Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Cyclist Safety

Mr. Thang Vu of Burnaby knows first-hand just how dangerous our cars and roadways can be. As an avid cyclist, Thang has been struck and injured several times by cars. He believes that our federal government should do something about the problem. So, Thang Vu has been taking the time to visit area municipal councils, asking that they approve motions for them to write to Ottawa.

Thang wants the Canadian Federal Government to convene a federal hearing to examine the Motor Vehicle Safety Act and the Motor Vehicle Transport Act. The Motor Vehicle Safety Act provides the legal framework for automobile manufacturers, and the Motor Vehicle Transport Act deals with trucks and buses. Specifically, Thang is hoping the feds will examine the engineering specification of our autombiles. Things like weight, width, speed, and related design specifications. The weight of vehicles is a major concern for cyclists and pedestrians that are struck by cars and trucks each year. The ultimate success from these hearings in Thang's opinion, would be for the government to require vehicle manufactures to produce lightweight, narrow, and speed-restricted automobiles.

Thang points out that such vehicle designs would provide additional benefits to society through improved road safety, a savings for our economy, and reduce our environmental impact.

I'm sure if a bunch of people sent e-mails to the following people requesting this hearing, it would happen soon:

The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Federal Transport Minister -
Mervin Tweed, Chair of House of Commons Transport Committee -
Maxime Ricard, Clerk - House of Commons Transport Committee -

Complete Roadways

South Fraser OnTrax lists "Complete Roadways" under our issues and solutions and we believe this roadway design may be more effective and do-able than the changes to vehicle design. Besides, even if new designs were required for the automobile manufacturers, they would be given years to implement and then we would have to wait for all the older, non-compliant vehicles to die off. In addition to vehicle design issues, our local communities can also help solve these problems in a very meaningful way. The roadway design concept of "complete roads" allows for distinct travel lanes for pedestrians, cyclists, streetcars/light rail cars and finally automobiles. Complete roadways are awesome and should be designed into the plans of every community!

Unfortunately our current local street scenes in the Langleys include cycle lanes that end abruptly, sidewalks that force you to cross the road for safety, and many roads that would kill you if you tried to walk or cycle on them. Doesn't that picture of a complete roadway from Australia invite you to get out of your car and walk, cycle, or take the streetcar?

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