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08/23/2007

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Alan Medcalf

Remove Ontario Provincial Sales Tax on bicycles, accessories, parts and service when bought from (and installed by) a bicycle shop.

As a precedent, British Columbia removed their PST (called Social Services Tax there) in 1981. (Ref: http://www.sbr.gov.bc.ca/ctb/publications/bulletins/sst_001.pdf)

Removing PST on bicycles and related goods and services from bicycle shops would provide an incentive for both commuters and recreational cyclists.

For commuters, this helps to move in the direction of recognizing cycling as a viable form of transit. Remember that under certain conditions, CRA allows mileage as a deductible expense, and public transit passes are now a deductible employment expense.

For recreational cyclists, this reduces the entry and ongoing costs of engaging in an activity which aligns nicely with the Ministry of Health Promotion promotion of more active lifestyles.

It'd be good to pursue this federally as well, removing both GST and current import tariffs on bicycles.

The "tax cost" of doing this pales in comparison to the handouts being given to the auto industry.

This move can have all kinds of "green" and "health/wellness" spin applied to it for maximum political points.

What a better incentive to help get more people on bikes more often!!

...alan

Alan Medcalf

Include better coverage and acknowledgement of bicycles as vehicles and related traffic situations in the Ontario Drivers Handbook.

Currently, snowmobiles get more coverage than bicycles!

There is information related to sharing the road with bicycles in the Drivers Handbook, yet it's scattered in small bits and pieces. It would be helpful to provide a chapter on the topic, and ensure that questions on the written exam are included as well.

Related: include specific bicycle-related traffic situations in the in-car driver examination.

Related: introduce stiffer fines/penalties that apply to all "vulnerable road users". Fines are doubled around road construction sites and schools already. In addition to applying this approach to locational situations, also apply it to situations involving road users traditionally or uniquely vulnerable to on-road misadventure, specifically including pedestrians and cyclists.
...alan

Alan Medcalf

Follow through on the unanimous passing of John Milloy's motion last fall in the provincial legislature, specifically regarding cycling related education and law enforcement. Milloy's motion dealt with three things: helmets, education and enforcement.

The call for mandatory helmets got all the grandstanding, crocodile tears and press coverage. Then Transport Minister Cansfield went on record saying that wasn't going to happen, and instead education and enforcement would receive attention.

Almost a year later, we're still waiting.

Let's see some directed action through police forces to both crack down on unsafe motorist activity that endangers cyclists, as well as (at least) an annual blitz on kamikaze, dumb and dangerous cyclists who engage in risky behaviour and give all cyclists a bad name.

Let's see the Minister of Health Promotion get behind the CAN-BIKE program (run by the Cdn Cycling Assoc and partly funded through Trillium grants) and roll it out province-wide, with incentives to attract instructors.

In addition, let's make it mandatory that all people engaged in providing "bicycle safety education" (volunteers, police, etc) in any venue (schools, bike rodeos, etc) be CAN-BIKE certified as instructors.

...alan

jason

Require all bikes sold in the province to meet the requirements of the Highway Traffic Act: items such as bells, reflectors and reflective tape, and helmets should be included with the purchase of each bike. Could you image buying a new car and then buying after-market kits to get headlamps and a horn?

geoffrey

Act on the Coroner's Report:

http://www.toronto.ca/cycling/coroner_index.htm

A report on cycling fatalities in Toronto
1986 - 1998

Recommendations for reducing cycling injuries and death

Prepared by:
W. J. Lucas, M.D., C.C.F.P.
Regional Coroner for Toronto
July 1, 1998

particularly;
http://www.toronto.ca/cycling/coroner_appendix.htm

Section 130(2) Careless Driving

Maintaining an appropriate and safe distance between motor vehicles and bicycles need more emphasis in the HTA.

Suggested wording for consideration is as follows:

Upon passing a bicycle, drivers or operators of motor vehicles shall maintain a distance of least 1 meter beside. Upon traveling behind the bicycle, drivers or operators of motor vehicles shall maintain a distance of at least 3 meters behind. Where a traffic lane is too narrow to share safely with a motor vehicle, it is legal for a bicycle to take the whole lane by riding in the center of it.

The source for this recommendation is the Ontario Ministry of Transportation Cycling Skills (1985) publication. Motor vehicle operators must appreciate that a bicycle is a vehicle and is entitled to dominate a lane where it is appropriate to do so. This concept is widely taught in bicycle skill training courses.

Section 141(2)(5)(6) Turns:

Wording in this section should be reviewed to identify the rights of bicycles as vehicles occupying the roadway.

In urban centers, there is a concern about motorists turning right at an intersection at the same time that a cyclist is proceeding straight through the intersection. In situations where bicycle lanes exist, the problem is compounded even further as the motor vehicle is positioned further to the left in the curb lane.

A safe minimum passing requirement is law in eleven states presently;

http://www.bikingbis.com/blog/_archives/2007/8/21/3172877.html

"The following states require giving bicyclists at 3-foot margin when
passing: Arizona Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, Maine, Minnesota,
Oklahoma, Tennessee, Utah, Wisconsin."

geoffrey

Before we launch into our fellow cyclists for doing stupid things like riding on the sidewalk, blowing red lights and stop signs; let us take a look at their motivations in doing so.
Perceived lack of safety; William, you yourself have remarked about being told to get off the road by motorists. These are the same motorists who are supposedly tested on their knowledge of the HTA and ability to use a motor vehicle responsibly. The matter that this issue recurs suggests driver education/driver licencing is broken. Please address the honourable Donna Cansfield.
On making a left hand turn from intersections using buried switches (rather than timers). A cyclist is required to use a pedestrian switch at the right extremity of the sidewalk that cyclists are forbidden to use to get a green? Meanwhile the left turn position under the HTA and lectured by CANBIKE is the left hand side of the lane? The rigamarole in negotiating this nonsense is conflating at best.
Given that at any given intersection motorists will blow stop signs/red lights at a ratio of at least 10 to 1 to cyclists ( I challenge you to challenge my results as I've compiled them for some years), I don't see any point in motorists bringing this red herring up as defense of their own incapability to observe traffic law. Wrt the left turn issue, this is a danger for cyclists that is a design defect that remains.
Cyclists do stupid things for various reasons and for the most part these are brought about by motor vehiclists aggressive actions and motorist stupidity. Being intimidated by 2 tonnes of cage pilotted by an ignorant and/or impaired motorholic goes without saying; A motor vehicle used as a weapon is still assault with a weapon.

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