As children return to school and adults get back to their regular schedules after summer vacation, our roads and sidewalks will become busier.
That’s why the City of Brantford is reminding residents of the rules of the road.
While drivers are generally aware of the rules of the road, people using other modes of transportation, such as mobility scooters, wheelchairs and e-bikes, as well as cyclists and pedestrians, might not have the same appreciation for the rules and might unknowingly put themselves at risk of danger and conflicts over who has the right of way on city roads and trails.
People using assisted motorized devices, such as mobility scooters and wheelchairs , are to follow the same rules as pedestrians and should slow down and remain on sidewalks where sidewalks are in place.
“The rules of the road need to be followed by all users of the road. For example, those with mobility devices should utilize the sidewalk when a sidewalk is available and avoid traveling on roadways or in bike lanes,” said Ting Ku, the city’s Manager of Transportation Services. “It’s simply safer for everyone to use the designated spaces as intended to minimize conflicts.”
E-bikes and bicycles are treated as vehicles under the Ontario Highway Traffic Act. Bicycles need to obey the rules of the road like all vehicles do and should use a bike lane when available. When a bike lane is not available, cyclists should keep to one side of the road if safe to do so but may also occupy the full lane as required to avoid conflicts such as parked cars or while in narrow lanes. Cars passing a cyclist should only do so when safe and keep at least a one-metre separation from the cyclist.
Skateboards and motorized skateboards are only permitted on sidewalks. However, skateboarding is prohibited within the downtown core, which is bounded by Nelson Street, Alfred Street, Colborne Street, ICOMM Drive, Brant Avenue and West Street.
Drivers are reminded to obey speed limits and parking regulations, especially near schools.
Brantford is home to 70 kilometres of nature trails and, in general, bicycles are allowed on multi-use trails unless otherwise noted. It’s important to follow proper etiquette while on trails, including cyclists calling out or ringing a bicycle bell to alert pedestrians and other transportation users when they’re approaching and intend to pass. Pedestrians, in turn, should move to one side (preferably the right hand side) to allow cyclists to pass.
Respecting rules and etiquette on trails will help avoid conflicts or injuries so everyone can enjoy trails equally and safely. “We want to remind members of the community to be mindful of the rules because they are there to keep people safe,” Ku said.
Brantford City Council also wants to do its part to keep residents safe while using city streets. In July, council passed a motion to adopt Vision Zero Road Safety to set the simple and clear goal of zero fatalities or serious injuries on city roadways.
In 2017, there were 1,760 collisions on municipal roads, 41 of which involved bikes and 45 involved pedestrians. Of those collisions, 297 resulted in injuries and two deaths.
Vision Zero Road Safety was founded in Sweden in 1997 and is a global initiative that stresses that no loss of life is acceptable, road safety is a shared responsibility and working together will contribute to a safe road network.
Locally, by adopting the initiative, the city aims to make Brantford streets safer through improved education, enforcement, engineering, evaluation and engagement.
“The community is embracing the concept that any loss of life or injury is unacceptable when it comes to road safety,” said Beth Goodger, General Manager of Public Works. “It’s a shared responsibility and people must work together to stay safe.”
The city will continue its campaign to educate residents on the rules of the road, sidewalks and trails through several ways, including on social media and posting information on transit shelters. For more information, visit www.brantford.ca/RulesoftheRoad .
This story was created by Content Works, Postmedia’s commercial content division, on behalf of The City of Brantford.