I came across this study from NACTO (the National Association of City
Transportation Officials) that concludes more bike lanes work together with
bike share programs while reducing the risk of collisions for cyclists. The
article says: "In cities that are building protected bike lane networks,
cycling is increasing and the risk of injury or death is decreasing.
Pairing appropriately-scaled bike share with protected bike lanes increases
ridership and is essential to equity and mobility efforts."
In looking at various safety issues they also conclude that "Mandatory
helmet laws reduce bike share ridership and don’t increase safety."
Bike lanes, not helmets: Winnipeg city staffer says we need more protected
The city's active transportation coordinator believes the city could do
more to improve cycling safety by building more protected bike lanes and
promoting education, rather than forcing adult cyclists to wear helmets.
Adult cyclists in Winnipeg won’t be forced to strap on a helmet anytime
On Monday, the city’s protection, community services and parks committee
voted 3-1 to accept a review on local cycling safety measures.
Written by Stephanie Whitehouse, the city’s active transportation
coordinator, the report lists the merit of helmet usage, bike lights and
bells, but recommends no change to the current rules or enforcement
Last summer, committee member Coun. Russ Wyatt requested a review on the
requirement for all cyclists to wear helmets.
The best thing for reducing injury, according to Whitehouse's report, is
“designing cycling routes separated from vehicles.”
She believes the city could do more to improve cycling safety by building
more protected bike lanes and promoting education, rather than force adult
cyclists to wear helmets.
“We are, again, focused on improvements to prevent incidents from happening
in the first place,” said Whitehouse to reporters, underlining the need for
protected bike lanes, design improvements to intersections and more
education around road safety.
She explained that to look at the issue of making helmets mandatory, a more
in-depth study would be needed.
Besides the Winnipeg Police Service and the Winnipeg Regional Health
Authority, the city’s legal services department and members of the public
would need to be consulted on the matter, said Whitehouse.
She added that councillors would also have to approve funnelling away funds
from active transportation to pay for such a review.
Committee chairman Coun. Mike Pagtakhan agrees with Whitehouse’s stance
that cycling should be made safer through better infrastructure, like
dedicated bike routes.
He pointed to the work being done through the 20-year $334-million
pedestrian and cycling strategy.
“What our challenge is is to create safe cycling routes within the city for
citizens,” Pagtakhan said.
Wyatt said he felt Monday’s report was lacking and side-stepped his initial
To him, a bigger issue was the public works department’s decision to hire a
consulting firm owned by Jeannette Montufar, whose marriage to
transportation manager Luis Escobar and past tweets about Wyatt prompted a
conflict of interest investigation by the city’s auditor at the same time
the report was bring prepared.
*Report on cycling doesn’t deal with helmet laws *
THE councillor behind a proposal for a mandatory bicycle helmet law said
he’s puzzled by an administrative report’s failure to consider the issue.
Coun. Russ Wyatt said he’s discouraged after public works staff hired a
consultant and spent months preparing the report, which doesn’t consider
the issue of whether wearing helmets should be mandatory.
“There’s no doubt they sidestepped the issue, but that’s something we’re
getting used to from this administration,” the Transcona councillor said.
Councillors on the protection, community services and parks committee voted
3-1 to take no action on the report, which is a summary of existing
provincial legislation and city hall’s recent efforts to expand its cycling
The result is that city hall will neither consider nor take any efforts to
implement a mandatory helmet law.
Stephanie Whitehouse, the city’s active transportation co-ordinator, said the
report concludes the two best ways to improve safety are through better
infrastructure and public education.
Whitehouse said she believes the report complied with the committee’s
request, adding that studying the issue is a complicated process that would
have required consultation with the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority,
MPI, police, public engagement and lawyers.
On June 16, 2016, the committee directed the administration “to review and
report back on the following: 1. The requirement for all cyclists to wear
helmets. 2. The requirement for all bicycles to have a sound device (bell,
horn, etc.), and proper lighting from dusk until dawn.” The committee also
required the report to include information on public education, as well as
best practices of other jurisdictions.
The administration, which was given 60 days to compile the report,
requested a 180-day extension.
Coun. Mike Pagtakhan, the committee's chairman, said he’s satisfied with
the report and its recommendation to maintain the status quo.
“What our challenge is, is to create more safe cycling routes within the
city,” Pagtakhan (Point Douglas) said.
Portage & Main property owners like idea of opening intersection to
A spokeswoman for one of the building owners at the corner of Portage and
Main said a revitalized intersection can co-exist with a redeveloped
Rosanne Hill, managing director of Harvard Developments Inc., which owns
and manages the 33-storey office tower originally known as TD Centre, said
her firm is committed to supporting efforts to removing the barriers,
adding she believes opening the iconic intersection to pedestrian will
provide an opportunity to redevelop the street-level space of the building
without damaging the underground businesses.
"We have a longer-term vision to work with the city and animate the
corner," Hill told the Free Press, explaining that currently, much of the
street-level space at 201 Portage is unleaseable. "There is absolutely an
opportunity to redevelop the main floor lobby of the building and embrace
an opening to Portage and Main, with leaseable area — cafés and
interconnectivity to that corner — which is what we’d like to do."
Reopening the intersection to pedestrians was one of Mayor Brian Bowman’s
campaign commitments in 2014.
Opponents said removing the barriers is inviting disaster, that it will not
only delay traffic but poses a serious risk to pedestrians brave enough to
cross. Many people mistakenly believe traffic concerns were what prompted
the placement of the barriers. In fact, the barriers went up in 1979 as
part of a deal with the original building owners and developer who
constructed the underground complex.
Supporters argue the barriers need to be removed to allow pedestrian
connection to the disparate areas of the heart of the city — the
downtown, The Forks and the east and west Exchange Districts — which will
encourage street-level development in the surrounding area as more
pedestrians move through the area.
While it’s a divisive issue in Winnipeg, Bowman revived that pledge a year
ago when he said he hoped to have barriers taken down by July 2017 to
coincide with events surrounding the Canada Summer Games.
The July 2017 deadline suffered a serious setback when civic officials
realized portions of the concrete barriers are integral to the underground
structure and that complicates, and increases, the cost of their removal.
The city has commissioned a traffic impact study, which has been completed
but is being reviewed by civic officials. Bowman said in addition to seeing
the building corner owners redevelop the street-level areas of the
intersection, city hall will be expected to invest funds to refurbish the
portion of the underground — the circular walkway known as the Circus.
Bowman said nothing will happen at the intersection until the
administration presents a plan that details the impact on traffic flow and
outlines the changes and costs to the underground.
Hill wrote, on behalf of her firm, one of the four letters from the
building owners who have committed to Bowman their support to remove the
barriers. Hill said she envisions redevelopment can occur at street level
without jeopardizing the investment building owners have put into the
"It doesn’t have to be an either-or-situation," Hill said. "If pedestrians
are using the crosswalks above ground, it doesn’t necessarily preclude high
volumes of pedestrians underground to continue. People will, on a nice day,
cross the street above ground and when it’s a little colder or they’re
interested in stopping in a store on their way or getting a coffee, they’ll
Harvard Developments is committed to developing both areas, Hill said,
adding the firm will be issuing tenders soon for a multimillion-dollar
upgrade to the portion of the underground that goes with the 201 Portage
As for when that will happen, Hill, like Bowman, said the process has its
"It’s a process and all the right steps need to be taken, including their
assessment of the traffic study and lots of public engagement," Hill said.
"All the stakeholders would like to see it happen in a holistic way. It’s
not just about taking down the barriers, it involves a phased plan that
would require some investment by all the stakeholders, including the city."
Helmets, dedicated bike routes improve cycling safety, city report says
But no recommendation emerges to add to provincial regulations by making
bike helmets mandatory
A report into cycling safety in Winnipeg comes to the common-sense
conclusion that cyclists who wear helmets and travel on routes where bikes
don't mingle with motor-vehicle traffic are at the lowest risk of injury.
But the report, which was commissioned with the intent of possibly making
helmet use mandatory, makes no recommendations to the city about
enacting new city regulations or enforcing existing provincial road-safety
"The two most important interventions available to improve cyclist safety
are cycling safety devices (i.e.: helmets, lights and bells) and cycling
infrastructure," says the report by Winnipeg active-transportation
Whitehouse, which will come before council's protection and community
services committee on Monday.
Last June, that committee asked the city to study requirements for all
cyclists to wear helmets and for all bikes to have bells or other sound
devices at night. Whitehouse proceeded to conduct a review of research
literature in other cities.
While her report makes no recommendations, it does note that studies
conclude bike helmets significantly reduce head injuries in collisions with
an impact of less than 20 kilometres per hour, but provide next to no
safety benefit in collisions above 28 kilometres per hour.
Keeping cyclists away from cars by building dedicated cycling
infrastructure also prevents injuries, she wrote.
"Designing cycling routes separated from vehicles and cycling on low
traffic streets is associated with a reduced risk of injury," Whitehouse
The city is in the midst of expanding its cycling-infrastructure network,
against opposition from several city councillors, including Transcona's
Most Canadian cities follow provincial rules regarding helmet use, the
report says. In Manitoba, people under 18 must wear helmets while riding
In jurisdictions where helmet use is mandatory, actual use only increases
when that legislation is accompanied by enforcement of the regulation and
education about bike helmets, the report says, and there's only "limited
evidence" mandatory helmet-use legislation discourages cycling, as Bike
Winnipeg representatives have said.
Whitehouse found no literature about the effectiveness of bike bells or
other sound devices in improving cyclist safety, though there is evidence
that permanently using running lights reduces the probability of collisions.
Protection and community services chairman Mike Pagtakhan (Point Douglas)
said the report makes him inclined to pursue construction of more cycling
He said he would consult with cyclists before considering a mandatory
*Beth McKechnie* | Workplace Commuter Options
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