I wrote this letter of concern to the London Police Services board because of a long term frustration with these issues in London and, in the immediate, an announcement yesterday that London Police Service would do a safety blitz targeting pedestrians and cyclists (see here for coverage in the Free Press, Global News, CBC, Blackburn). I get that they will be targeting “all road users” – and intersections are certainly the most dangerous part of our city – but the language used by London Police in these reports demonstrates clearly that they see pedestrians and cyclists as the problem, rather than what many of us perceive as a dangerous driving culture in the city. Anyway, I wanted to share because the only way to affect change at both London Police Service and City of London is at the top and from a policy and planning level.
September 13 2019
Dear Mr. Salih, Mayor Holder, Chief Williams and members of the Police Services Board,
I am writing to express my perception that London Police Services inadequately addresses pedestrian and cyclist safety. I have developed this perception over the past five years living in London, interacting with members of the Traffic Management Unit, and using our city’s infrastructure as a driver, cyclist and pedestrian. This week’s announcement that London Police Services would crack down on these road users confirms many of my suspicions.
My concerns are mostly based on experiences as a cyclist who commutes daily from Ryerson Public School to Huron University College. If you think about this commute, you will realize that I only cross one arterial road (Richmond) before arriving at Western’s campus, riding mostly in a residential neighbourhood and on the university campus. And yet, on a near weekly basis I end up in altercations with drivers who either do not give me enough space or roll through stop signs inattentively. Most concerning is that about once a month vehicles cross through intersections while my children (5 and 8) and I are still crossing. To be clear, I am talking about instances where a vehicle moves through the intersection while we are standing in front of it, not when we are almost through crossing.
Because of these frequent incidents in my residential neighbourhood, I have tried to understand London Police Services’ strategies to protect cyclists and pedestrians. I have read through all the material available on the “Reports and Statistics” section of your website. Doing so suggests to me that London Police Services neither takes this aspect of public safety very seriously, nor see it as part of your core mandate. Continue reading “Letter of Concern to the Police Services Board”