A Peek into the Mailbox

At Citizens for Safe Cycling we receive a few questions and reactions every week. Sometimes they are about unfortunate situations , sometimes they are surprising and sometimes they are hair raising. Here is a selection. Most emails are answered, or we try to find answers somewhere. Some letters ‘get the attention they deserve“.

Hit by a car on Percy:


I am an avid Ottawa cyclist and have been a member on and off for a few years. I was in an accident back in November and suffered fractures of my shoulder. It’s been an ordeal!

I just wondered about the laws regarding bicycles and cars and right hand turns. I was riding along Percy street, where there is a bike lane. I had both front and rear lights flashing, reflectors and panniers with reflectors. Suddenly, a car just ahead if me turned right directly in front of me, blocking the bike lane completely. I had no time to do anything, but hit the brakes. I catapulted over the car and landed on the road.

I ended up with several fractures in my proximal humerus (shoulder). It has been agony!

When I got the police report, I noticed the driver had not been charged or even fined! I wonder what the laws say about motorists who turn completely into cyclists and cause an accident? I thought she would have been at fault.

Just curious!

Thanks a million.

Only tickets when driver is there:


I called in at 311 today around noon to report an infraction on Laurier.  A vehicle was parked in the separated bike lane.  I was put on hold for 6 minutes.  My call was taken, but after a total of 8 minutes, the driver sped away.

Cars in the SBL defeat the purpose of the bike lane: to encourage cycling by creating the perception (and potentially) making cycling safer.  Copenhagen has a 40% bike ride share but its only with substantial investment in cycling infrastructure with physically separated lanes.

I was told by the 311 agent that the city could not follow up the issue with the driver event if I gave them their license plate.

There has to be a way to follow up with these infractions.  For a long time cyclists were using http://ottawa.mybikelane.com/but that volunteer site has shut down.  Plus, 311 agents have stated in the past a by-law officer must be on site to witness the infraction even if a picture is taken.  Yet I’m told by the Ottawa police that follow up can occur with other types of dangerous driving.  What about dangerous parking?

What legislative change would be required so that the city can follow up with these infractions given a license plate number???  The 311 service for reporting SBL infractions is not useful given the amount of time being put on hold and the necessity for a by-law office to be on site a the time of the infraction.

Answer from a the City: a Program Manager, Parking Enforcement

In accordance with the Provincial  Offences Act parking violations are served at the time of the offence to the vehicle or operator of the vehicle while it is committing the offence.

The law already permits after the fact charges but it is never utilized as it is far too cumbersome a process to pursue for a parking violation. It requires that an Officer complete an Information, appear before a Justice of the Peace, swear that Information, serve a summons on the vehicle owner, swear service of the summons and then attend Court for a first appearance and subsequently a trial, This process can take upwards of 2 months just to get to first appearance and a trial is set for a future date at which time you as the witness must be summons to appear in order to testify. All of this takes the Officer off the street for extended periods of time that can be better utilized by keeping him or her on the street to deal with more parking issues.  On average an on street parking violation when encountered takes an Officer approximately 30 seconds to issue.  We would love to catch every violation but that is not the reality.

If you are encountering a problem in a specific area or at a specific time on a regular basis please provide us that information and we can advise the Officer working in that location to monitor on a more frequent basis.

Program Manager

In response to an Ottawa Sun article about the danger of dooring and Bill 173 introduction and cc-ed to us:

(The comment sections in newspapers are becoming more and more some kind of a troll fest where anger feeds anger in some endless cycle. Always entertaining to read, but don’t waste your time getting involved.)

Regarding “dooring” (March 31st 214 Ottawa Sun) has it occurred to anyone that a fraction of an instant later you have a negligent cyclist hitting a pedestrian?
Are we not in control of our vehicle the bicycle if travelling at such a speed that impact is inevitable?
There have been ZERO cyclists I have witnessed obeying the Highway traffioc act in ottawa since i can remember.

Ottawa reality is Life north of 49 degrees lattitude in a solar-down cycle of perhaps a mini ice age and an aging population.Perhaps 90 days of a growing season in Canada?
Its a non issue even worrying about cylists;they make their respectability clear everyday in Ottawa with their behaviour.

Seriously these childless white liberals proposing we revolve around a handfull of people % wise in an economy hugely “driven” by the energy and auto sector are fodder for The Mental Health Act and make as much sense in 2014 as Charles Darwin leading a gay parade holding a mapped humean genome output to the museum of natural history.

Perhaps its time for a little youtube or such campaign  on how bad ottawa cyclists are vis a vis being law abiding and self protective as any mentally healthy person would be.

Id consider the “war” on cars to be something almost not consistent with Canadian values if you are threatening the economy in general by such ridiculous ideas that a few will ever break the love affair North Amereica has with transportation freedom whether it is/was canoe,horse or car.

2 thoughts on “A Peek into the Mailbox

  1. Good questions and answers. However PEAK is a mountain-top while PEEK is a quick glance.

    I had an accident about 20 years ago at the Col By / RA Centre intersection. I was coming down the hill fast and merged OK with eastbound traffic. The car to my left pulled ahead and left a gap and someone going west turned if front of me to go up the ramp to Bronson. There was no place to go at 40kph except to hit the Toyota towards the back and flew right over the roof and rolled several times after landing (somersaults). The bike was a write-off but all I got was a scar on one shoulder. I was not even wearing a helmet (but I have done so ever since). Neither of us called the cops as we did not who was at fault and he drove me home. I later got an insurance settlement for the bike plus $500 for a medical waiver.

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