The comments received in response to this proposal were carefully considered in developing the final Cycling Strategy.
The large number of comments received indicates that there is a high level of interest in cycling in Ontario. Respondents were overwhelmingly supportive of cycling and generally appreciative of the efforts underway to support cycling as a mode of transportation.
A significant number of respondents suggested that the Strategy should be broader in vision and involve other ministries.
The final Strategy includes a 20-year Vision with Aspirational Goals and is an all-of-provincial-government statement of intent that addresses areas of mandates for several provincial ministries, in addition to that of the Ministry of Transportation.
More generally, the Strategy is predicated on partnerships, not just between the Ministry of Transportation and other ministries, but also between the provincial and municipal governments, non-governmental organizations and others. In fact, some Strategic Directions in the Strategy speak directly to this, stating for example, that the province will:
• Partner with municipalities to implement Complete Streets policies and develop cycling or active transportation plans as applicable;
• Partner with municipalities and transit agencies to integrate cycling with transit; and
• Work with police services to build consistency of enforcement of existing traffic laws to improve cycling safety.
Many respondents expressed a desire for improved infrastructure for cycling. Many of these comments were non-specific: requesting more paved shoulders generally, for example. There were also significant numbers of comments in support of more specific ideas, such as establishing firm budgets for cycling infrastructure, designing Complete Streets and identifying a province-wide network of cycling routes.
Two of the five Aspirational Goals in the final Cycling Strategy speak directly to the issue of cycling infrastructure:
• Ontario’s cities and towns will have interconnected networks of safe cycling routes enabling people to cycle to work, school, home and key destinations; and
• Ontario has an integrated, province-wide network of cycling routes.
Several of the Strategic Directions also speak directly to this issue, stating that the province will:
• Develop a funding partnership with municipalities and the federal government to build provincial and municipal cycling routes;
• Make adherence to design guidelines conditional to receiving funding;
• Fund provincial and municipal cycling infrastructure pilot projects to test new ideas and gather data;
• Remove barriers and streamline approval processes to implement cycling infrastructure; and
• Identify a province-wide cycling network and use it to prioritize future infrastructure investments on provincial highways.
Many respondents asked that the Ministry make amendments in the Highway Traffic Act (HTA) to better support cycling. Many comments were received in support of a minimum one-metre passing law that would oblige motorists to maintain at least one metre of space between their vehicle and any cyclist they pass. Many comments were also received on the introduction of a mandatory helmet law. However, opinion was split between those in favour and those opposed. A significant number of respondents also asked that the definition of e-bikes be reviewed, that truck side guards be made mandatory and that contra-flow bike lanes be expressly permitted under the HTA.
The Cycling Strategy includes a Strategic Direction stating that the province will review and recommend cycling-related legislation based on latest research. How and when this will be implemented will be determined during the development of future Action Plans and through the Provincial Legislative Process.
Many respondents commented that there is a need for more education for road users, motorists and cyclists alike. A significant number suggested that schools would be an appropriate place to deliver this education, with some even suggesting that cycling skills be added to the curriculum. Support was also expressed for the idea of increasing content in the Driver’s Handbook series that addresses safe motorist-cyclist interaction.
Safer highways and streets is a major focus of the final Strategy and two Strategic Directions speak directly to the important role of education in this. Specifically, the Strategy states that the province will:
• Continue to better educate all road users on the rules of the road and build cycling skills; and
• Encourage more cycling education in schools and at the community level.
In addition to the aspects of the final Strategy described above, the document also includes Strategic Directions related to:
• Planning and developing healthy, active and prosperous communities;
• Accelerating awareness of the benefits of cycling and culture shift; and
• Encouraging the growth of cycle tourism in Ontario.
Details on how the Strategy’s various Strategic Directions will be implemented will be determined during the development of subsequent Action Plans.