Working to make riding safer in the GTA

Since beginning its lobbying efforts 4 years ago, RTI has realized an unprecedented level of success in persuading public officials to take motorcycle policy issues seriously, and to recognize the role motorcyclists can play in helping to relieve traffic congestion.

The Rider Training Institute has successfully lobbied Toronto City Councillors to forward a motion containing the most comprehensive set of motorcycle related policy changes ever proposed in a Canadian municipality.

The proposals set forth in the motion, drafted by RTI in collaboration with Toronto Council Staff, focus on encouraging motorcycle use in 3 key areas:

1.      Secure Parking: a request that the city expand the number of dedicated motorcycle & scooter parking zones currently in place, and to begin immediate ticketing of prohibited vehicles parked within those zones.
2.      Access to Reserved Lanes: a request that motorcycles be allowed access to a number of dedicated public transit & taxi cab lanes in the downtown core, as well as on municipal expressways.
3.      Lane Filtering Pilot: a request that the city investigate a pilot project that would allow motorcycles to filter between other vehicles, and only up to active stop lights, along the Richmond and Adelaide Street corridors in downtown Toronto.

“RTI’s success in pushing this motion forward follows its success last year in lobbying the city to include motorcycles as one of the vulnerable road using populations identified for special consideration in Toronto’s Vision Zero plan.” says Michel Mersereau, instructor and lobbyist with RTI

In my interview, it was explained to me that lane filtering (not to be confused with lane splitting) can markedly reduce traffic congestion in an urban setting.

“Data suggests that under the correct circumstances, and by reducing the risk of front or rear facing collisions, filtering can “markedly” reduce the risk of death or serious injuries to motorcyclists.” Said Sharron St. Croix, Executive Director Rider Training Institute.

As I learned, the circumstances are twofold:

1) Motorcyclists must perform the activity only under the correct conditions
2) There must be a broad awareness on the part of other drivers of the activity

The conditions they are proposing involve filtering only up to an active stop light, only along lane boundaries that are not adjacent to any curb, and with other vehicles at or near a standstill.

The pilot area being proposed intersects the area of the city with the highest percentage of multi vehicle collisions (Adelaide & Richmond Streets).

If pursued, RTI will work with the city on an advanced signage/messaging campaign along the proposed corridors to alert drivers of the upcoming change. Sharon says, “Ideally, this messaging campaign will have a 6-8 month lead in time prior to the launch of the pilot.

RTI will not support the initiative unless an active messaging campaign is deployed well in advance, additionally, we will work with media partners to get the message out to riders about the right & wrong way to perform the activity if and when the pilot is approved.

We realize that opinions on lane filtering are mixed in the riding community, but we also believe in pursuing evidence based initiatives that have the potential to make roads safer for riders, encourage motorcycle use, and help to ease congestion on our roads.

Lane filtering, contentious as it may be, is one of those examples.”

If you have any questions regarding the proposed policy, please contact:

Sharron St-Croix
Executive Director RTI
302 - 30 Duncan Street
Toronto, ON  M5V 2C3
416-516-6151 or 1-866-876-1551

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