Tuesday, April 19, 2011

2010/2011 School Crossing Guard of the Year

The following note was read by the Toronto Police Services Board Chair, Dr. Alok Mukherjee to honour the 2010/2011 School Crossing Guard of The Year, Ms Lois Fulton.

Crossing Guard of the Year Award Presentation

"Each year we receive many nominations for the Crossing Guard of the Year Award. It is a very difficult task to choose just one person from all the nominations. All those who were nominated by their divisional co-ordinators should be very proud of their accomplishments.

Tonight we will honour a guard from 31 Division.

At the time of these incidents, Ms. Lois Fulton was employed by 31 division on a part time basis (Spare Guard). She was a guard for 15 years prior to taking some time off for medical reasons. She returned in 2009 on a part time basis, but is now employed on a full time basis working the intersection of Grandravine Dr. and Sentinel Rd.

There are three letters from the public describing the actions of this guard. Two of the letters describe the first situation at Grandravine and Sentinel, one from a witness and one from the victim’s mother. These letters are written by new Canadians who struggle with English, in one case the grandson (grade two, approx. seven years old helped with the letter, the mother of the victims also received help to write her letter). The fact that two people who struggle with the English language took the time to write these letters speaks to their passion with respect to the actions of this guard. The third letter is from the victim and describes the situation at Lawrence and Ralph.

In February Lois was working at the intersection of Grandravine and Sentinel. Two families approached the intersection, the witness with his seven year old grandson and the victim’s mother with her infant in a stroller and her twin four year olds boys.

On this day the twins were not listening to, or obeying their mother. They approached the intersection, the mother pushing the baby in the stroller. The boys ran off into the intersection. A car was approaching the intersection at a high rate of speed, the driver, while talking on a cell phone, did not stop at the stop sign. The childrens mother screamed, the guard ran out into the intersection, dropped her stop sign, scooped the boys up in her arms and ran them across the street. She slipped once but maintained her hold on the boys and then pushed them out of the way. The guard was now directly in the path of the oncoming car. The guard jumped and at the last second the driver saw her and swerved his car narrowly missing her. The mother continued to watch in horror and scream for the safety of her children and the crossing guard. The car continued very quickly through the intersection and no one was able to obtain a licence plate. The witness further advised that he saw this guard save two other children on two other dates, unfortunately no details of these events were given. Both the witness and the boys mother stated that they wanted this guard to remain at this intersection on a full time basis. They further stated that the guard takes the time to talk to the children and teach them how to safely cross the street and the importance of listening to their parents.

In April Lois was working at the intersection of Lawrence Avenue and Ralph St. Ms. (edited), an 80 year old woman who advises she is not in good health was crossing the street with her shopping buggy. Ms. (edited) advised that she is no longer able to care for herself so is moving in to live with her son. This incident occurred on April 14th and she was to move in with her son on April 16th.

As Ms. (edited) was crossing the street she stepped in a crack in the road, her hip gave out and she began to fall in the path of a large cement truck. Ms. (edited) advised that she did not have the ability to get out of the way and thought she was going to die. All of a sudden Lois ran to her and pulled her out of the way just in time. Ms. (edited) grocery buggy was not so lucky. As Ms. Ronston states it was “a small price to pay” for her life. Ms. Ronston states that Lois seems to genuinely care about the people she crosses as they both could have been killed.

All of the citizens in these incidents cannot praise Lois enough for her selfless acts of courage to save the lives of others without thoughts for her own safety.

(left to right) Superintendent Chris White, 31 Division, Lois Fulton, Dr. Alok Mukherjee.
Lois is the epitome of our Service Mission Statement and is truely making our city the best place to be by teaching safety to our youth one child at a time. She is helping with the Sevice Priority of pedestrian safety and displays the core values of reliability and positive attitude."

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Traffic Safety Pop Quiz - The recap

Thanks to everyone who took part in the #TrafficSafety Pop Quiz today.  I hope that people were able to take away some value from it and that it encourages more cooperative road use between cyclists and motor vehicles.

I know there is a lot more information that could be covered, and over time it will be.  In the meantime, for anyone who wants to brush up on their knowledge or clarify anything, I have included some good resource links at the bottom of this post.

Here is a re-cap of the quiz:
Q1) What is the maximum tire size which allows a bicycle to be ridden on a sidewalk in Toronto.
A1) 61cm or 24 inches
Big problem with this is the intent of the law is to allow for younger/smaller children to learn to ride in a safe environment while they become accustomed to traffic laws and traffic safety.  It isn't to allow adults the opportunity to free wheel where pedestrians require a safety zone.  Even a child is taught to give way to the pedestrians, let them know you are coming and ride only as fast as you can safely manoeuvre.

Q2) Can a cyclist be charged with impaired driving?
A2) No.
The Criminal Code specifies a motor vehicle in the operation.  But, you can be charged/arrested for intoxicated in a public place, careless driving and any other offences that may be committed as a result of the impairment.

Q3) Can a cyclist be charged with operating an unsafe vehicle?
A3) Yes. 
All vehicles operated must meet safety requirements.  Those include brakes, steering, lighting, horn, general maintenance, frame integrity, tires and over-all road worthiness.

Q4) What is the responsibility of a driver when passing a bicycle?
A4) HTA 148(5) Every person in charge of a vehicle on a highway who is overtaking another vehicle shall turn out to the left so far as may be necessary to avoid a collision with the vehicle overtaken, and the person overtaken is not required to leave more than one-half of the roadway free. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, s. 148 (5).
Bicycles overtaken
148(6) Every person on a bicycle or motor assisted bicycle who is overtaken by a vehicle travelling at a greater speed shall turn out to the right and allow the vehicle to pass and the vehicle overtaking shall turn out to the left so far as may be necessary to avoid a collision. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, s. 148 (6).

Q5) How far out from the edge of the roadway should a cyclist ride?
A5) Only as much as is practicable.
This may mean that from time to time a cyclist will travel in such a position that they prevent vehicles from over taking them.  This is lawful and often safer for the cyclist. (Passing parked cars, avoiding road debris, potholes, sewer grates, etc.) Drivers may pass a cyclist riding in this position ONLY if it is safe to do so AND they allow enough room to pass the cyclist.
Once the cyclist is able, they must then return to riding as close as practical to the edge of the roadway.

Q6) Could a bicycle helmet save your life in a collision or fall?
A6) Yes.
Last year Traffic Services attended a collision where a cyclist fell while riding in the path of a car.  The right side tires of the car ran over the cyclists head, which was in a helmet.  The helmet was cracked...the cyclist had a headache.
Helmets are designed to reduce potential head/brain injuries. There is no guarantee that by wearing one all injuries will be prevented, but there is a guarantee that by not wearing one you dramatically increase the potential for injury.

Q7) Do you have to stop at a stop sign when there is no traffic around that would be affected?
A7) Yes
HTA 136 136. (1) Every driver or street car operator approaching a stop sign at an intersection,

(a) shall stop his or her vehicle or street car at a marked stop line or, if none, then immediately before entering the nearest crosswalk or, if none, then immediately before entering the intersection; and
(b) shall yield the right of way to traffic in the intersection or approaching the intersection on another highway so closely that to proceed would constitute an immediate hazard and, having so yielded the right of way, may proceed. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, s. 136 (1).
It doesn't matter if there is any other traffic around...all must stop.  This includes cyclists and drivers!

Q8) What is the safest way to make a left turn in traffic on a bicycle?
A8) Two possible answers...proper shoulder checks, signals, movement, etc and proceed like any other vehicle on the road.  Our suggestion is to dismount from the right curb, cross the street as a pedestrian and then resume riding.  This is not only safer, but often faster.

Q9) If there is room available, is it ok to pass a right turning vehicle on the right side?
We have all heard the complaints that drivers don't look before turning, so why put yourself in that position.  When you see a car that you believe will be turning right (signals, slowing, edging to the right, waiting at an intersection/driveway) you should make your movement to move to the left and pass there.  The other option is to dismount and walk across the intersection as a pedestrian.  Yes it takes a little time, but it is a lot safer.  Passing on the right also goes against the cycling argument for a space cushion to the left...when you pass on the right, you are more than likely volunteering to give away that cushion and weakening a valid argument.

Q10) Is a cyclist required to ride within a bicycle lane when it is available?
A10) No.
The cycling lane is designated for cycling only.  Not fro drivers of motor vehicles to use or stop in.  But,  if a cyclist is keeping up with the flow of traffic or travelling faster than other vehicles, it is better for them to ride within the mutual use lanes.

A11) When a collision occurs on a highway, all persons involved directly or indirectly shall remain.  Does this include cyclists?
A11) Yes
200. (1) Where an accident occurs on a highway, every person in charge of a vehicle or street car that is directly or indirectly involved in the accident shall,

(a) remain at or immediately return to the scene of the accident;
(b) render all possible assistance; and
(c) upon request, give in writing to anyone sustaining loss or injury or to any police officer or to any witness his or her name, address, driver’s licence number and jurisdiction of issuance, motor vehicle liability insurance policy insurer and policy number, name and address of the registered owner of the vehicle and the vehicle permit number. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, s. 200 (1); 1997, c. 12, s. 16.

Highway Traffic Act

City of Toronto Cycling Information


Ontario Cycling Association

Toronto Police Bicylce Registration

Traffic Safety Pop Quiz - The rules

Today at 11am @TrafficServices will be doing a traffic safety quiz on Twitter.
(I will be turning off Twitter to Facebook posts as this does fill up people's walls)
On Twitter follow the hash tag #trafficsafety.

Please include that hash tag with your response or comments.

Questions will be identified as Q1, Q2, Q3, etc. answers should be #trafficsafety A1, A2, A3, etc.

At the end of the quiz, I will post resources and links for more information.

This quiz will consist of 11 questions. It will move fast, but I will try to give everyone time to respond if they wish.

Feel free to ask supplemental questions and I will attempt to answer those as well.

Please ReTweet (RT) any information that you find useful or relevant, including the #trafficsafety

As always, keep the answers clean and respectful.

The goal of this is to raise awareness with education for issues regarding road safety in the drive to reduce collisions, injury and death.

Thanks, have fun and see you there.

This is meant to be fun and educational so enjoy it!!!