If you want to say anything about the Ontario Ministry of Transportation draft cycling strategy, you've got 60 days to do so.
The Ministry is among several provincial agencies that has had something to say about cycling in Ontario. The office of the Chief Coroner this summer released a cycling death review that had a lot to say to various ministries and governments about cycling safety. The Ontario Medical Association weighed in last year with its Enhancing Cycling Safety in Ontario, and various agencies of public health have contributed their thoughts about active lifestyles.
But this is the big one. The Ministry of Transportation actually designates money that builds things: whether that's paved, segregated bicycle lanes or bicycle storage at public transit facilities. And the ministry sets the tone for every new driver who is licensed in Ontario. If you want Ontario drivers to be trained to share the road, you have to have the Ministry of Transportation on side.
So really, you should read the draft strategy and offer your comments. And don't delay. Sixty days have a way of running out. In fact, if you are reading this on Saturday: only 59 days left.
You've probably read something about the draft strategy elsewhere. To recap, the strategy is looking at: better cycling infrastructure through a provincial cycling network, and through provincial support (cash, advice, policy) of municipally authorized cycling networks; better cycling safety, through education for cyclists and drivers and updates to the (incredibly outdated) Highway Traffic Act; and better overwatch, through monitoring and co-ordination (which sounds like a bonanza for consultants, but really does have a bearing on how improvements are made).
It is interesting that two recommendations of the Chief Coroner's report, made specifically to the Ministry of Transportation, are not in any way addressed in the draft strategy:
First, no mention of mandatory bicycle helmet legislation -- which really stirred up the beehive when it was suggested back in June of this year.
Second, no mention of the one-metre/three-foot passing law, which has been the subject of one private member's bill and many lobbying attempts. It appears that it continues to go nowhere fast.
Neither does the draft cycling strategy address the question of e-bikes. There has been a lot of energy generated about e-bikes, whether police are enforcing the law, whether the law is clear enough, whether e-bike users should be required to be licensed. Other than defining what an e-bike is and where it can be used, no discussion of the e-bike's future.
Of course, there are 60 days to discuss all of this. Go to the website, read the draft strategy and press the button to submit your responses.