Sunday, October 29, 2006

Reacting to events

Often TLC is forced to respond to situations not of our making. This past week we have responded to two negative developments:
  • One, McMaster University sails through a paving job on campus with no regard to (their own) official plan to make the campus more pedestrian friendly.
  • On a much more tragic note, the other situation involved the death of a cyclist, and a friend, John Korten, on Monday, October 23, 2006. He was killed when a motor vehicle struck him on Dundas Street in Burlington, Ontario. Police are still investigating.
As sustainable transportation advocates, we refuse to let these incidents pass without corrective action. We often start with a letter.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Gary Crowell, Chief, Halton Regional Police Service

Transportation for Liveable Communities is a volunteer working group of the Ontario Public Interest Research Group based at McMaster University. TLC works to improve conditions that support sustainable transportation, including walking, cycling, public transit and car-pooling.

We are writing in response to media articles on the death of a cyclist (John Korten) who was hit and killed by a motor vehicle on Dundas Street in Burlington the morning of Monday, October 23, 2006.

Cycling needs to be encouraged as a cheap, clean, healthy and effecient mode of transportation. Yet, too often in our members' experience, drivers do not always take proper care, and indeed a minority at times drive recklessly and in a threatening manner dangerous to the well-being of cyclist and other road users.

The police have a very important role to play in ensuring that road safety is adhered to through enforcement, education and through investigations and laying of charges.

We hope to work with the area Police Services to ensure that cyclists receive due respect when it comes to investigating fatalities like this. There is, unfortunately, a perception that running over cyclists too often does not result in charges; this, if it were the case, would of course send a dangerous message both to drivers and potential cyclists.

Questions in the minds of our members basically come down to these two: If the victim in this case, a father of three young children, is run down from behind, does that not indicate the driver of the motor vehicle was not operating it in a safe manner? If the victim were in a motor vehicle, would the process of laying charges be any different?

We do not mean to imply that the police are not doing everything possible to respect the rights of the victim; we only want assurance that in bicycle/vehicle collisions a full investigation take place that in no way marginalizes the seriousness of the tragic event simply because the victim was riding a bicycle.

TLC would appreciate any news of developments in the investigation.

Respectfully yours,

Randy Kay
for Transportation for Liveable Communities

cc Chief Brian Mullan, Hamilton Police Service

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