Cyclist Danger Zone Sign Proposal
with Readers Responses
by Daniel J Towsey
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Attention February 20th 2010
Nova Scotia Transportation Minister Bill Estabrooks firstname.lastname@example.org
Please note This is a Publicly Published Letter
I am writing this article in hopes that what I will write here will bring about a new standard in street signs pertaining to the safety of cyclists on public streets.
I have been a cyclist for over forty years and absolutely loved the freedom and mobility, not to mention the health benefits to me and the environment.
Unfortunately I have recently been severely injured in an accident where an un-attentive motorist pulled out from a side street and made a left turn without ever making any effort to look for a cyclist coming down the hill (that being me).
I have been permanently injured and disabled. I am absolutely fortunate to have survived and I am now writing this as a victim of this situation of none existent signs for dangerous conditions ahead for cyclists.
We have signs for every imaginable hazard be it a family of ducks, the blind and deaf etc etc but there are no signs to warn motorists that they are approaching conditions that are very hazardous to cyclists, Such as blind crests, narrow curved roads where there is not enough room to pass cyclists.
For example if a cyclist approaches a traffic light. Just about all intersections have very narrow lanes at the intersections because planners always narrow the lanes to put in left turn lanes. This is especially the case in ancient winding downtown streets.
Please note that the downtown areas of cities is where you’ll find most cyclists.
Cyclist danger signs are especially needed on large hills where cyclists can gain good speeds going down and are moving exceptionally slow going up hills both of which give more reason for drivers to be aware of cyclist danger zones.
Another idea needs to be that some of the cyclist danger zones signs for downhill will need to be double sided as drivers coming from the opposite direction, such as in my case where drivers are getting ready to pull out left or right need to see a danger sign on their left when contemplating pulling out onto a street with a hill where cyclists can approach very quickly.
It seems to me that dumb drivers usually only look for large vehicles. and I think there needs to be severe penalties for any motorist that injures cyclists and pedestrians and that traditional traffic violations (fines) penalties should never be applied in these situations. There needs to be a new legal standard to always have a judge decide as to the penalty to the motorist when they injure or kill pedestrians and cyclists. Criminal charges should always be a choice. This would be a great detergent for drivers. Standard fines should never be considered as fair in the situation of injuring cyclists and pedestrians.
Insured drivers don’t give a second thought to damage they do to people. The insurance pays and the drivers just go on their marry way while leaving people dead or injured and disabled for life.
The penalties need to be significant and criminal, In this way drivers will be allot more careful to look for pedestrians and cyclists.
Drivers have to get out of this indifference mind-set of pedestrians and cyclists being just like a vehicles on the street.
A persons life and body are not a vehicle. At present damage peoples bodies are treated worse than damage to vehicles.
At present if a vehicle is damaged it is almost always immediately repaired no matter what the cost.
I’ll give you an example.
At present I am unable to get a nights sleep because of my numerous broken ribs, spinal injury, internal injuries. etc. My doctors have all told the insurance I need an orthopedic bed. The insurance would never hesitate to replace a car seat immediately but will not provide me with what I need immediately to help to repair the damages done to me and my life. The situation is much worse then this. Priority is always placed on vehicle repairs and never on pedestrian and cyclists body damages.
When are we as a society going to value human life and a persons quality of life over the quality of a vehicle. If a luxury car were damaged it would be immediately repaired at any cost, but this is not the case when a driver destroys or disables a cyclists quality of life.
Another example of hazards to cyclists is when a large vehicle such as a bus or truck goes wide to pass a cyclist and the drivers behind can never see that these large vehicles are actually passing a cyclist. This always happens on very narrow streets and the blinded drivers are never paying attention for a cyclist. This is the kind of place where these cyclist danger signs are needed.
I think that if towns had cyclist danger signs around that it would condition drivers to start paying more attention for cyclists and it would remind them to always keep an eye out for potentially dangerous areas for cyclists.
I recommend that a large sign be used, I recommend a square sign turned on its axis with bright neon green background and a picture of a bicycle in the center and a black arrow at the top to point ahead to the danger.
These signs need to be on the large size or they will just blend in with no parking signs and the such and people will just be conditioned to ignore the signs..
Oh and how about putting allot more consideration in providing clearly marked cyclist lanes on all hills…
The cost of signs is absolutely minor in comparison to the cost to society of the injured’s medical costs and the added costs to help sustain the disabled for the rest of their lives.
I will so very much miss being able to go down a nature trail with my mountain bike and to take pictures of beautiful Nova Scotia’s wilderness. I will never again be able to ride a bike…… I am so sad for that…I also will not be able to walk down a trail, I can no longer do many things.
I would love it if you would consider my services to scout locations in need of cyclists danger signs throughout Nova Scotia. This would be easily done with the aid of a GPS unit.
Please note soon I will also be writing you on the Issue of Pedestrian Crosswalks.
Thank you for your consideration on the topic..Now lets see some signs of change.
I eagerly await your written response to me on all the issues I have mentioned above.
Daniel J Towsey
The Visionary Folk Photographer
FREE HI-RES Picture downloads available at http://danieltowsey.photoshop.com
Also forwarded by e-mail to
The Honourable John Baird
Federal Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities
Please write me back on your opinions to my Cyclist Danger Zones Signs
recommendations..I eagerly await your response.
— On Tue, 3/2/10, Janice Harland <HARLANJA@gov.ns.ca> wrote:
From: Janice Harland <HARLANJA@gov.ns.ca>Subject: Re: Cyclist Danger Zone Sign ProposalTo: “Daniel J Towsey” Cc: “TIR Minister” <TIRMIN@gov.ns.ca>, email@example.comReceived: Tuesday, March 2, 2010, 9:09 AM
Dear Mr. Towsey:
Thank you for your February 20, 2010 letter to Minister Estabrooks regarding â€œcyclist dangerâ€ signs. The Minister has asked me to respond on his behalf.
The department posts signs based on national guidelines developed by the Transportation Association of Canada. The goal is to provide a uniform system of traffic control devices that sends a familiar message to drivers across the country. The department currently posts Share the Road signs in locations consistent with this national standard. The Share the Road sign is used to warn motorists and cyclists of a changing condition that will require them to use extra caution in order to safely share the upcoming section of road. The sign also provides a positive message to motorists and cyclists to share the road.
To sign every possible location where cyclists and drivers must use extra caution would be impractical and result in an over abundance of signs, which would in turn tend to dilute the effectiveness of warning signs. Therefore, the Share the Road sign is reserved for areas where a road configuration changes, such as where a bicycle lane ends or on the approach to a narrow structure.
Cyclist safety is an important component of our overall road safety strategy and we will continue to focus our efforts toward educating both drivers and cyclists on their rights and responsibilities in order to improve the safety of their interactions on the highway.
Thank you again for your letter and your interest in road safety.
Janice Harland, P.Eng.Manager Traffic Engineering Services
Hi Janice Harland, P.Eng March 5th 2010
Thank you for your response…
But I find it completely wrong…First in all my years as a driver (2 million miles driven) and all my years as a cyclist I have never seen any signs that say share the road…
There needs to be a new standard of cyclist warning signs..I clearly explained the need.. Obviously you’ve never rode a bike where your life was seriously indangered because of the situations I indicated..
I suggest you go out and ride a bike for one month and see how many times you will come close to dieing due to the situations I indicated..
Nothing you answered indicated a remedy to the dangerous situations I explained, your answer and attitude is completely unacceptable it shows a complete lack of understanding and reason.
The township of Halifax Nova Scotia where I live does not have one sign anywhere to warn of danger zones for cyclists.
So I am to believe that the life of a duck is more important then lets say the 19 year old man that got run over by a tractor-trailer only a few feet from where I got run over by a car, on my street recently because the road is to narrow for the two way traffic and the cyclists on the edge of the road.
I am now facing severe pain and suffering, as well as being severly disabled, I will need continuos operations for the rest of my life..
I can never again be a productive member of society..
Not to mention the huge amounts of money being spent by the public health care system and private insurance…to maintain my life..
Do you really think we as citizens can not afford to put up some cyclist danger zone signs?
Your comment of having to sign every danger zone to cyclists would require an over abundance of signs..That statement clearly proves that there are many danger zones to cyclists..
So I can not understand why you can not put signs up at the extremely dangerous locations only..
Your reasoning is that all locations of extreme danger to cyclists lives doesn’t matter at all..
Do you hear what your saying?
Like I said you have no understanding and no compassion for the death and suffering caused by people who have your reasoning..
How would you like it if you drove down a dangerous street and went off a blind crest and over a cliff because some bureaucrat choose to save a little money or spare themselves the mental effort toreakize the need to put up a sign warning you of the upcoming unseen danger?
I’ll tell you that society would immediately demand that a danger sign be put up immediately at that dangerous location..
But for some reason you think dangers to cyclists does not matter but that dangers to bureaucrats driving in their fancy cars does..
There can never be an over abundance of signs to save lives..
If a thousand signs saves lives and suffering every year after they are put up..wouldn’t that be a great investment..
Please this summer..take a whole month and park your car and ride your bike..hey don’t forget even if you live out of town you can put your bike on the rack infront of the bus to go anywhere.
Now no cheating, you’ll have to ride your bike after dark too..you better hope that those cyclist danger zone signs are reflective..
Be really careful if and when your far from home and it starts raining..you’ll discover that not only do your bicycle brakes almost do not work but also that if they do, your tiny tires will quickly skid when that car driver decides to make a left turn in front of you or maybe just decides to stop very suddenly in front of you because society see cyclists as not mattering at all..
Do you just hate it when those cars can stop much faster then your bike can and you end up rearending the car and fly over its roof onto the street in front of the car and the driver doesn’t even care cause your just a poor cyclist and just goes ahead and drives over you.
Afterall the drivers insurance will take care of anything else and you
ll be able to just on your merry way until the next time and time again where you injure of kill a cyclist.
Society presently show almost no consideration for cyclists..at worst driver only tiny little fines for killing cyclists..
Hey the fines are even less the the cost of a permit to go out and kill wildlife..
Wow what a system we have..at present its just open season for cyclists..
So when are you going to start showing some respect for the lives of cyclists?
Signed Daniel J Towsey
Please not that all these correspondence are being published online..
the Cyclist Danger Zones Signs is a public issue..
Google Launches New Way to Find Bicycling Trails
Posted by Dr. Mercola | April 03 2010 | 1,389 views
There’s nothing worse if you’re a bicyclist and you suddenly find yourself a mile into a two-mile stretch of shoulder-less, busy, highway-speed traffic with no alternative route. So Google has added bicycling directions, lanes and routes to Google Maps.
The new feature also includes a “Bicycling Layer,” which shows bike paths and bike-friendly streets with or without lanes:
Dark green indicates a dedicated bike-only trail
Light green indicates a dedicated bike lane along a road
Dashed green indicates roads that are designated as preferred for bicycling, but without dedicated lanes
According to Google, it has also taken steps to avoid uphill and long downhill routes, busy roads and even busy intersections.