All road users will be under the microscope next week as London Police launch a traffic enforcement blitz at some of the city’s busiest intersections.
The five-day initiative is an effort to ensure pedestrians, cyclists and motorists behave in a safe manner.
In combination with the effort, the City of London launched Vision Zero, an educational campaign reminding all road users of the importance of making eye contact and scanning intersections before going through them.
“Any collisions are too many. We’re striving for zero,” said Doug MacRae, London’s director of roads and transportation.
Police officers will be on the look out for common infractions, such as pedestrians speeding up to beat the hand signal on the crosswalk, pedestrians crossing an intersection while looking at their mobile phones, drivers failing to check their blind spots for cyclists and pedestrians, drivers rushing to make left turns on a stale yellow light as well as cyclists lacking safety equipment, such as bells and lights.
“We really want people to understand that they’re sharing the roadway with pedestrians, cyclists and motorists,” said Const. D’Arcy Bruce.
For pedestrians like Carlos Buitrago, who constantly crosses the intersection of Oxford and Richmond streets, driver violations are the cause of daily frustration.
“Sometimes the drivers are aggressive, especially on left turns,” he said. “If it’s a red light sometimes one or two cars behind the one [that’s supposed to turn] will try to make it as well … and when you’re trying to cross, you only have about 20 seconds to get to the other side.”
But for others, like public transit user Kevin Garton, it’s pedestrians who also aren’t following the rules.
“It often takes two or three lights to get through because of [pedestrians],” Garton said.
“They’re usually on their phone or they’re crossing when they shouldn’t be and it’s making times hard for public transit users because it takes longer to get back home.”
No road user is exempt from the rules
For Ben Cowie, cyclist and owner of London’s Bicycle Cafe, he says there’s no need for a police blitz on distracted walking or distracted cycling.
“It’s absurd to put the onus for road safety on vulnerable road users like pedestrians and cyclists,” he said. “The only dangerous vehicles on our streets are cars and trucks and it’s the responsibility of the designers of those streets to make them safe.”
The city has seen multiple traffic accidents at or near signalized intersections. In fact, number from London police show that in the last five years, 371 pedestrian collisions and 193 cyclist collisions have been recorded.
“Our road system isn’t designed to accommodate or prioritize pedestrians or cyclists,” Cowie said. “It’s designed for the convenience of motorists exclusively.”
While London Police say each case of a road infraction is different, they say no type of road user will be exempt from following the rules.
“We’re all responsible,” Bruce assured.
Motorists, cyclists and pedestrians who commit violations can expect warnings and in some cases, a ticket.
Date: September 14, 2019