On my way to work this afternoon in the middle of the downtown, I watched three cyclists riding on the sidewalk and two motorists running a yellow-then-red light, and I wondered: who do we want to target with our law enforcement resources?
There is only so much money, so where do we want to put it? I see letters to the editor regularly from pedestrians who would like to see more enforcement of municipal bylaws the prohibit full-size bicycles from being ridden on sidewalks. This cycling behaviour is an annoyance, and possibly a hazard, to many pedestrians. It must be stopped, say the letter writers.
I watched two 150-pound teens on 30-pound stunt bikes who were doing tricks on the King Street sidewalks, then watched them race up the sidewalk of a side street, going from zero to about 25 km/h in a matter of a few minutes. I watched a 180-pound male with hair greyer than mine riding his 30-pound bike on the sidewalk on King, dodging peds and bollards. If he got to 15 km/h, I'd be surprised.
Then I watched two 4,000-pound cars go from 30 km/h to 50 km/h in a few seconds to beat a light. As pedestrian at that moment, I have a pretty clear idea which I would have preferred to have a collision with, if I was forced to choose.
Even from a revenue perspective, the choice is reasonably clear: the fine for riding an adult-sized bicycle on the sidewalk ranges from $30 to $90 in Ontario. The Highway Traffic Act fine for running a red light light is $325. It would take a lot of bicycle tickets to equal that given to one red-light-running motorist (unless, of course, we're talking about red-light-running cyclists).
So it is with interest that I see that the Ontario coroner's office is launching a review of pedestrian fatalities in Ontario, just three weeks after announcing a similar review of cycling fatalities in Ontario. I'd hope that this review will demonstrate clearly just where law enforcement dollars and resources in Ontario should be focused.
But I think you already know where.