the sidewalk would protect pedestrians from cyclists and motorists. These arrangements are common in Finland. These sturdy dividers would provide physical security and perhaps just as importantly; a measure of psychological comfort to pedestrians.

I’m not suggesting that we install these barriers everywhere, but definitely along the major roadways with sidewalks. Rather than build new roads, why don’t we increase the safety of our existing infrastructure? To answer the inevitable question of who will pay, it’s obvious – we all will, through our taxes.