Taxi Cab Bylaw 574-2000 - Watch for Bikes
Serious injuries or fatalities occur when a cyclist is hit by a car door opening into their path. In 1998, the City of Toronto partnered with the Canadian Automobile Association to run a voluntary "Watch for Bikes" campaign. This campaign was designed to raise awareness that drivers are legally responsible to look for traffic before opening a car door.
The Highway Traffic Act, Section 165, requires that:
No person shall open the door of a motor vehicle on a highway without first taking due precautions to ensure that his or her act will not interfere with the movements of or endanger any other person or vehicle: (Fine $105 and two demerit points).
Bylaw 574-2000 adds:
The City has mandated that every taxicab owner must equip his or her cab with three "Watch for Bikes" stickers - one on the drivers side mirror and one on each rear passenger window.
Drivers were encouraged to place the sticker on the driver's side mirror. At that time stickers were made available to the Taxi Industry Unit for distribution to any interested taxicab owner on a voluntary basis. Unfortunately, the program was not well publicized or used. With recently available statistics on this type of collision, it has become apparent that the reinstatement of the program on a mandatory basis for taxicabs would be very beneficial to taxicab drivers, passengers and cyclists in the City of Toronto.
In July of 1999, following the Regional Coroner's recommendations to address bicycle safety issues, the City's Transportation Services Division undertook an analysis of motor vehicle collisions involving cyclists. The findings of that study are now available. In reviewing over 2,500 police-reports of "car-bike" collisions, the study found that, in central Toronto (south of Bloor, between Duffern and the Don Valley), collisions caused by motorists opening their doors in front of cyclists were the single most frequently reported type of car/bike collision.
While only 3 per cent of the motor vehicles involved in all reported car/bike collisions were taxis, taxis were involved in 7 per cent of all reported "dooring" incidents and 7.4 per cent of "motorist overtaking" collisions, suggesting that taxis are more likely to be involved in these types of incidents than in other kinds of collisions with bicycles.
The "Watch for Bikes" sticker campaign will serve as a useful reminder to everyone using a taxicab. It is a proactive and positive educational campaign which will be well received by the cycling community. And the "Watch for Bikes" sticker campaign will also assist cab drivers in providing a safe environment for their passengers.