Thursday, December 2, 2010

New 7 Day Impoundment Legislation

On December 1st, 2010 new Highway Traffic Act Offences were implemented that have to do with the impoundment of motor vehicles for various offences.  The new sections come under the umbrella of the Road Safety Act, 2009 (Bill 126) and are administrative suspensions.

The sections allow for vehiclesto be impounded for 7 days when the people driving them have committed the following offences:





1.) A driver who's licence has been suspended for any reason, including default of family support (with the exception of unpaid fines or medical reasons) is caught driving. Section 55.2 HTA

2.) A driver who is required to have an ignition interlock device and are found driving without one. Section 41.4 HTA
3.) A driver caught with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) over 0.08 or who fails/refuses to comply with a demand made by a police officer under section 254 of the Criminal Code of Canada.  Section 48.4 HTA

OK, so that is the legal stuff. Here is what it all really means and what is important for you to remember.

All these offences identify high risk road users.  Those people who have a disregard for the rules of the road and the safety of all of us.

Drivers receive suspension for several reasons.  Most commonly for breaking the rules of the road to such a degree that the punishment handed down by the courts is a suspension.  Some offences come with mandatory suspensions and you can bet that those are the offences that are high risk behaviours that compromise the safety of everyone.  (Impaired driving, stunt driving, multiple demerit point accumulations, etc) = High risk road user.

For a driver to be required to have an ignition interlock device, they have had to have broken the law in terms of drinking and driving.  Part of their conviction is the order that they must have the device installed on any vehicle they drive.  It is a requirement on their licence. = High risk road user.

Anyone charged with over 80 or refusing / failing to comply with the demand, naturally =  High risk road users.

Like I said...the vast majority of us never have to worry about these things.  It is only those drivers who have been self identified as high risk road users.  Self identified? Yes, they are the ones in control of their behaviours and their actions on our roads.

They are the ones who have completely missed section 31 of the Highway Traffic Act:
Driving a privilege
The purpose of this Part is to protect the public by ensuring that,
31.
(a) the privilege of driving on a highway is granted to, and retained by, only those persons who demonstrate that they are likely to drive safely; and
(b) full driving privileges are granted to novice and probationary drivers only after they acquire experience and develop or improve safe driving skills in controlled conditions.  1993, c. 40, s. 1.
No one has the right to drive.  It is a privilege and one that if you don't comply with or abide by the rules and regulations, that privilege is taken away from you.

Back to the impoundments...

The legislation doesn't say the vehicle of the driver...it says the vehicle that is being used by the driver. 

So parents...are you willing to part with your car for seven days because of the behaviour choices of your children?  This is something that you really need to discuss with them so that they understand the importance of good choices.


Friends...are you willing to lose your car for seven days because you loaned it to a friend?  Make sure they have a licence, they aren't required to have an ignition interlock device and they aren't going to be drinking.

These are just a few of things that you have to consider.  Also, the bill for the towing and impoundment doesn't go in the name of the driver...it's in the name of the registered owner of the vehicle.  

Hope this help to educate a few people. 

Remember, RIDE is out there all this month.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Pedestrian collision prevention - Education, Awareness and Responsibility


My daughters are in the thick of learning how to read right now.  Some words they see and say, some they sound out and get right, while others they just can’t find the ways yet to put the sounds together and miss it completely.

When that happens, I have a choice to make.  Do I help them with the word or just ignore their mistakes and let them go on repeating their errors?  I mean, at their age, who really cares…it’s not like they are reading anything that can be the difference between passing their grade or failing…yet.  But I can assure you, if their errors aren’t pointed out, it will make a huge difference someday.  As painful as it may be, pointing out their errors is in their best interest for long-term success.

It’s a lot like pedestrian safety.  My partner and I had a very busy day answering media questions about the ‘sudden spike’ in pedestrian collisions over the last 48 hours.  (If you go back to just before Halloween, we were warning people that this was going to happen.)

The media wanted to know who is to blame, who is at fault, why is this happening and why people aren’t getting the message.  So we responded to the questions.

Who is to blame?
Simple…road users.
Who is at fault?
Simple…road users who aren’t aware, alert and observant.
Why is this happening?
Human error, distraction, environment, daylight savings time, clothing choices, ambient light, on and on.
Why aren’t people getting the message?
No answer from me…I guess you would have to ask the people who are causing the problems.

You see, road safety is everyone’s responsibility.  Plain and simple.  Everyone who uses the roads plays a role in the ensuring safety for themselves and for the other road users around them.

When a pedestrian is stuck by a vehicle, the pedestrian will always be on the losing end.  The easy thing to do would be to blame the driver for not doing their part in ensuring the safety of the pedestrian.  But, sometimes that is not the right thing to do, nor is it ever the proper thing to do for long term success of reducing collisions, injury and death.

A pedestrian who isn’t watching where they are going, disobeying traffic signals, impeding traffic, wearing dark clothes at night, crossing mid-block is not doing anything to help keep our roads safe.  They aren’t doing anything to keep themselves safe.

A driver who is distracted, travelling too fast for conditions, not looking where they need to be, impaired, etc,  is not doing anything to help keep our roads safe.  They aren’t doing anything to keep themselves safe and they aren’t doing anything to keep pedestrians safe.

A pedestrian who crosses a street mid-block at night wearing dark clothing, texting, where street lights are burnt out while listening to an MP3 player is doing nothing in terms of taking personal responsibility for their own safety.  According to many people today, I should ignore that and never point things out like that because I could be blaming the ‘victim’ (I’ll get to that in a minute).

You bet I’m going to point that out!

Now, what if a car strikes that pedestrian?  You bet I’m going to question why the driver didn’t see the pedestrian.  I’m going to ask about the speed, the lighting the location, the sight lines, the environment.  I’m going to point out that each road user has responsibility for one another.

Interviews
This whole post is because of how interviews are turned into reports.  You can be sure that when PC Hugh Smith and I are interviewed we look at all angles of any incident and where there is a safety message to any category of road user, driver, cyclist, pedestrian or transit user, we include it.

Anytime there are two people involved, each of their actions will be analyzed.  If there is any message that we can bring to light to help educate and raise awareness, we’ll bring it up.

But, no matter what we say, we do not have the last word.  It is always up to the reporters to file and even then, editors and producers have their opportunity to massage a report.  So the final copy rarely tells the whole story.

So when you read or watch, understand that there is way more information that doesn’t make a story than does.

Victim
In traffic safety, we avoid referring to anyone as a victim.  Since a pedestrian is considered a vulnerable road user, (none or little protection), people naturally refer to them as the victim.  They do get the worst of it after all. We refer to them as the injured party. Simply stated they are not always the victim.  A pedestrian that steps onto the roadway into the path of the car, not allowing the driver any opportunity to avoid striking that pedestrian can very successfully be argued as the actually the victim of someone else’s action.  Sure the pedestrian is going to be on the losing end.

All the parties involved are victimized in one manner or another.  Our society as a whole can be argued as the victims.  Because of a bad crash, roads get closed, transportation flow is compromised, people miss meetings, goods are delayed, infrastructure suffers, etc…we are all victims. 

In the end, if our road safety messaging is interpreted as placing blame, then so be it.  I would rather point out the mistakes that have led to road tragedies in an effort to educate others from making the same mistakes then to ignore the obvious and allow the same mistakes to be perpetuated.

So, that’s my view. What are yours? Agree, disagree? Let me know.  The communication is what creates awareness and education.  Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Sharing the road with streetcars

Streetcars present a unique challenge to Toronto road users, but at the same time are very simple to share the road with.  A couple of things that make them easy to be around is that they can't change lanes, they are very visible and they are only found on roads with rail lines running on them.  They only turn onto roads that also have intersecting tracks, but they do make those turns from lanes that we aren't accustomed to seeing traffic legally turn from.  In fact, if you make the same turn they do...you will be charged.

They are recognized in the Highway Traffic Act because there are specific laws regarding them and how you need to behave around them to be sharing the road with them for every one's safety.

Almost every law that applies to the driver of a motor vehicle or a cyclist applies to the operator of a streetcar and vice verse.

You can pass a streetcar that is in motion on the right side only.  Like every rule, there are exceptions...

  1. If the streetcar is travelling on a one-way street, you can pass it on the left.
  2. You can not pass on the right through the approach area of a pedestrian crossover.
Always look at a streetcar as a moving intersection, after all it does have stop signs on it.  When a streetcar is approaching an intersection don't try to pass it.  You can safely assume that it is going to stop. When it stops, the side doors may or may not open.  The safest practice is to stay behind the streetcar until it goes into motion again.

You can't see past it so trying to pass it at an intersection is a recipe for trouble in the case where a pedestrian is trying to catch it from the side you can't see or a car/cyclist blows a red light and creams you as you clear the front of the streetcar.

When the doors are open it is against the law to pass it or approach the doors to closely.  This applies to both motor vehicle drivers, cyclists, skateboarders, roller bladers, e-bikes, etc.

Pedestrians are not allowed onto the roadway until the streetcar has come to a full stop and the doors have opened.  Having said that...they will, so again, go back to the point of don't pass a streetcar as it nears an intersection.

For those of you that complain that streetcars enter intersections on amber lights, you should know that there is a mechanism on them that talks to the intersection.  It holds that light amber so that the streetcar can make it through which creates a better traffic flow for all of us.

The LRT lines are designed to specifically allow a free flow of traffic around the street car lanes.  No vehicles are allowed on them except streetcars and other authorized TTC vehicles.  (You will on occasion see police, fire and ambulance use them - seconds save lives).

Make sure when you are travelling parallel to LRT lines (Spadina, Queens Quay, StClair to name a few) that you pay attention to the traffic signals especially at turning points.  The streetcars have their own signals as do you....mix them up and you run the risk of being T-boned by 20 tonnes or so of metal.






Friday, September 3, 2010

Speed Trap Capital of the World

Wow, what an amazing amount of attention Toronto got this week after it was revealed on a website that we are the Speed Trap Capital of the World!!

It was a very busy 24 hours after that news broke, but what exactly does it mean? 250 locations (give or take) on the list, crowd sourced information, not really verified and what do they class as a speed trap?

Lets kick this off by talking about traps:

a device in which something (usually an animal) can be caught and penned

drain consisting of a U-shaped section of drainpipe that holds liquid and so prevents a return flow of sewer gas

something (often something deceptively attractive) that catches you unaware; "the exam was full of trap questions"; "it was all a snare and delusion"

a device to hurl clay pigeons into the air for trapshooters

place in a confining or embarrassing position; "He was trapped in a difficult situation"

ambush: the act of concealing yourself and lying in wait to attack by surprise

catch in or as if in a trap; "The men trap foxes"

informal terms for the mouth

a light two-wheeled carriage

So I guess we can agree that there is no way what we are doing can be considered traps.

Posted speed limits, uniforms, equipment, cars, motorcycles...any decent driver that is

observant and scanning their route of travel surely has to see the police enforcement. Often times, other stopped cars can even be a clue. One prominent driving advocate even stated he has seen as many as eight officers at a location…not much of a ‘trap’.

Who is in control of the speed of a vehicle? The passenger? The other cars? The pedestrians? Nope…it’s the driver. Gas pedal for faster, brake pedal for slower. What is the incentive for the drivers to speed? Tickets, possible insurance rate hikes, demerit points, loss of license, etc. Or is the incentive to avoid tickets? By doing something crazy like, I don’t know…travelling the speed limit.

Road safety is based on three simple tenants.

  • Education
  • Awareness
  • Enforcement

(You can add in engineering but that’s not in law enforcements hands).

Folks, we do enforcement based in one simple principal…safety. We educate and raise awareness so that we can avoid the enforcement. But, there will always be some people who choose to risk all our safety in one manner or another. We will always be there to address them appropriately.

If you combine all other crimes committed you would not come close to devastation and societal impacts that traffic related incidents have on us. You are far more likely to be in a collision than you are to be the victim of violence. Go to any community meeting, town hall meeting and you are sure to find that traffic related matters (speeding and parking in particular) top the list of concerns of the community.

Two of the main ways we determine locations are:

  • Community generated concerns reported to us asking for our help making their neighbourhoods safer
  • Crash analysis that has indicated a need for enforcement/education/awareness

One of the things this list indicates to me is how plugged in and tech savvy Toronto is. You have given that site more locations that New York, LA and Montreal residents combined. Way to go.

I can’t believe how many of those locations I’ve actually stood in ‘beaming’ the traffic. Some of them though…don’t think they were actually speed enforcement locations, bit more likely officers sitting at the side of the road doing reports and passerby’s have fed the locations as a radar spot.

So, thank you Toronto for helping us spread the word and show the world how committed the Toronto Police Service is to road safety. We have made it a priority <-(PDF) for several years now in an effort to reduce collisions, injuries and death in Toronto.

Interesting fact…Los Angeles is about 2X the size (population) of Toronto and has about 2X more sworn officers. According the Speed Trap Site, we have about 2X more locations than them.

In 2008 (last published numbers for LA) they had 234 fatalities…Toronto had 54.

So let me know are there any areas that you particularly like? Any locations you would like to add to the list? Let me know. Love to hear from you.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Bicycle Helmets...you choose


Bicycle helmets have been a very hot topic in Toronto the last few days. On Friday August 13th, a cyclist died after a fall from his bicycle almost a month earlier. He struck his head which ultimately led to his death.

I issued a news release about the death and the same day that it was released via the Toronto Police Website, the Toronto Sun published an article that urges mandatory helmet use according to an Alberta study.

So, looking at raising public awareness over the issue, I Tweeted and Facebooked (is that a word?) both the news release and the article...then the storm came.

The word 'helmet' became a trending topic on Twitter in Toronto and the conversation was heated on both sides of the issue. Some people argue that helmets should be mandatory while others say that the choice is up to the individual.

My opinion is simple...what is safest should stand. Mandatory? Not sure on that, but should you choose to wear one? Absolutely!!

You can't tell me one solid reason for not wearing one...I've heard plenty, but not ones I'd support. But, I can give you one good one. A helmet protects your brain. You know that thing inside your skull, pretty much runs your body...only get one, can't be fixed thing?

But, who am I to say...here are some other opinions.
http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/abstract/276/24/1968
(Thanks to @bradeinarsen for the link)

But there are lots more...
http://www.bhsi.org/index.htm#statistics

Best line I have ever heard?
"Let me first say that I didn't start swearing a helmet regularly until AFTER I WOKE UP FROM THE COMA"
See the whole article for that line:
http://www.treehugger.com/files/2008/09/on-bicycle-helmets.php

So...whats your opinion? Your views, thoughts, arguments.
Do you have any research that can support helmets, no helmets. Can you make a strong point?
Let me know and have your say here...pls keep it clean!

To see some of the conversations that took place look at the following Twitter Streams
@TrafficServices
@DuncansCityRide
@BikeTree
@BikingToronto
#bikeTO


Saturday, August 7, 2010

Guest Post - Why Do Cops Get To Harass People?

I have to confess right off the bat here, this is not my original thought. I wish I was talented enough to come up with this stuff on my own. I am re-posting this. It is from a good friend of mine who has a blog as well. http://www.motorcopblog.com/
Just like Motorcop, I found it funny and thought I would share it too.
You can follow him on Twitter and Facebook as well.

Please remember, commenting is welcomed, just keep it clean and respectful. Even if you don't agree with what is said, be polite and factual about how you tell us you don't agree. If you agree, same thing, be clean and polite.

I don't often straight plagiarize or just post something someone else has written...but the BlogStocker sent me something I couldn't resist posting. Please to enjoy...

Recently, the Chula Vista Police Department ran an e-mail forum (a question and answer exchange) with the topic being, "Community Policing."

One of the civilian email participants posed the following question: "I would like to know how it is possible for police officers to continually harass people and get away with it?"

From the "other side" (the law enforcement side) Sgt. Bennett, obviously a cop with a sense of humor replied:

"First of all, let me tell you this...it's not easy. In Chula Vista , we average one cop for every 600 people. Only about 60% of those cops are on general duty (or what you might refer to as "patrol") where we do most of our harassing.

The rest are in non-harassing departments that do not allow them contact with the day to day innocents. And at any given moment, only one-fifth of the 60% patrollers are on duty and available for harassing people while the rest are off duty. So roughly, one cop is responsible for harassing about 5,000 residents.

When you toss in the commercial business, and tourist locations that attract people from other areas, sometimes you have a situation where a single cop is responsible for harassing 10,000 or more people a day.

Now, your average ten-hour shift runs 36,000 seconds long. This gives a cop one second to harass a person, and then only three-fourths of a second to eat a donut AND then find a new person to harass. This is not an easy task. To be honest, most cops are not up to this challenge day in and day out. It is just too tiring. What we do is utilize some tools to help us narrow down those people which we can realistically harass.

The tools available to us are as follows:

PHONE: People will call us up and point out things that cause us to focus on a person for special harassment. "My neighbor is beating his wife" is a code phrase used often. This means we'll come out and give somebody some special harassment.

Another popular one is, "There's a guy breaking into a house." The harassment team is then put into action.

CARS: We have special cops assigned to harass people who drive. They like to harass the drivers of fast cars, cars with no insurance or no driver's licenses and the like. It's lots of fun when you pick them out of traffic for nothing more obvious than running a red light. Sometimes you get to really heap the harassment on when you find they have drugs in the car, they are drunk, or have an outstanding warrant on file.

RUNNERS: Some people take off running just at the sight of a police officer. Nothing is quite as satisfying as running after them like a beagle on the scent of a bunny. When you catch them you can harass them for hours.

STATUTES: When we don't have PHONES or CARS and have nothing better to do, there are actually books that give us ideas for reasons to harass folks. They are called "Statutes"; Criminal Codes, Motor Vehicle Codes, etc... They all spell out all sorts of things for which you can really mess with people.

After you read the statute, you can just drive around for awhile until you find someone violating one of these listed offenses and harass them. Just last week I saw a guy trying to steal a car. Well, there's this book we have that says that's not allowed. That meant I got permission to harass this guy. It is a really cool system that we have set up, and it works pretty well.

We seem to have a never-ending supply of folks to harass. And we get away with it. Why? Because for the good citizens who pay the tab, we try to keep the streets safe for them, and they pay us to "harass" some people.

Next time you are in my town, give me the old "single finger wave." That's another one of those codes. It means, "You can harass me." It's one of our favorites.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

People argue to be able to drink and drive!


Why do people still insist on driving after they have been drinking? Why do drivers speed at ridiculous rates through residential neighbourhoods, or anywhere else for that matter?

I had the misfortune today of attending a fatal crash in North York this morning. A car was travelling at a high rate of speed and was T-boned in an intersection on a quiet little side street.

The debris field was huge. 2 cars absolutely destroyed. 1 person dead and 4 sent to hospital. One of the drivers was arrested for an alcohol offence related to driving. The car he was driving was the one that the deceased person was in, that was allegedly speeding and allegedly went through a stop sign.

Between Twitter and Facebook there were lots of messages condemning drinking and driving and aggressive driving. That led to some conversation about the new 21 and under law. Surprisingly in some of that conversation stream, people were willing to chastise the new law for being age discriminatory or unacceptable on some level because of a Zero BAC requirement.

WHAT??? Why in the world would people argue to be able to drink and drive. I mean that's really what it comes down to. That is what you are arguing for...to defend your desire to drink and drive. Think about it. If you argue against a zero BAC, or the newer "Warn Range" Suspensions being too restrictive, or the legal limit being too low, you are arguing in essence to be allowed to drive a 2000 pound weapon with an an intoxicant in your system!

How about supporting the notion of someone drinking while walking down the street with a loaded machine gun.

I had a number of people ask my opinion on the law and what I believe. Some asked if I believe it should be just 21 and under or all drivers. Well, you probably know me well enough by now to know what my answer was:

IF YOU DRINK, DON'T DRIVE!

Friday, July 30, 2010

2010 Scotiabank Caribana Festival Parade Information

On Saturday, July 31, 2010, the 43rd Annual Scotiabank Caribana Festival Parade will take place on Lake Shore Blvd. W. between Strachan Avenue and Colbourne Lodge Drive.The festival will require numerous road closures, restrictions which will lead to delays and congestion in the immediate area of the parade.

Road Closures:
The following Gardiner Expressway ramps will be closed at 12:30 a.m., on Saturday, July 31st, 2010:
E/B Gardiner Expressway and Jameson exit, Jameson entrance and B.C. entrance.
W/B Gardiner Expressway and Dunn Ave. exit ramp.

Lakeshore Blvd. W. will be closed to traffic at 1:30 a.m., from westbound Strachan Ave. to Parkside Dr. and eastbound from Colbourne Lodge to Strachan Ave. on Saturday, July 31st, 2010.

Caribana will set up their Market Place locations south of the Lakeshore Blvd. W. on the Thursday and Friday prior to the day of the event. Their final move in of goods and supplies will be on Saturday, morning from 1:30 a.m.. to 8:00 a.m., then all vendors will be refused entry. All access for vendors will be via Lakeshore Blvd. W. and Colborne Lodge Dr., eastbound on Lakeshore Blvd. W. from Ellis Ave. or Windermere Ave.

All vendors must have a Caribana permit adhered to their front windshield in good condition or entry will be refused. (One permit per vehicle - absolutely NO exceptions)

Parade bands/ floats/trucks will access the formation area via Lakeshore Blvd. W. and Strachan Ave., then travel west to Newfoundland Rd. to enter the Exhibition Grounds Formation Area. The cut off time for entry into the formation area is 1000 hrs however, any late arrivals will be permitted into a staging area on the north side of Lakeshore Blvd W. from Strachan Ave to Newfoundland. The late arrivals will be permitted northbound on Newfoundland Ave at three separate times for 15 minute intervals each (10:30 a.m., 12:00 p.m., and 2:00 p.m.). Entry will not be permitted at any other point. Support vehicles will exit prior to 10:00 hrs from Newfoundland Rd. and Lakeshore Blvd. W., then eastbound on Lakeshore Blvd. W. to Strachan Ave.

Tour Buses: are to be directed to the Loading Docks on the east side of the Direct Energy Centre at Canada Blvd. south of Manitoba Dr.

Disabled Parking: will be at the Direct Energy Centre. Enter via Manitoba Dr. and Strachan Ave. then south on Canada Blvd. to the entrance ramp of the Direct Energy Centre.

V.I.P.’s and Media parking will be in the direct Energy Centre: underground parking garage west side.

Volunteers are to use the Dufferin St. access to gain entry to Parking Lot “4” on Saskatchewan Rd north of Princes’ Blvd.

All vehicle access to Ontario Place will be through Remembrance Dr. at Lakeshore Blvd. W. and Strachan Ave. Vehicles exiting Ontario Place will do so only at Lakeshore Blvd. W. and Ontario Place Blvd. and will travel eastbound on Lakeshore Blvd. W. only.

RESTRICTED ACCESS POINTS

In order to assist the safe movement of traffic and to provide for as little disruption as possible to residents, the following streets will have a restricted access, for vehicles:

Dufferin St. south of King St. W.
Dowling Ave. south of King St. W.
Stadium Rd. south of Lakeshore Blvd. W.
Queens Quay W. west of Bathurst St.
Springhurst Ave. west of Jameson Ave.
Springhurst Ave. east of Jameson Ave.

Other streets, although not restricted to vehicles, will be strictly enforced for parking infractions. These streets are in the area south of King St. W., east of Colborne Lodge and west of Bathurst St.

VEHICLE PASSES

There are several vehicle passes for Caribana participants, volunteers and V.I.P.s. There are also vehicle or personal identification cards used by employees of Exhibition Place and Ontario Place. All of these passes are valid for the given location or event specified in the specific traffic details. Caribana has assigned marshals to the entrance to the formation area at Lakeshore Blvd. W. and Strachan Ave.

The final move in for Vendors will be between 01:30 a.m., and 8:00 a.m., on Saturday morning. All vendors must enter the Market Place from the west end of the closure on Lakeshore Blvd. W. from Colborne Lodge Dr. only. All vendors approaching the closure southbound on Parkside Dr. will be directed west to Colborne Lodge Dr. to enter the closure. The Vendor Holding Area will be east of Parkside Dr. to the area near the Palais Royale.

Drivers entering Lakeshore Blvd. W. are to be advised to drive slowly and watch for pedestrians and obey directions of Caribana Marshals.

BATHURST ST. CLOSURE

Vehicle access west of Bathurst St. on Fleet St. and Lakeshore Blvd. W. may be closed after the parking lots at Ontario Place and Exhibition Place Gore Lots are full. This closure will be in effect as required.

TOWING POLICY

All vehicles including tour buses, parked illegally on Lakeshore Blvd. W. (including the grassed area), Bathurst St., Fleet St., King St. W., Queen St. W., Roncesvalles Ave., Dufferin St. and The Queensway will be tagged and towed.

Vehicles parked illegally in the Parkdale and Stadium Rd. areas will be tagged and towed.

The Parking Enforcement Unit will be mainly responsible for towing issues.

T.T.C.

TTC: The T.T.C. will be putting 25 buses on the Parkside Dr. route starting at 8:40 a.m. on Saturday, July 31, 2010. This will be an express route to the Keele St. Station from the Palais Royale area on Lakeshore Blvd. W. Bus lanes will be marked by the placement of cones on Lakeshore Blvd. W. by the T.T.C.

The Jameson Ave. bus route will have approximately 12 buses in service and will not stop at Springhurst Ave. when southbound. The drop off and pick up area will be a temporary T.T.C. bus stop on the south side of the westbound lanes of Lakeshore Blvd. W., between Dunn Ave. and Jameson Ave., for the express buses to the Bloor St. W. subway line. To maintain this bus route Springhurst Blvd. must be kept clear of parked vehicles between Jameson Ave. and Dunn Ave.

The Dufferin St. bus line will have approximately 65 - 70 buses assigned to handle the heavy crowds. It will not enter Exhibition Place Grounds.

The Bathurst St. streetcars will drop off passengers on the north side of Fleet St. Streetcars and buses leaving Exhibition Place will not stop at Strachan Ave.

T.T.C. service to and from the east end of the event will be through the Manitoba Dr. and Strachan Ave. area of Exhibition Place.

TTC will stop at Fort York Blvd., and Fleet St., to enable any passengers attending Ontario Place to exit at this location.

The Princes’ Gates will remain closed on Saturday, July 31st, 2010 commencing at 12:01 am.

General Parking is provided by Exhibition Place inside the grounds in the underground lot at the Direct Energy Centre, and Lot #6. Lot #4 is the Volunteer Parking Lot. There is also parking available in the Gore Lot (n/side Lakeshore Blvd. W. east of Strachan Ave).

ONTARIO PLACE

Access to Ontario Place will be possible along Remembrance Dr. from Lakeshore Blvd. W. and Strachan Ave. Ontario Place parking lots will be open during this event. Exit from Ontario Place will be at Ontario Place Blvd. and Lakeshore Blvd. W. to travel eastbound only.

All Ontario Place employees have their own identification provided by Ontario Place. Should a road closure take place at Bathurst St., people from Ontario Place (with valid vehicle passes) and Yacht Club members will be allowed through the closure point.

VENDORS

The vendor check area for the parklands (FMC Vendors) will be located eastbound Lakeshore Blvd. W. between Colborne Lodge Dr., and Parkside Dr. Caribana officials, Security, and Police personnel will be present.

C.N.E. Vendors will be allowed to enter Exhibition Place Grounds at all times provided they have the proper Exhibition Place Vendor passes/identification.

LOST CHILDREN

Lost children will be taken to the Queen Elizabeth Building Exhibit Hall on the north side of Princes Blvd. west of Ontario Dr. The location will be signed as such.

At 10:00 p.m., any remaining children will be transported to No. 14 Division which is located at 150 Harrison Street, Toronto (416)808-1400

The Gardiner Expressway is a restricted access highway which will be patrolled to ensure that vehicles are not parked adjacent to the parade route and pedestrians do not enter the highway area. Drivers who chose to stop or drive in a manner that puts other road users at risk will be subject to strict enforcement.Due to the large number of visitors and continuous events that occur with the festival, intermittent road closures may occur throughout the downtown core, without notice, in the evenings and nights of Friday, July 31 to Sunday August 2 in the interest of public safety.Historically, Yonge Street and the Entertainment District access has been restricted in the evenings and overnight.It is recommended that you make yourself aware of alternative routes before heading into the downtown or entertainment district areas to avoid delays.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Can YOU stop impaired driving?

According to StatsCan Impaired driving offences have risen for a third consecutive year across Canada. There was a 3% rise from 2008 to 2009. As far as I'm concerned, that is ridiculous.

Governments across the country at both the federal and provincial levels have been making great strides to combat these offences with sanctions, tougher sentences, greater awareness and new laws, but the offence keeps happening!

By and large, the vast majority of us seem to get the fact that it is socially unacceptable to drive impaired. But it seems that many are still doing it. Death, injury, financial ruin, job loss, are things that are very real consequences from such an irrational decision to drive while impaired.

So what's the answer? How do we stop this offence from occurring? The police have their ideas, courts theirs and governments their own...but what about you? What do you think is the answer to curbing this stat from continuing it's upward climb? Here is your chance to voice your thoughts.

Let me give you some numbers to think about: 2009
Total Arrests in Canada for Impaired: 88,630
Total Arrests in Toronto: 2253
Per 100,000 in Canada: 263
Per 100,000 in Toronto: 90

As you can see, Toronto is doing very well compared to the rest of Canada, but very well just doesn't cut it when we are talking about life changing implications such as permanent disability and death because of a preventable, selfish criminal act.

And let's be realistic...2253 people that were caught while driving impaired. How many slipped through that we have no idea about? How many think that they will get away with having 'one for the road'?

What do you think should happen to those people that endanger all our lives. What could be an effective deterrent to stop the people that are willing to sacrifice the lives of our children, our spouses, our parents, our friends?

Its obvious that the threat of a criminal record, licence suspension, death and injury don't stop some of the population...so what will?

I would love to hear what you think. Get creative, be genius...who knows maybe your collective thoughts will send a clear message to our law makers, our courts and most importantly to those people who just don't get it.

Here are a couple of suggestions that I've heard in the past to get the ball rolling;Life time driving ban.
Special licence plates.
De-criminalize low alcohol limits and provide huge fines with long suspensions.

So do me a favour. Please take some time, and let me know what YOU think. Tell me YOUR ideas. Between this blog, Twitter, Facebook and anything else I can think of, I know there is a gem out there that has not been given enough consideration and you could be the person or group responsible for reducing collisions, injuries and death, not just here...but everywhere!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

ENOUGH!

Guest Post by Sharon DeVellis

Feature Blogger for http://www.yummymummyclub.ca/ and http://Twitter.com/SharonDV
July 05, 2010

Warning...language is not suitable for younger readers, but to edit it would remove the passion that Sharon brought to this post.


I’m so beyond pissed off right now I can’t stand it. While putting on make up this morning while watching Breakfast Television, I listened as Kevin Frankish reported about how a father died in front of his two kids, ages 7 and 11, last night.


Was it a long weekend freak accident? Did he have a heart attack?


No. He was killed from a head-on collision by a driver who was going the wrong way on a major highway. The car is virtually unrecognizable with the front passenger seat pretty much obliterated.


The dad, the one sitting in the now gone front passenger seat, was killed instantly. The mom who was driving was airlifted to a hospital and is in critical condition.
The two kids are unhurt.


But not really. They aren’t fucking unhurt. They lost their father. Their mother is in a hospital and will hopefully recuperate but will have who knows how many months or years to get back to where she was.


The family? That’ll never get back to where it was, will it? Because I can tell you from experience, this accident will be the turning point in their lives. From this point forward, life for them will be known as before the accident and after the accident.

“Alcohol is being investigated as a factor in the collision.”

And this is where I say What The Fuck? And yes, I’m using f-bomb. If you’re offended, then walk away from the computer. But I earned the right to use What the fuck when two years ago a drunk driver smashed head-on into our family on a Sunday afternoon as we driving to my inlaws house to celebrate Mother’s Day. I earned it when I had to calm my screaming, bleeding child sitting by the side of the road waiting for police and paramedics to arrive. I earned it when I had to hold both my kids beside me on the ambulance ride to the hospital and when I had to see the drunk driver being admitted AHEAD OF US and he was so drunk he couldn't even tell the nurse his name.

I earned it when I chose to stay sitting with my son in my lap and didn’t get up to beat the shit out of him at that very moment.

I earned it when I had to give my child drunk driving magic every single night before bed in order for him to be able to sleep and when I went to court to read our impact statement in front of a full courtroom, only to have the man who changed our family forever not look me in the eye once, not even when I held up pictures of my sons so he could see who he hurt.

I earned it when I listened as the judge revoked his license for 15 months and gave him a fine to pay and he walked away with his wife to go home to his young child. The one who didn’t need therapy from being in a head-on collision.

So I say What The Fuck.

Because I earned it.

And now this family has earned it and they don’t deserve it.

How many people have to die or be injured in drunk driving accidents before we smarten the hell up and get stricter laws?
For the original blog post and the comments click here.
Photo by David Ritchie
~~Editor's Note~~
At this time there have been no charges laid against the driver who was 18 years old, although alcohol is suspected. In Ontario, the legal drinking age is 19...so I would expect that if alcohol is proven there will be several charges laid.
Once that happens, it is up to the courts to determine what the penalty, upon conviction, should be for:
An underage drinker who kills a father a of two young girls
Seriously injuring the surviving parent
Destroying a family in ways that we can't possibly imagine

Monday, July 5, 2010

Congratulations!!

A couple of weeks ago, I asked followers on Twitter to help make our roads safer by taking the #NoPhoneZone pledge. (Re-cap)...Take the pledge, let me know through facebook and twitter that you did it and I would put your Twitter ID into a randomizer, draw the names of lucky winners of some great prizes and let you know.

Well this morning I ran the names and I am happy to say that:
@Jasondevoy
@kealge
@alimarin
are all winners.

Truth be told...if everyone that signed the pledge follows through with it, we are all winners since that means safer roads for all of us.

I sent out the Tweet advising the winners to DM me so I could send them their amazing prizes. Once they have all been sent their prizes, I will let you know what the prize packs are.

To everyone who took part, I offer my sincere thanks. Like the signature on my email says, "Road safety is everyone's responsibility."

BUT, just because the draw is done, please don't let it stop you from signing up for the pledge and making your car a #NoPhoneZone. Remember, it's not the device...it's the distraction.

You can still take the pledge. Click here to help do your part.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Take The Pledge, Share and WIN!!!

As many of you know, I have been a big supporter of the "No Phone Zone" Pledge that Oprah started near the beginning of this year.

The concept is simple. You decide that you want to make your car a "No Phone Zone", sign the pledge and follow through by not allowing your phone to be a distraction to your driving. It's a great idea and in Ontario...IT IS THE LAW!! $155 for talking, texting, typing, reading. Hands holding a device? $155. Watching a DVD, $155.

But really, what is the fine compared to the potential of crashing and taking the life of a loved one or yourself?

April 30, 2010 was the day for the #NoPhoneZone across the world and in Toronto, we did a great job of letting everyone know that we supported the idea. Thank goodness we did, because with the number of charges that the Toronto Police have issued to people (Over 6000 to date), I'd hate to see what it would be like if we didn't support it!

So, what is this all about? I want to keep Toronto moving toward safer roads and make Toronto the number one city in the world to support the pledge..so here is my offer.

1.) Pledge your committment to making your car a "No Phone Zone"

2.) Share your committment of your pledge on Facebook
There is a Share Button for Facebook on the page that appears after you submit your pledge.

3.) Let me know you pledged on Twitter
Tweet, "Hey @TrafficServices I just pledged to make my car a #NoPhoneZone #Toronto" and attach your Facebook Status Link.

I will aggregate all the Tweets that you send out between June 19 and June 23, enter them into a randomizer and allow a computer to determine who the lucky winners of 5 incredible, amazing and unbelievable prize packs will be awarded.

Once the computer spits out the Twitter ID's I will let you know via Twitter who you are and arrange for your prize pick-ups.

No Phone Zone Information
Distracted Driving Information






Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Bicycle Basics

By PC Hugh Smith

Good weather in Toronto means more bicycles are on the road, and everyone needs to be aware of these smaller vehicles.

Studies indicate most motorist subconsciously don't see vehicles that are any smaller than a car. People driving automobiles need to be cognizant of their surroundings and bicycles in their area.

Things that a rider should be cognizant of is, number one be smooth. You need to know your limits, your personal limits and your bicycles limits.

Know your surroundings, who you are driving with, who is on the roadway, and never take your scenario for granted. Always be on alert for something to happen."

Wearing a helmet is always a must, wearing bright neon colors that are not found in nature. Most cycling accidents are the result of falls. Avoid loose clothing and wear appropriate footwear. Use pant leg clips to keep clothing grease free and out of the bicycle chain.

Bicyclist need to use their skills to keep them proficient. If the bike has been sitting in storage all winter, make sure the tire pressure is correct and the bike is tuned before taking it on the road. Even experienced, riders should brush up on their skills and address some of the bad habits they may have developed.

Safety however, is not just the responsibility of the cyclist, cars and trucks need to be share the road with these smaller vehicles and be aware that they are there.

"All drivers have a responsibility of being proficient behind the wheel”. They need to know how to operate their vehicle properly. They need to know their space, how much room they are taking up, and if they can actually manoeuver their vehicle in an emergency situation."

Lane position on any urban street

Highway Traffic Acts across Canada tell cyclists to ride as far to the right as is practical. Those words are hard to interpret by the road using public.

Some motorists feel cyclists should not be in the line of traffic and some cyclists interpret the law as meaning to ride on the sidewalk – but sidewalk cycling is illegal in most parts of Canada.

What it should mean is to ride far enough out from the curb that you can maintain a straight line and avoid debris, potholes and service covers.

Drivers must leave a safety cushion space between their car and the cyclist so there is no chance of collision. This safety cushion is for the cyclist to manoeuvre in while cycling through traffic.

Sidewalks are dangerous places to ride.

Recent stats show that many car-bike collisions involve a cyclist riding off sidewalks and into roadways.

Although some Canadian communities allow children’s bikes (24 inch wheels or smaller) on the sidewalk, the intention was to allow only small children to ride on the sidewalk.

Sidewalks are for pedestrians.

They are not safe havens for cyclists. Sidewalks are congested with pedestrians, strollers, wheel chairs, pets, senior citizens, doorways, planters, and entire families of unpredictable window shoppers.

Road traffic is more predictable.

Educated and seasoned cyclists have the knowledge and skills required to ride on the road. Rules of the road, risk management, handling skills, decision making are all part of their experience. Choose to improve your skills.

Cyclists are part of traffic and have all the rights and responsibilities that motorists have. Cyclists need room to manoeuvre in traffic and motorists need to provide that room by not crowding cyclists and compromising their safety.

When motorists and cyclists are considerate of the space each type of user requires on the roadway, conflict is reduced and everyone is much safer.

Warm up the bike before every ride

When the weather warms up and the ice, snow, and salt are gone from the roads and trails, it's time to get back on your bikes. If your family's bicycles have been in storage all winter, you should tune up each bike for spring. Your local bike shop will do this for you for $35 to $60, or you can do it yourself.

Bikes are fairly easy to maintain but still require your attention to ensure a safe journey. Pay special attention to the following four areas: chain, derailleur components, brakes, and wheels.

Tires release air, chains need oil, bells and brakes need to work, and handlebars need tightening. The basics!

The ABC Quick Check is an easy way to remember what parts of the bike need your TLC before every ride. It takes less than a minute.

A – is for air. Check everything to do with your tires and wheels and air pressure. The valve must be straight out of the rim, not at an angle.

B – is for brakes, bars and bell. The brake pads must be straight and grip the rim effectively. The handle bars must be straight and tight. The bell must work.

C – is for chain & crank. Chains need to be lubricated & the pedals (cranks) need to spin freely.

Quick – is for quick release. Levers must be installed correctly and tight.

Throw in a ‘D’ for Drop: lift the bike a few inches from the ground and drop it. If something falls off…you might need more than a minute. Try your breaks as you ride off.

If your bike passes the ABC Quick Check, get riding. If something doesn’t seem right or you suspect something is losing its grip, visit your neighbourhood bike service centre. ABC Quick Check is a smart way to keep your bike in good shape and you safe. Get into the habit.

Lock it or Lose It

Four methods thieves use to steal a bike

  • Steal an unlocked bike.
  • Break the lock.
  • Break what the bike is locked to.
  • Steal parts of the bike that are unlocked.

Losing a bike through theft can be a painful and expensive experience. There are no full-proof methods to secure bikes but here are some bike lock basics.

Four of the most effective ways to keep your bike from being stolen

  • Always lock your bike. Half of all bikes stolen are stolen from home.
  • Use a good lock. Buy two of the best locks you can afford. Having two different kinds of locks increases safety.
  • Secure your bike frame and your back wheel. (Two locks!)
  • Do not lock your bike to a chain link fence or a wooden porch.

Register your bike. When the police hear about numerous bike thefts in a neighbourhood they know that there is an organized bike thief in the area and can help stop the operation.

ABOUT CAN-BIKE

The CAN-BIKE safe cycling skills program is the standard for bicycle education across Canada. CAN-BIKE Courses teach riding skills, traffic analysis skills, and collision avoidance techniques. They also provide the basics on safe equipment, and a basic bike inspection. Regardless of your experience, CAN-BIKE will make your cycling more effective, and give you a greater sense of confidence and control in traffic.

CAN-BIKE is the only accredited course of its kind. Courses are taught exclusively by instructors certified by the CAN-BIKE program. Instructors are knowledgeable about the Highway Traffic Act and teach cycling skills such as anticipating traffic dynamics, recognizing road hazards, and collision-avoidance techniques.

Our most advanced course, CAN-BIKE 2, is required training for many people who cycle on the job. In fact, all Toronto Police bicycle patrol officers are required to take CAN-BIKE 2.

Cycling is a popular means of active transportation; it can be done outdoors where you can appreciate the scenery alone or with friends. Cycling give one an opportunity to enjoy nature in the outskirts as well as within the city area. It is also a great form of exercise, involving all your muscles, especially the legs and heart.

  • Start slowly so that your body, and especially your joints and muscles can warm up. Your body works better when it is warm.
  • Remember to replace lost fluids-you will get thirsty in hot weather as well as cold. If it's cold enough for a water bottle to freeze try a water bag between layers on your back.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Road users have Collisions, Children have 'accidents'

For the last couple years I have made a point of correcting people when the word “Accident” is used to describe an event where people, vehicles, etc come into contact. A couple of weeks ago, my correction of someone’s use of the word led to an email debate over Accident vs. Collision/Crash/Wreck.

That is what prompted this post.

Definitions:

According the Oxford Dictionary an accident is described as:
Noun – 1.) an unfortunate incident that happens unexpectedly and unintentionally. 2.) an incident that happens by chance or without apparent cause. 3.) chance

I will concede that according to some of that definition, an accident could be used to describe a crash. But, it truly is not unexpected, a crash never happens without apparent cause and chance? Please. I believe this definition was never meant to be used to describe a collision.

Using the same Oxford Dictionary a Collision is:
Noun – an instance of colliding
And a Crash is:
Verb – (of a vehicle) collide violently with an obstacle or another vehicle.
Finally Wreck is:
Noun – 3.) a building, vehicle, etc. that has been destroyed or badly damaged. 4) a road or rail crash.

Using any of those definitions, Collision, Crash, Wreck is far more accurate than accident to describe the coming together of vehicle, bicycles, cars and people.

Whoose to blame:

Collectively we all need to get our houses in order to help prevent collisions and something as simple as changing our vernacular can be a benefit.

I believe that when we use the word accident we give people an ‘out’ of the responsibility that needs to be felt. Accident allows people the thought that what happened couldn’t be avoided; it was something that was unforeseen and unavoidable. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The common denominator is human behaviour, which leads to human error. The worlds safest roadways can become filled with the bodies of dead and injured by the factor of disregarding simple safety and common sense rules while the worst roads travelled with awareness, adherence to laws, operating within safety guides for the conditions and alert behaviours can be injury and death free.

Now, I will also concede that law enforcement, media, insurance companies and government play a role in this mess. The reports that the police in Ontario file with the MTO are called Accident Reports. Most insurance company websites will refer to the word accident, media will report accidents as they happen.

The term accident became part of the vernacular of describing collisions and crashes somewhere along the way and has cemented itself there. We shouldn’t be using the word just because that is what people are used to hearing. We should be using the words that describe what it is. I think we can all be leaders by changing the words and helping to put blame where it belongs.

Accident makes the liability, blame and cause of collisions minimal at best and creates an escape clause for those responsible for the event. I saw an insurance company website recently that promoted a "responsibility project" that used the term accident all through their material. If any industry has a reason to put blame and fault where it belongs, it’s the insurance industry.

Collisions are predictable and preventable. Drive distracted, impaired, fatigued, aggressive, unaware or unskilled and you will cause injuries and or death.

Nothing on the roads just all of a sudden happens. There is a period where the event develops or unfolds and someone has done something wrong, illegal or unsafe.

Sure, you never get home and say to your spouse, “Wow, I just saw a huge collision.” You more than likely say accident. The person who was hit in a collision might say they were the victims of an accident, but the totality of the event is a collision that could have been prevented.

And yes, sometimes even the people who are hit can bear some responsibility. If you are driving aware and alert, you might see that a car is going to go through a red light, but all too often, we see that we have the perceived right of way and assume the way is clear for us.

So do us all a favour, stop using the word accident. Collision is more accurate, crash is more dynamic and wreck, well that’s just plain cool.

I have tried and tried and tried, but no matter what, I can’t think of one scenario that can allow for the word accident to be used. Can you? Let me know, have your say. Tell me I’m wrong or tell me I’m right. Leave a comment to share with everyone.

If you want to use the word accident, keep it to describing what children have when they are toilet training.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Do we tolerate too many traffic deaths?


This is the title of a New York Times article from May 27, 2010. Some of the people who I receive regular updates from their writings and agencies were interviewed for the article.

I don't respond to a many articles I read but this one I felt compelled to. The reason? This is a topic that I agree completely with. We DO tolerate too many traffic deaths.

Here is my response. (#41 of the comment section.) Does that mean I can say that I have been published in the NYT?!?

Do we tolerate too many traffic deaths? Yes we do!

I fail to see why there is a debate with this issue. One death on our roads is one too many. The goal of zero deaths is honourable, but not likely. Having said that, any progress to attaining that goal is worthwhile and necessary.

Recently the world went into a sate of panic and fear based on a disease that killed a few hundred people and was classified as a pandemic. Governments were throwing obscene amounts of money towards the prevention, treatment and education for the public and health officials.

Yet, the pandemic numbers of injured and dead from the H1N1 globally did not come close to the number of injured and dead in any civilized nation.

You can argue cause and reason, factors and formulas or environment and engineering all you want. The common denominator is human behaviour which leads to human error. The worlds safest roadways can become filled with the bodies of dead and injured by the factor of disregarding simple safety and common sense rules while the worst roads travelled with awareness, adherence to laws, operating within safety guides for the conditions and alert behaviours can be injury and death free.

I believe the media, insurance companies, governments and law enforcement bears the burden of one major problem in the acceptance of road deaths and injuries. The term accident became part of the vernacular of describing collisions and crashes somewhere along the way and has cemented itself there.

Accident makes the liability, blame and cause of collisions minimal at best and creates an escape clause for those responsible for the event. I saw an insurance company website recently that promoted a "responsibility project" that used the term accident all through their material. If any industry has a reason to put blame and fault where it belongs, its the insurance industry.

Collisions are predictable and preventable. Drive distracted, impaired, fatigued, aggressive, unaware or unskilled and you will cause injuries and or death.

Do we tolerate too many traffic deaths? Yes we do. One person with one gun and fifteen bullets on a rampage would be national headlines for days/months. That persons actions, background, triggers, soci-economic status and position n society would make for grand headlines and debate.

One person with one car driving impaired or aggressive, distracted or unskilled has at any given moment in a city or urban environment, the potential to kill many, many more people, but yet we respond with barely a raised eyebrow at that person being arrested or crashing without incident.

Last point. Think of the money that is directed to health care and the legal industries from the results of collisions. Billions of dollars to treat the injured, facilitate long term disability changes, prosecute accused persons, incarcerate those and pay for the ensuing law suits. I have no idea how much money is directed to just those two ares, but suffice to say; could you imagine how many hungry children could be fed with that money. How many seniors could receive better and more adequate health care. How many veterans could be honourably be taken care of for their service to our countries. The laundry list of positive uses of the redirection of those monies is long and far better for the overall good of our communities.

Do we tolerate too many traffic deaths? Yes, sadly we do. So lets stop tolerating them. Train better drivers, punish those appropriately who endanger public safety, place the responsibility squarely on the shoulders of those that deserve it and treat the totality of event for what they are...an ongoing pandemic.

Sgt. Tim Burrows
Toronto Police Service - Traffic Services

Photo credit: Red Huber/Orlando Sentinel, via Associated Press