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posted by Joe on Sunday, December 06, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

Kenk to lose thousands of bikes as details of civil settlement reached


  • Igor Kenk will give up his used-bicycle shop, pickup trucks and his hoard of more than 2,200 old bikes in a settlement reached Friday in a civil suit brought against him by the province of Ontario.

    Under the deal, Mr. Kenk will get to keep the proceeds of a provincially-supervised sale of the bike shop, which he has previously valued at $700,000, but only after he pays $50,000 to the Crown, $65,000 to Legal Aid Ontario for his ongoing criminal case, legal fees incurred to defend against the suit, and any outstanding taxes or bills related to the building. The bikes and pickup trucks will be sold off and the proceeds kept by the Crown.

    The settlement brings an end to one of two parallel court proceedings, one civil and the other criminal, brought against the 50-year-old Mr. Kenk, whose arrest in the summer of 2008 and subsequent raids of his numerous rental garages filled with bicycles stunned Toronto's cycling community.

    ...

    Friday's settlement was reached before the court tested the government's case, which hinged on affidavits from Toronto police who led the criminal investigation. Court filings showed that officers relied on a confidential source for information about Mr. Kenk's alleged drugs-for-bikes enterprise. Court never heard testimony from the source, nor does the case file contain any written statements from the informant.

    Jacob Stilman, lawyer for Mr. Kenk, said outside court that the government's forfeiture application “was going into uncharted legal waters in the sense of asserting that the building was an instrument of criminal activity.” He suggested “there would have been a lot of interesting legal and evidentiary issues” had the case gone to trial, but also serious implications for his client, who stood to lose virtually everything he owns.

    “While it's fascinating from a lawyer's perspective,” Mr. Stilman said, “the stakes are very high for the person at the receiving end of the litigation.”

    According to court filings, Mr. Kenk paid $85,000 for his shop in 1995 and is mortgage-free. Its value has since skyrocketed due to gentrification along trendy Queen Street West. The bicycles were recently appraised at just over $50,000, and the two Toyota pickup trucks at $14,000.

    Full Article

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posted by Joe on Friday, December 04, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark



Happy Friday to you.Here's all the bikey news fit to view! :)

  • Ghost Bike Memorial in Mississauga
    [via bikelanediary] A little over a week ago, a cyclist was struck and killed in Mississauga, and a "ghost bike" memorial has been set up by the Advocacy for Respect for Cyclists group: via the Biking Toronto Forum Posted via web from bikingtoronto's posterous
  • CultureLink / Bike Union Job Opportunity
    A new job posting for a full time Newcomer Cycling Outreach Coordinator has been posted: [via the Bike Union] We are very excited to announce that the Partnership for Integration and Sustainable Transportation, a joint project of CultureLink and the Toronto Cyclists Union which was recently granted funding by the…


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posted by Joe on Thursday, December 03, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

[via bikelanediary]

A little over a week ago, a cyclist was struck and killed in Mississauga, and a "ghost bike" memorial has been set up by the Advocacy for Respect for Cyclists group:

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posted by Joe on Wednesday, December 02, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

A new job posting for a full time Newcomer Cycling Outreach Coordinator has been posted:

[via the Bike Union]

We are very excited to announce that the Partnership for Integration and Sustainable Transportation, a joint project of CultureLink and the Toronto Cyclists Union which was recently granted funding by the Ontario Trillium Foundation, is seeking just the right person to take on the full time role of Newcomer Cycling Outreach Coordinator.

The Full job posting can be viewed here - http://www.charityvillage.com/cvnet/viewlisting.aspx?id=205631


Newcomer Cycling Outreach Coordinator
• Full-Time (35-hour week), 36-month Contract

CultureLink is a non-profit, community-based organization committed to the settlement and integration of newcomers in the South-West area of Toronto. The Toronto Cyclists Union is a city-wide, membership-based cycling organization working together with citizens, community groups, bike shops an d the City towards the common goals of ensuring that cycling is a legitimate, accessible, and safe means of transportation.

We are currently seeking a Cycling Outreach Coordinator for 35 hours per week for up to 36 months for our collaborative Partnership for Integration and Sustainable Transportation, funded by the Ontario Trillium Foundation, with a target start date of Mid-January/February 2010. This position will report to the Program Manager of CultureLink, as well as to the Project Steering Committee.

The primary goals of the Partnership project are:
• To promote cycling as a healthy, convenient, economical and legitimate means of transportation among newcomer communities in Toronto
• To promote sustainable green living habits among newcomers as part of green settlement service delivery strategy CultureLink works within an anti-oppression framework and is committed to equity.

The ideal candidate demonstrates a commitment t o the values guiding the work of the project: sustainability, empowerment, equity, inclusion, cultural competence, health and social justice.

This position is remunerated between $23.77 - $25.71 per hour along with comprehensive benefits after 3 months of successful completion of employment.

The deadline for external applicants is Tuesday December 15, 2009 5:00 p.m.


Applications should be addressed electronically to: The Hiring Committee at jobs@culturelink.net

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posted by Joe on Friday, November 27, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark



Happy Friday to you. Here's all the New stuff! :)

  • UPDATE: No sign of Trial for Bike Thief
    Is a deal in the making? Stolen-bike case close to ending in deal, court told Lawyers in the Igor Kenk stolen-bicycles saga are discussing a possible deal to resolve the massive criminal case and head off a trial for the 50-year-old bike repairman, a Toronto court heard yesterday.… (Read More)
  • A Toronto Cyclist's Top 10 Complaints
    AWESOME post by BlogTO: Toronto cyclists have much to complain about and generally aren't shy about airing their discontent. Whether it be the scarcity of bike lanes, the abundance of potholes or simply the fact that our climate makes year-round riding nearly impossible, I think it's only fair to… (Read More)
  • UPDATE: Toronto streets a job hazard, ex-courier says
    Interesting update from the Star, which addresses my concerns about the City not employing cyclists: Law backs cyclist's quest for safe roads A former bike courier's bid to take the city before the Ontario Labour Board – claiming Toronto streets constitute an unsafe workplace for people who bike on… (Read More)
  • UPDATE: Cop nailed for bike lane parking
    Follow-up article from the Sun. Councillor Pam McConnell (vice-chairman of the Police Services Board) says that cops should be held to the same standard as the general public, while surprisingly, Councillor Glenn De Baeremaeker and Councillor Adrian Heaps say that maybe there should be exceptions for cops… (Read More)
  • Cyclist dies after being hit by car in Mississauga
    From CP24: A male cyclist has died after being hit by a car in Mississauga on Tuesday evening. The crash happened after 6:30 p.m. at Bloor Street and Runningbrook Drive, between Dixie and Tomken Roads. The cyclist was pronounced dead at the scene. The intersection has been shut down… (Read More)
  • City peddles bikes to its employees
    From the Star: Police do it. EMS workers and bylaw officers do it. But the city wants more of its employees to use sustainable transportation on the job. That's why Toronto's Smart Commute office has set up a bike-sharing program where employees can sign out two wheels instead of… (Read More)
  • Toronto streets a job hazard, ex-courier says
    Cyclist takes city to labour board, claiming roads are unsafe workplace for those who bike for a living. From the Star: Ten years ago, bike courier Wayne Scott won an epic battle against Revenue Canada. His arguments persuaded the Federal Court of Appeal to rule that bike couriers could… (Read More)
  • Toronto Cop Nailed for Bike Lane Parking
    A Toronto Police officer who parked his cruiser in a bike lane to get his lunch is getting no love from his superiors, who are coming down hard on his "stupid" and "unacceptable" actions. On Sunday,the Sun witnessed a city cop sitting inside the Grillway Cafe, at Runnymede Rd.… (Read More)


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posted by Joe on Thursday, November 26, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

Is a deal in the making?


  • Stolen-bike case close to ending in deal, court told

    Lawyers in the Igor Kenk stolen-bicycles saga are discussing a possible deal to resolve the massive criminal case and head off a trial for the 50-year-old bike repairman, a Toronto court heard yesterday.

    Mr. Kenk, 50, was charged with more than 80 counts involving 2,865 used bicycles and a large quantity of illegal drugs seized in police raids in the summer of 2008, and has been awaiting trial in the Don Jail for almost a year since his bail was revoked last December.

    Mr. Kenk appeared yesterday at the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, where he was to make a bid to have bail restored. Instead, his lawyer, Lon Rose, told Mr. Justice John Hamilton that "a proposed resolution to most if not all" of Mr. Kenk's charges is in the works as a result of pre-trial talks with Crown officials and lower-court Justice Kathleen Caldwell.

    ...

    The sheer size of the case, which involved raids on 12 properties, about 100 police officers and more than 80 charges, created a mountain of evidence to be gathered, sorted, assessed and disclosed to Mr. Kenk's defence before any trial could proceed.

    Court filings obtained by The Globe and Mail, including Mr. Rose's Nov. 12 notice of application for yesterday's bail review, suggest that disclosure has been slow and sporadic. Mr. Rose only recently received, for example, statements from 70 police officers who worked on the case. Dozens more pieces of evidence have also been slow to materialize.

    ...

    Regardless of any deal in the offing, Mr. Kenk still faces a lawsuit brought by the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney-General to seize his bike shop, two pickup trucks and 2,292 bicycles as proceeds of crime. Even though Mr. Kenk has not been convicted criminally, the province can use the Civil Remedies Act to seize and sell off his property if it can prove that it was used for a criminal purpose or obtained by crime.

    Full Article

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posted by Joe on Wednesday, November 25, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

AWESOME post by BlogTO:

  • Toronto cyclists have much to complain about and generally aren't shy about airing their discontent. Whether it be the scarcity of bike lanes, the abundance of potholes or simply the fact that our climate makes year-round riding nearly impossible, I think it's only fair to provide a little two-wheeled perspective on the heels of Toronto traffic safety officer Tim Burrow's recently compiled Top 10 list of motorist complaints.

    ...

    # 10 - The close pass
    Having seen a friend's elbow shattered by a van "passing" altogether too closely, it gives me the jitters whenever vehicles don't afford myself and other cyclists adequate space. Granted this isn't always their fault -- roads are, after all, only so wide -- but it's still a common threat cyclists face. I'm not asking for the insanely wide berth some drivers give, but it's a little scary when a passing car brushes me with its wind trail.

    # 9 - Lack of bike lanes
    Directly related to #10, the lack of bike lanes on major streets throughout the city is an obvious pet peeve that many cyclists share. But it's not just an issue for cyclists; the scarcity of bike lanes is also a pain for drivers who are forced to share the road with those on two wheels. I know it's not so easy as just snapping one's fingers and putting them in, but it's obvious that we need a more comprehensive vision for encouraging the safe use of bicycles in this city.

    # 8 - Cars parked in bike lanes
    Boneheaded moves like this are getting a little more attention after the Toronto Sun spotted a cop car parked in the bike lane on Annette St. for 20 minutes the other day. The officer's gotten a bunch of flak for his parking job, but the reality is that this happens all the time. Normally it's not a huge deal, but when another vehicle and a cyclist inevitably try to pass the improperly parked car at the same time, the situation can get pretty tricky.

    # 7 - Potholes

    # 6 - Winter

    # 5 - Other cyclists

    # 4 - Car doors

    # 3 - Streetcar tracks

    # 2 - Oblivious pedestrians

    # 1 - Sudden right turns (without signaling)

    Full List at Blog T.O.

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posted by Joe on Wednesday, November 25, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

Interesting update from the Star, which addresses my concerns about the City not employing cyclists:


  • Law backs cyclist's quest for safe roads

    A former bike courier's bid to take the city before the Ontario Labour Board – claiming Toronto streets constitute an unsafe workplace for people who bike on the job – has merit, says a personal injury lawyer.

    Patrick Brown said Wayne Scott's "novel'' legal action is about an individual trying to hold the city responsible for providing safe roads.

    ...

    Scott claims the city has failed to comply with the Occupational Health and Safety Act, which requires employers to take reasonable precautions to protect their workers. As many as 500 police officers are on bike patrol on any given day, and about 30 Emergency Medical Services paramedics use bikes.

    Brown, who has acted on behalf of many cyclists injured on city streets, and for the families of those killed, says there is legal precedent in Ontario compelling municipalities to ensure their streets are safe for bikes and pedestrians. The Ontario appeals court ruled in a 2008 case involving a Halton cyclist who was killed that municipalities must ensure roads are in a proper state of repair to provide safe passage.

    Article Link

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posted by Joe on Wednesday, November 25, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

Follow-up article from the Sun.

Councillor Pam McConnell (vice-chairman of the Police Services Board) says that cops should be held to the same standard as the general public, while surprisingly, Councillor Glenn De Baeremaeker and Councillor Adrian Heaps say that maybe there should be exceptions for cops.


  • No right of cops' way

    They eat and run -- and now they're rapped for blocking city cyclists

    Cops blocking bike lanes to get their coffee and lunch are indicative of a city learning to cope with new bike lanes, according to Toronto Police's political masters.

    But that's no excuse for endangering cyclists, said Councillor Pam McConnell who is vice-chairman of the police services board.

    Officers, she said, are held to a higher standard than other motorists and must follow the rules like everyone else.

    "There are no laws that are for the average citizen that are not for the officers. It is quite the opposite," she said yesterday. "The city is very much growing up in terms of its understanding of different modes of transportation.

    "I think that it is a wake-up call for all of our division commanders to be talking to their officers about this (bike lane) priority of the board ... and the importance of not only enforcing the law, but adhering to the law and modelling the law."

    ...

    "I think police merit special consideration," said Councillor Glenn De Baeremaeker, who cycles to City Hall from Scarborough most days. "Yes, he (the officer) shouldn't have done that, and if it was a member of the public, I'd say yes, that member of the public should get a ticket, but I would make an exception for the police."

    Councillor Adrian Heaps, who heads up the city's cycling advisory committee, said the issue of cops blocking bike lanes for personal use is, "a fine line."

    "People would be the first to complain that the police didn't answer a call because they're walking down the street to their car," he said.

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posted by Joe on Wednesday, November 25, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

From CP24:

A male cyclist has died after being hit by a car in Mississauga on Tuesday evening.

The crash happened after 6:30 p.m. at Bloor Street and Runningbrook Drive, between Dixie and Tomken Roads.

The cyclist was pronounced dead at the scene. The intersection has been shut down for the investigation and will likely remain closed for the rest of the night.

The driver remained at the scene.


Article Link

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posted by Joe on Tuesday, November 24, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

From the Star:

Police do it. EMS workers and bylaw officers do it. But the city wants more of its employees to use sustainable transportation on the job.

That's why Toronto's Smart Commute office has set up a bike-sharing program where employees can sign out two wheels instead of four from Toronto's fleet if they must get to a meeting.

Launched in June, the $10,000 pilot project includes 10 "very funky" Batavus commuter bikes, said Mark Singh, program manager in the Toronto Environment Office.

So far, the bikes have been used only 28 times and only 28 employees have completed the Can-Bike safety training that is a requirement of their use.

But the program will be relaunched in the spring, and there's already a waiting list for the eight Can-Bike courses being scheduled then, Singh said.

City departments such as police and the licensing standards division have their own bike fleets.

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posted by Joe on Tuesday, November 24, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

Cyclist takes city to labour board, claiming roads are unsafe workplace for those who bike for a living.


From the Star:

Ten years ago, bike courier Wayne Scott won an epic battle against Revenue Canada.

His arguments persuaded the Federal Court of Appeal to rule that bike couriers could claim food as a fuel expense on their tax returns.

Now Scott is taking the city to the Ontario Labour Relations Board, claiming Toronto's streets constitute an unsafe workplace for those who cycle on the job.

Three months after former Ontario attorney general Michael Bryant was charged in the death of bike courier Darcy Allan Sheppard, Scott is asking the board to force Toronto to make its streets safer.

He wants the city to study the dangers on its roads and address the problems with better street design, enforcement of traffic rules and more bike lanes, within two years.

Scott, a once and future federal Green Party candidate, says the city has failed to apply the provisions of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, which says employers must take reasonable precautions to protect their workers.

I don't think Scott has a particularly good case... as the city would only be guilty of not providing safe working conditions if they employed bike couriers (which they don't, although they may use their services).

However, I think a case could be made that the City isn't adequately providing safe commuting options for ALL Toronto citizens.

What do you think?

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posted by Joe on Tuesday, November 24, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark



A Toronto Police officer who parked his cruiser in a bike lane to get his lunch is getting no love from his superiors, who are coming down hard on his "stupid" and "unacceptable" actions.

On Sunday,the Sun witnessed a city cop sitting inside the Grillway Cafe, at Runnymede Rd. and Annette St., while his cruiser was blocking a bike lane on Annette.

The officer was parked there for at least 20 minutes before leaving the cafe with a can of pop and a paper lunch bag.

But instead of protecting their own, Toronto Police brass called the officer's parking actions "stupid" and "unacceptable."


[image of copcar in bikelane at Runnymede and Annette taken Fri, Nov. 20 from MyBikeLane.com]

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posted by Joe on Friday, November 20, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark



Happy Friday to you. Here's all the New stuff! :)

  • Bikelane Parking Action Alert
    The Toronto Cyclists Union has a campaign going now to not only increase the amount of the fine someone gets for parking in a bikelane, but also to get parking enforcement officers to pay attention to bikelane parkers more: Lend your voice in support of added enforcement for parking/stopping
  • Nominations Open for Bike-Friendly Business Awards
    Do you know a business that deserves to be recognized for embracing bikes and cyclists like they deserve to be? Here's news from Cyclometer: Nominations are now being accepted for the 2009 Bicycle Friendly Business Awards. Consider honouring your local business or organization by nominating them for a 2009…
  • Eglinton LRT includes Bikelanes
    It's good to hear that like other LRT lines, the Eglinton Crosstown plans include bikelanes. :) TTC to talk Eglinton line, critics wary A draft plan of the 35-kilo-metre route -- which runs from Pearson Airport in the west to Kennedy Station in the east -- will be considered…
  • Weekly News Wrap-Up: Public Bike System
    Happy Friday to you. It's been a slow news week... and that's okay! :) The Walrus looks at Toronto's upcoming Public Bike System Interesting post on the Walrus' blog last month on the forthcoming Public Bike System (or Bixi Toronto) planned to launch in 2010: Driving the Lane: Toronto…


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posted by Joe on Wednesday, November 18, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

The Toronto Cyclists Union has a campaign going now to not only increase the amount of the fine someone gets for parking in a bikelane, but also to get parking enforcement officers to pay attention to bikelane parkers more:


  • Lend your voice in support of added enforcement for parking/stopping in bike lane infractions, and to double this fine from $60 to $120.

    RE: Toronto Police Services Board meeting, Nov 19, 2009

    The Toronto Cyclists Union will be making a written and in-person deputation asking that the fine for parking / stopping in a bike lane be doubled to $120, and that Toronto Police - Parking Enforcement be compelled to have it's officers begin prioritizing the ticketing of all manner of vehicles stopped or parked illegally in bike lanes throughout the city.

    **Please take 5 minutes before 10am on Thursday November 19th to email your support for both of these requests being made on your behalf by the Toronto Cyclists Union.

The Union is also giving people some sample text to email to the Toronto Police Services Board in advance of the meeting... which I have made into an autofilled email link (clicking on this should pre-populate an email in your email client - I've tested it in Outlook, at least):


Subject: Bike Lane Parking Enforcement and Fine Increase

As a cyclist (and occasional driver) in Toronto, I would like to express my support for an increase in the set fine amount for parking / stopping in a bike lane to $120.

Additionally, I believe that Parking Enforcement Officers should prioritize more rigorous enforcement of the no-stopping in bike lanes bylaw.

Cars, delivery trucks and buses parked in bike lanes are a serious threat to the safety of cyclists in Toronto. Cyclists are most vulnerable when they are forced to move out of a bike lane to go around motor vehicles stopped in the lane dedicated to the safe passage of cyclists.

Sincerely,
Your name
Toronto Cyclists Union member / supporter.

Click here to open an auto-filled email, and customize it to your liking. :)

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posted by Joe on Tuesday, November 17, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

Do you know a business that deserves to be recognized for embracing bikes and cyclists like they deserve to be? Here's news from Cyclometer:

Nominations are now being accepted for the 2009 Bicycle Friendly Business Awards.

Consider honouring your local business or organization by nominating them for a 2009 Bicycle Friendly Business Award. When you nominate a cycle friendly business, you’re recognizing their efforts to encourage cycling in our city.

Previous award winners have proven their commitment to cycling through a variety of initiatives such as providing secure bike parking, shower and change facilities, and offering economic incentives for employees who cycle to work.

These businesses and organizations demonstrate leadership in encouraging cycling by employees and/or customers. By supporting this cycling friendly mentality, you will help in creating incentive for other businesses to follow suit.

The 2009 Bicycle Friendly Business Awards will be presented at a special ceremony on Tuesday, January 19, 2010, in partnership with the Toronto Cyclists Union.

Nominate a business or organization on-line or receive a paper copy by calling 416-338-5086 or emailing cyclingevents@toronto.ca.

Award categories:

Best Bike Parking
Bicycle-Friendliest Suburban Business
Bicycle Commute
Best Small Business (up to 99 employees)
Best Large Business (100 employees and over)
Best Skills Development
Best Overall
The nomination deadline is Tuesday, December 17, 2009 at 5 p.m.

The City of Toronto would like to thank the generous sponsors of the 2009 Bicycle Friendly Business Awards: Toronto Cyclists Union, Dufflet Pastries, Live Metal Works.

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posted by Joe on Tuesday, November 17, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

It's good to hear that like other LRT lines, the Eglinton Crosstown plans include bikelanes. :)


TTC to talk Eglinton line, critics wary

A draft plan of the 35-kilo-metre route -- which runs from Pearson Airport in the west to Kennedy Station in the east -- will be considered by the Toronto Transit Commission today.

While about 10 kilometres of the line would be buried through mid-town Toronto, its path through suburban sections of Etobicoke and Scarborough calls for a prohibition on left-hand turns at many major intersections and the creation of U-turn lanes mid-block so vehicles can change directions to access businesses or north-south corridors.

It would also create bike lanes along much of Eglinton.

Full Article

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posted by Joe on Friday, November 13, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark



Happy Friday to you. It's been a slow news week... and that's okay! :)

  • The Walrus looks at Toronto's upcoming Public Bike System
    Interesting post on the Walrus' blog last month on the forthcoming Public Bike System (or Bixi Toronto) planned to launch in 2010: Driving the Lane: Toronto Prepares for Public Bicycling Toronto’s updated plan, modeled after Montreal’s two-year old BIXI and the 20,000–strong Vélib “shared bicycle” program in Paris, proposes…



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posted by Joe on Monday, November 09, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

Interesting post on the Walrus' blog last month on the forthcoming Public Bike System (or Bixi Toronto) planned to launch in 2010:


Driving the Lane: Toronto Prepares for Public Bicycling

Toronto’s updated plan, modeled after Montreal’s two-year old BIXI and the 20,000–strong Vélib “shared bicycle” program in Paris, proposes a start-up service area bounded by High Park in the west, Broadview Avenue in the east, Bloor Street in the north and Lake Ontario to the south. The projected system — roughly 300 rental stations with an initial capacity of 1,000 bicycles, to be increased to 10,000 over the next decade — will inevitably place a greater number of commuters on some of the city’s busiest roads. As a public transportation venture, a bicycle system presents a unique safety imperative. But are bike lanes the solution? Beyond their formidable logistic and financial considerations, would separate lanes ease the competing interests of cyclists and motorists?

I call city councillor Adrian Heaps, chair of the Toronto Cycling Advisory Committee. Beyond novelty users at the program’s inception, he expects that a public bicycle system will appeal to three distinct categories of riders: those who typically use taxis to travel short distances, those who currently use car-share services for shopping trips, and, in non-winter months, tourists. Ultimately, the councillor says, the TCAC’s goal is to reduce car traffic in the downtown core, not to convert drivers outright. Ideally, cyclists and drivers would learn to share without incident. Heaps, though, is skeptical about the partitioning of bike lanes on existing roads as an easy remedy. “Putting a bucket of paint on the road doesn’t make a safer bike corridor,” he says. “It comes down to mutual respect.”

Full Article

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posted by Joe on Friday, November 06, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark



Happy Friday to you. Here's all your news from the past week!

  • Mountain Equipment Co-op raises ire of bicycle industry
    Apparently a large sports retailer getting into the bike business is somehow a no-no? Mountain Equipment Co-op, which has built its retailing reputation on a feel-good image of environmental and social responsibility, has ignited anger in an unlikely place – the bicycle industry. Its foray this month into bike…
  • HUGE Cycling Budget Increase for 2010?
    Now, I'm not an expert in how the city allocates funds for cycling... I do know that of the whole cycling budget, some goes to the Parks & Rec department for trail upkeep, and some goes to the roads department for bikelanes... and some goes other places, but all…


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posted by Joe on Wednesday, November 04, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

Apparently a large sports retailer getting into the bike business is somehow a no-no?


  • Mountain Equipment Co-op, which has built its retailing reputation on a feel-good image of environmental and social responsibility, has ignited anger in an unlikely place – the bicycle industry.

    Its foray this month into bike selling has been criticized by rival specialty retailers for everything from unfair competition because of its tax-exempt status, to a Wal-Mart-style money grab, to unethical sourcing.

    Bike enthusiasts' ire toward MEC intensified when an executive at the non-profit chain slammed the bike industry in a blog on the company's website, calling it “grey, dusty and dirty.” The blog entry was later removed.

    Some bike-parts suppliers have even refused to ship to MEC, while one Quebec distributor last month dropped a major Canadian parts manufacturer from its roster because the supplier is selling to MEC.

    “It's no different to me than somebody buying a product at Wal-Mart that they could buy at their local mom-and-pop store,” says Pete Lilly, owner of Sweet Pete's Bike Shop in Toronto and former president of the Bicycle Trade Association of Canada, which represents suppliers and retailers in the estimated $1-billion industry.

    “Independent bicycle retail offers something very different than Mountain Equipment Co-op can,” Mr. Lilly says.

    Full Article

No disrespect to Pete Lilly, but different types of people shop at different kinds of stores. Does he have the same objection to Canadian Tire selling bikes?

Should only independent retailers sell bikes? Why?

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posted by Joe on Wednesday, November 04, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

Now, I'm not an expert in how the city allocates funds for cycling... I do know that of the whole cycling budget, some goes to the Parks & Rec department for trail upkeep, and some goes to the roads department for bikelanes... and some goes other places, but all the news stories about the 2010 budget has great news for cycling infrastructure:


  • - Next year Toronto will spend $217.6 million on new subway cars that will hold more passengers - the beginning of a 10-year program to buy a total of 360 new subway cars;

    - The city will spend $72 million on new buses, part of a 10-year program to buy 390 new buses.

    - Construction of the Sheppard East light rail line will gather speed, with spending of $163 million.

    - Plans call for $22.6 million of spending next year on new bike lanes and paths.

Looking back at old blog posts about the subject, I dredged up some old cycling budget numbers:

2010 - 22.6 million
2009 - 8.6 million
2008 - 5.5 million
2007 - 3.0 million

I hope I'm not wrong about this being a HUGE increase, but maybe someone better versed in municipal budgets could shed some more light on this?

Discuss this on the Biking Toronto Forum

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posted by Joe on Friday, October 30, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark



Happy Friday to you. Here's all your news from the past week! Not as much going on now that the weather is cooling down, but there's always *something* going on. :)


  • SmartCentres Appeal Request Denied
    Back in April, SmartCentres appealed the OMBs decision to not allow a bigbox development in Leslieville. News from Paul Young of the South Riverdale Community Health Centre is that this request has been denied: The Ontario Divisional Court has just handed down their decision...
  • West Toronto Railpath: Official Opening - Fri, Oct. 30
    Councillor Adam Giambrone invites you to the official opening of the West Toronto Railpath Park on Friday, October 30, 2009. Councillor Giambrone, the City of Toronto, and Friends of the West Toronto Railpath are pleased to open the first 2.1 km of this exciting recreational trail...


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posted by Joe on Wednesday, October 28, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

Back in April, SmartCentres appealed the OMBs decision to not allow a bigbox development in Leslieville.

News from Paul Young of the South Riverdale Community Health Centre is that this request has been denied:

  • The Ontario Divisional Court has just handed down their decision.

    The request for appeal of the OMB's decision has been denied.

    To quote our lawyer, Eric Gillespie,

    "There is no ability to appeal from this decision, so this is the end for SmartCentres' case."

    We'd like to thank Eric, the city lawyer Brendan O'Callahan, and everyone who participated at the OMB hearing or contributed toward helping the cause for our community!

Here's a few blog posts about the subject:

SmartCentres and their Dumb BigBox Parking Lot Plan for the Lakeshore Multi-Use Path (April 2008)

OMB Stops Walmart - Good News for East End Cyclists (March 2009)

SmartCentres Appeals Pro-Neighbourhood and Pro-Cyclist OMB Decision (April 2009)

  • This is great news for Toronto cyclists because not only will a 1,700 parking lot NOT be built, but the proposed SmartCentre plan called for multiple multi-lane driveways to be built across the multi-use path that runs along the north side of Lakeshore Boulevarde.

    The development would have turned a nice and well-used multi-use path...

    ... into an intersection like the one at Lakeshore and Leslie:

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posted by Joe on Monday, October 26, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

Councillor Adam Giambrone invites you to the official opening of the West Toronto Railpath Park on Friday, October 30, 2009. Councillor Giambrone, the City of Toronto, and Friends of the West Toronto Railpath are pleased to open the first 2.1 km of this exciting recreational trail.

* Date: Friday, October 30, 2009
* Location: West Toronto Railpath entrance at Wallace Avenue (south of Dupont, west of Perth, north of Bloor). (map)

* Time:
o 2:00 p.m. – Opening Remarks
o 2:15 p.m. – Official Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
o 2:20 p.m. – cyclists gathered ride the trail and enjoy the sculptures
o 2:25 p.m. – interested participants invited walk 2.1 km and explore the trail and sculptures
* RSVP: Toronto Protocol RSVP Line 416-392-7667

The West Toronto Railpath Park is a new 2.1 kilometre multi-use trail that is perfect for cyclists, joggers, and people out for a stroll. Travelling alongside the railway corridor, it features extensive naturalized landscaping to create an appealing public space.

More Info (and Photos!) in the Biking Toronto Forum

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posted by Joe on Friday, October 23, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark



Happy Friday to you. Here's all your news from the past week!


  • Queens Quay Revitalization Update
    Waterfront Toronto has released their October newsletter, which includes an update on the Queens Quay Revitalization: Waterfront Toronto’s plan to transform Queens Quay into a grand lakefront boulevard was approved overwhelmingly at October’s City Council meeting. The recommendation to replace two lanes of traffic south of the streetcar tracks…
  • Thank You - Cyclists Paving the Way
    Cyclists make nice to drivers About 5,000 cards with the words "Thank You" have been printed for cyclists to give to deserving drivers, perhaps by tapping on the car window at a stop light, Bambrick said. A motorist who looks over his or her shoulder before swinging open their…
  • Michael Bryant can't drive, so he's cycling
    Lawyers to make court appearance in Bryant case Lawyers in the Michael Bryant case are expected to make a brief court appearance today, their first since the former attorney-general was charged in connection with the death of a cyclist. Dan Robertson of Navigator Limited, the public-relations firm hired by…
  • 2009: A Good/Bad Year for Cycling?
    A recent Torontoist post about the Bike Union's BikeCampTO makes the argument that 2009 has been a bad year for cycling in the city. I commented on the post and listed 6 things (just to name a few) that have happened this year that makes it a GOOD year…



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posted by Joe on Tuesday, October 20, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

Waterfront Toronto has released their October newsletter, which includes an update on the Queens Quay Revitalization:

Queens Quay Martin Goodman Trail
Waterfront Toronto’s plan to transform Queens Quay into a grand lakefront boulevard was approved overwhelmingly at October’s City Council meeting. The recommendation to replace two lanes of traffic south of the streetcar tracks with a beautiful linear park stems from a two-year long Environmental Assessment (EA) process that featured extensive public input.

The plan will be submitted to the Ontario Ministry of Environment (MOE) in November for approval, and the public will have a 30-day comment period during which they can review the full project report and provide feedback.

If approved by the MOE, Waterfront Toronto will begin schematic design for the entire project area from Spadina Avenue to Parliament Street. This first phase of design, which is expected to take about four months, will result in a comprehensive layout of the street from end to end and will be followed by detailed design work.

The construction of the revitalized Queens Quay will occur in phases to match funding availability. The first phase of construction, which will begin in the central waterfront, will be determined during schematic design. Phase one construction is expected to begin about one year after approval of the EA and will take 12 to 18 months to complete. The design and construction process will include numerous opportunities for public feedback.

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posted by Joe on Monday, October 19, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

Cyclists make nice to drivers

About 5,000 cards with the words "Thank You" have been printed for cyclists to give to deserving drivers, perhaps by tapping on the car window at a stop light, Bambrick said.

A motorist who looks over his or her shoulder before swinging open their door into the street – sparing an oncoming cyclist the chance of collision – would qualify for a card, Bambrick says.

It's "a chance for cyclists to thank the drivers who do see them, and do treat them with respect and as fellow citizens," she added.

"We're trying to move away from the angry stuff that happened over the summer," she told a group at this weekend's BikeCamp T.O. event, which the union put on to discuss cycling issues.

Full Article.


Share Your Stories of thanking drivers for good behaviour in the Biking Toronto Forum


Nice to see the Union is embracing the notion that positivity ALWAYS gets more results than negativity. It's a concept more cycling advocates should wake up to.

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posted by Joe on Monday, October 19, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark


Lawyers to make court appearance in Bryant case

Lawyers in the Michael Bryant case are expected to make a brief court appearance today, their first since the former attorney-general was charged in connection with the death of a cyclist.

Dan Robertson of Navigator Limited, the public-relations firm hired by Mr. Bryant shortly after the incident, said that Mr. Bryant would not be attending.

The accused faces charges of dangerous driving and criminal negligence causing the death of Darcy Allan Sheppard, 33, a bicycle courier who collided with Mr. Bryant's Saab convertible on Aug. 31.

Mr. Bryant was charged and released the next day without a bail hearing and was told to surrender his passport and refrain from driving.

He has since been spotted cycling.

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posted by Joe on Friday, October 16, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

A recent Torontoist post about the Bike Union's BikeCampTO makes the argument that 2009 has been a bad year for cycling in the city.

I commented on the post and listed 6 things (just to name a few) that have happened this year that makes it a GOOD year for cycling.

We are still 2.5 months from the end of the year, but let's start adding up the good things that have happened for cycling.

Even the Bryant/Sheppard incident is good for the discussion it has created.

Here are the quick six I thought of off the cuff for the Torontoist comment:

  • Todd, you seem to be falling into the "woe is me" mindset of many cycling advocates in this city in the writing of this article.

    2009 has not sucked AT ALL for bikes in this city:

    1) The fact that there is enough demand to hold a "BikeCamp"

    2) Bikelanes approved for Jarvis, a major artery, ... and they are ones that aren't put in "where there is room" but actually replacing car traffic

    3) The opening of Toronto's first BikeStation at Union Station, with more planned at City Hall and TTC stations.

    4) The Bryant/Sheppard incident brought attention to the need to share the road with all road users.

    5) Bike Store opens at First Canadian Place.

    6) Toronto looks to repeat Montreal's success with Bixi bike rentals by exploring options for our own bikesharing system.

Have ones to add? Share them in the Forum!

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posted by Joe on Friday, October 16, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark



Happy Friday to you. Here's all your news from the past week!

  • Update on the Toronto Police Downtown Bike Blitz
    Yesterday, there was talk of a "Downtown Bike Blitz" being put on by Toronto Police - targeting cyclists running red lights and biking on sidewalks. The Toronto Police Service has let us know (via twitter) that there is no official campaign going on: Last night on Twitter I received…
  • Toronto Police Bike Blitz Downtown Today?
    Over on Twitter, there's some talk about police doing a Ticketing Blitz on cyclists downtown: Cops all over downtown today fining bikers who ride on sidewalks or pass thru the red light. Walk your bike on sidewalks! Anyone know more? Posted via web from bikingtoronto's posterous
  • Toronto Bike Messengers Looking to Unionize
    The Ryerson Free Press has an article about the plight of the bike courier to make a decent wage in Toronto: “You can compare it to people taking advantage of the labour in the third world. Courier companies don’t have to pay holidays or vacation pay…
  • Biking to Work in North America- Toronto is Number 5!
    The battle over which North American city is the best for biking is fierce and— most likely—unresolvable. Our latest Transparency will tell you which cities’ residents make the largest percentage of their commutes by bike. Portland, Oregon, you can keep on gloating. A collaboration between GOOD and Chris Korbey.…
  • New Off-Road Trail in East Don Valley
    Great news via the Don Watcher Blog: Since the summer the city has been busy creating a new trail in the East Don. The new trail will link a park known locally as Milne Hollow which is accessible from Lawrence Ave. East just east of the Don Valley Parkway…
  • Bicycling Magazine: When Worlds Collide
    Bicycling is covering the Bryant / Sheppart Incident in great detail: Darcy Allan Sheppard and Michael Bryant came from different worlds, but when they met in the heart of the posh shopping district on Toronto’s Bloor Street, their worlds violently collided. In the wake of that collision, one life…
  • Igor Kenk has been denied bail
    Igor Kenk is not getting out of jail any time soon... "The man accused of being Toronto's most notorious bike thief has failed to persuade a judge to reinstate the bail revoked last December. Looking dishevelled with long hair and a beard after months of incarceration at Don Jail,…
  • Bike Cops on Toronto Streetview
    Bike police doing their thing: via blogto.com Toronto Bike Cops are awesome. Have you found any cool Toronto bikey stuff on Google Streetview? Share it in the Forum.



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posted by Joe on Thursday, October 15, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

Yesterday, there was talk of a "Downtown Bike Blitz" being put on by Toronto Police - targeting cyclists running red lights and biking on sidewalks. The Toronto Police Service has let us know (via twitter) that there is no official campaign going on:

Last night on Twitter I received this "tweet" from the Toronto Police Services concerning a "blitz":

@TrafficServices: @DuncansCityRide There isn't an official bicycle enforcement campaign happening right now. Might just be divisional based enforcement.


This isn't to say, of course, that the police shouldn't be ticketing such offenses... it's not hard to stop at a red light (what makes cyclists so special that they can ignore traffic laws?) and at least downtown, the streets are safe enough to not HAVE to ride on sidewalks. Leave those for pedestrians.

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posted by Joe on Wednesday, October 14, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

Over on Twitter, there's some talk about police doing a Ticketing Blitz on cyclists downtown:

Cops all over downtown today fining bikers who ride on sidewalks or pass thru the red light. Walk your bike on sidewalks!

Anyone know more?

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posted by Joe on Wednesday, October 14, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

The Ryerson Free Press has an article about the plight of the bike courier to make a decent wage in Toronto:

“You can compare it to people taking advantage of the labour in the third world. Courier companies don’t have to pay holidays or vacation pay… they even try avoiding paying their WSIB,” said Hayward.

Because Ontario labour law recognizes couriers as independent contractors, they do not fall under the protection of the Ontario Employment Standards legislation.

According to Sam Vrankulj, a labour relations professor at McMaster University, independent contractors have no control over wages, vacation entitlement, maximum hours of work or severance.

The Toronto Bike Messenger Association of Toronto in a partnership with the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, are currently leading a movement to unionize each individual courier company, which would allow couriers basic worker’s rights.

Hayward imagines a union contract including vacation pay, paid holidays and better job security. Most importantly, to combat rate undercutting, it would ensure couriers be paid a fair wage even if rates drop. Concurrently though, if rates rise, couriers would be paid according to the higher price.

Though historically, bike couriers have been viewed as a notoriously skeptical subculture of anarchists and anti-establishment types, Hayward remains confident unionizing the industry is possible.

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Photo courtesy of CBC


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posted by Joe on Wednesday, October 14, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

The battle over which North American city is the best for biking is fierce and— most likely—unresolvable. Our latest Transparency will tell you which cities’ residents make the largest percentage of their commutes by bike. Portland, Oregon, you can keep on gloating.

A collaboration between GOOD and Chris Korbey.

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posted by Joe on Tuesday, October 13, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

Great news via the Don Watcher Blog:


Since the summer the city has been busy creating a new trail in the East Don. The new trail will link a park known locally as Milne Hollow which is accessible from Lawrence Ave. East just east of the Don Valley Parkway and an unnamed park at the north end of the Wynford Park neighbourhood.

The sign says that the eventual plan is to have the trail link up all the way south to the Forks of the Don although it may be a little tricky finding space south of Eglinton Ave. East since there is little wiggle room past the Flemingdon Park Golf Course. Here a few pix from the new trail.


Trail just south of Milne Hollow lined with limestone gravel


A little farther south the path lining changes to wood chips


The path as it goes under the CPR main line just north of Wynford Park

Talk about the new trail on the BikingToronto Forum

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posted by Joe on Tuesday, October 13, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

Bicycling is covering the Bryant / Sheppart Incident in great detail:

Darcy Allan Sheppard and Michael Bryant came from different worlds, but when they met in the heart of the posh shopping district on Toronto’s Bloor Street, their worlds violently collided. In the wake of that collision, one life ended, and another lay in ruins. On the night of August 31, Sheppard—the Toronto bike messenger—and Bryant—the Toronto politician—both on their way home, became involved in a minor traffic dispute that quickly escalated into a violent incident of road rage, and within moments, Sheppard lay mortally injured on Bloor Street. Within hours, Bryant faced charges of criminal negligence causing death and dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death.

When serious charges have been laid, all but the most indigent will hire a criminal defense attorney to represent them. Michael Bryant was no exception; it was soon announced that he had retained Marie Henein , one of Toronto’s best criminal defense lawyers, with a well-deserved reputation as “a formidable opponent” who is “razor sharp” and “a lawyer’s lawyer.” Henein wasn’t Bryant’s only hire, however—the morning following Sheppard’s death, it was revealed that Bryant was being represented by the Toronto PR firm Navigator Ltd., which, among its other services, specializes in “CEO Reputation Building ” and “crisis communications .” After being released on his own recognizance that morning, Sheppard went before the cameras to offer his “deepest condolences” to Sheppard’s family, in a page straight out of the textbook of crisis management .

I'm sad to see Bicycling making assumptions about a media-bias, such as:

September 4, in another editorial , the Toronto Sun also proffered the suggestion that Bryant was the victim, rather than the aggressor, posing the question “Finally, ask yourself what you would have done if you were in a car with your spouse, with the top down, and someone was attacking you?”

Well I know *I* would not be happy if someone was attacking me in the same manner.

Whether Sheppard attacked Bryant in this manner has yet to be revealed, or if Bryant "murdered" Sheppard.

Full article here.

Thanks to Dandyhorse (via twitter) for the heads-up.

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posted by Joe on Saturday, October 10, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

Igor Kenk is not getting out of jail any time soon...

"The man accused of being Toronto's most notorious bike thief has failed to persuade a judge to reinstate the bail revoked last December.

Looking dishevelled with long hair and a beard after months of incarceration at Don Jail, Igor Kenk smiled at his wife Jeanie Chung before he was led away from a University Ave. courtroom Friday afternoon after losing his bid for release."

Link

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posted by Joe on Friday, October 09, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

Bike police doing their thing:

Toronto Bike Cops are awesome.

Have you found any cool Toronto bikey stuff on Google Streetview?

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posted by Joe on Friday, October 09, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark



Happy Friday to you. Here's all your news from the past week!

Torontoist - Fix Your Bike, Matey
Torontoist visits Bike Pirates: Fix Your Bike, Matey "We started in a backyard, in a communal living house," said Geoffrey Bercarich, another longtime volunteer. From that backyard, Bike Pirates moved to a curb, then to a storefront at Bathurst and College streets, where a benefactor, known to members as…

Recreation Committee to Discuss BMX "Go Forward" Strategy
The Recreation Committee is discussing the BMX "Go Forward" Strategy (PDF link) this Friday: This report presents a Toronto BMX Go Forward Strategy that, in part, sets out a number of principles and strategic actions that would help make Toronto an improved cycling community for BMX, as well as…

Environment report knocks Toronto's lack of bike lanes
From the CBC: Environment report knocks Toronto's lack of bike lanes Toronto's cycling enthusiasts celebrated a small victory this week after the province's environmental commissioner released a report criticizing the city over its lack of bike lanes. In his annual report, this year entitled Building Resiliance, commissioner Gord Miller…

Canada's bike industry is growing despite economic turmoil
Info from a call for interviews from Bicycle Trade Association of Canada: Canada's bike industry is growing despite economic turmoil The Canadian cycling industry, like every other sector, has been impacted by the global economic crises. Numbers recently collected from Canadian specialty bike retailers and suppliers, however, suggest that…

InsideToronto: City bike plan pedals ahead slowly
City bike plan pedals ahead slowly According to city transportation staff, various hitches in proposed bike lanes around the city have meant that the process has slowed down somewhat. Public works and infrastructure chair Glenn De Baeremaeker wryly blamed democracy. "Some councillors have asked that there be more consultation…

Cycling Education in Public Schools
Interesting little piece from the Sun: First driver's-ed, now bike-ed Toronto public schools should take a spin at cyclist education, one trustee says. Josh Matlow is trying to get his colleagues at the Toronto District School Board to agree on a bicycle safety awareness campaign for students. "We offer…

Sidewalk Cycling Fine in Scarborough? $3.75
Afraid to bike on the big bikelane-free arterial roads in scarborough, where cars go 80-100 km/h? Breaking law nets $3.75 fine Sidewalk cycling is still 'a joke' in Scarborough Getting caught cycling on the sidewalk is a lot cheaper in Scarborough. A ticket for sidewalk cycling in most parts…

E-bikes face new sidewalk parking rules
From the Toronto Sun: E-bikes face new sidewalk parking rules Pedestrian and cycling advocates want the city to put the brakes on where e-bikes can park and ride. "They could seriously injure or kill a pedestrian if they hit a pedestrian on the sidewalk," says Dylan Reid, co-chairman of…

Today at the Public Works Committee
Via the TCAT Newsletter: The Toronto Cycling Advisory Committee (TCAC) put forward some recommendations to the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee that will be heard today. These recommendations include: * that Transportation Services attend the TCAC Oct 29th meeting to report on its plans for accommodating bike lanes on…

Your Chance to Improve Bike Parking Regulations
Via the TCAT Newsletter: TCAT was recently approached by Alan Heisey, a municipal lawyer and year-round Toronto cyclist for over 30 years. He has been reviewing the City of Toronto's new comprehensive zoning bylaw and believes that the sections pertaining to bicycle parking could be further improved. Heisey's law…

Bumpy road for Bike Station
From the Toronto Star... a column about the challenges that have confronted (and have yet to confront) Toronto's first Bike Station: Bumpy road for bike station It is the kind of facility planners and cyclists have long insisted Toronto needs to encourage green commuting. But timing is everything, and…

Rachel McAdams: Bicycle Built For One in Toronto
A solo Rachel McAdams goes for a bike ride in her hometown of Toronto, Canada on Sunday (October 4). Last month, the 30-year-old Canadian actress attended the Altuzarra Spring 2010 show during NY Fashion Week. She sat next to Gossip Girl’s Leighton Meester, who told JustJared.com that Rachel was…

Myth and Reality of Cycling and Safety
Great article from RaiseTheHammer.org: Myth and Reality of Cycling and Safety Too much of the car-vs-bicycle debate is overrun by myths and rank misinformation. Myth: Cyclists don't pay for the roads and therefore have no right to use them. Reality: Municipal roads are paid for out of property taxes,…

Torontoist: Sharrows Land on Bloor
Sharrows on Bloor at Yonge (top) and Church (bottom). Photos by David Topping/Torontoist. Though they only last for three hundred metres so far, this is no small victory for cyclists. Bloor Street East, between just west of Yonge and just east of Church, has just gained freshly painted sharrows…

E-Bikes now fully legal on Ontario roads
Toronto Sun: No more getting the gears for e-bikes The electric bike's long journey to legality is over. "E-bikes provide an important transportation option to Ontarians. They are affordable, green and easy to use," Transportation Minister Jim Bradley said in a release. "The McGuinty government is pleased to welcome…


Have a great Thanksgiving Weekend everyone!

Joe.

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posted by Joe on Thursday, October 08, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

Torontoist visits Bike Pirates:

  1. Fix Your Bike, Matey

    "We started in a backyard, in a communal living house," said Geoffrey Bercarich, another longtime volunteer. From that backyard, Bike Pirates moved to a curb, then to a storefront at Bathurst and College streets, where a benefactor, known to members as "the anarchist professor," let the org stay for two years at below-market rent, before asking them to move on to another location last year .

    Chloé and Geoff spoke to us in the back of Bike Pirates's new storefront, at 1292 Bloor Street West, across a table in a little makeshift kitchenette that looked like it had been pretty well lived-in. Bike Pirates isn't exactly a repair shop, see—it's more of a community. And its members share much more than kitchen space.

    Tools and knowledge, for instance.

    Bike Pirates began as a loosely organized tool-sharing program, where members could dip into a centralized pool of equipment for bicycle repairs. Today, their storefront resembles a fully functional bike shop, but with an important difference: "We won't service your bike," said Chloé. "We'll help you service your bike."

    In other words, bringing your broken-down beater to the Pirates means taking their tools and their expert guidance and using those things to learn to do it all yourself. They're the opposite of a full-service, no-sweat repair place, but to the segment of the bicycling public for whom dirty fingernails aren't a problem, Bike Pirates is cycling Avalon. They don't make repairs; they make repairpeople.

Rest of the article is here

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posted by Joe on Wednesday, October 07, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

The Recreation Committee is discussing the BMX "Go Forward" Strategy (PDF link) this Friday:

This report presents a Toronto BMX Go Forward Strategy that, in part, sets out a number of principles and strategic actions that would help make Toronto an improved cycling community for BMX, as well as other types of off-road cyclists. The strategic actions (see Attachment #1) aim to create an environment that helps to mitigate some of the concerns of the local off-road cycling community.

An integrated network of on and off-road recreational cycling facilities and trails would benefit a wide range of users of the City’s parks and trails systems, including local and visiting cyclists, skateboarders and hikers.

The City manages the wooden ramps at Wallace-Emerson Park, which are on loan from Toronto BMX, and also manages the dirt jumps at this and the Bayview Arena site. This report identifies current operations and maintenance that occurs at the City’s two existing BMX sites, as well as sets out additional basic operations and maintenance practices that should be considered for these facilities in the future.

Full PDF document here.

What are your thoughts?

[top photo of the BMX park at Wallace Emerson Community Centre from Hogtown Blue on Flickr]

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posted by Joe on Wednesday, October 07, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

From the CBC:


  • Environment report knocks Toronto's lack of bike lanes

    Toronto's cycling enthusiasts celebrated a small victory this week after the province's environmental commissioner released a report criticizing the city over its lack of bike lanes.

    In his annual report, this year entitled Building Resiliance, commissioner Gord Miller criticized Toronto's handling over the Bloor Street revitalization project.

    The report said that the city didn't have to consult the public because of the way the project was classified.

    "It was classified as an 'A' which means there was very little opportunity for public consultation and discussion that some proponents of cycling wanted to see," Miller said after tabling his report in the provincial legislature on Tuesday.

    Miller said the classification resulted in the loss of bikes lanes in the area of Bloor, between Church Street and Avenue Road.

    He said the province needs to do more to ensure bicycles are taken into consideration when municipalities seek provincial approval.

    "There should be a mandatory requirement," said Miller "[that] in future in these kinds of projects that cycling and pedestrians — as legitimate forms of transportation — be included in the consideration and the alternatives in discussion and design."

    Eventually the Bloor Street Transformation Project plan ended up in court. The city got what it wanted and cyclists ended up with 'sharrows' — a shared lane with traffic — instead of bicycle-only lanes.

    Full article

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posted by Joe on Wednesday, October 07, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

Info from a call for interviews from Bicycle Trade Association of Canada:


  • Canada's bike industry is growing despite economic turmoil

    The Canadian cycling industry, like every other sector, has been impacted by the global economic crises.

    Numbers recently collected from Canadian specialty bike retailers and suppliers, however, suggest that businesses north of the border are faring far better than their American colleagues, or other Canadian retail sectors.

    Rob Jones, Director of Data Capture for the Bicycle Trade Association of Canada, has been analyzing the latest information [in regards to] how 2009 has been in comparison to 2008:

    • For Q4 2008 sales grew 2%, while the U.S. industry declined 13%
    • Annually, in 2008 Canadian sales grew 9.3%
    • Sales Year-Over-Year have increased 18% in the first six months of 2009
    • Which sectors of the bike industry are doing particularly well and why

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posted by Joe on Wednesday, October 07, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

City bike plan pedals ahead slowly

According to city transportation staff, various hitches in proposed bike lanes around the city have meant that the process has slowed down somewhat. Public works and infrastructure chair Glenn De Baeremaeker wryly blamed democracy.

"Some councillors have asked that there be more consultation - so for the sake of democracy and public input, some projects are being slowed down," he said. "If you're the business owner or the school or the church on that road, it's a big deal. We want to do this democratically."

The city will be building less than 25 kilometres of bike lanes next year, as opposed to about 50 kilometres by the end of 2009, said De Baeremaeker - a figure that he admitted was far less than he would have liked to have approved.

Adrian Heaps, the chair of Toronto's Cycling Committee, expressed his frustration at the slow progress.

"I just think from the perspective of the bike plan we need to set quantifiable goals," he said. "If we can't do something today - I accept that. But if we can do it six months down the road, that's something I want."

One thing the city is moving forward in, in the longer term, is the plan to construct city-spanning dedicated bike lanes along the Bloor-Danforth corridor. Heaps called that the "Transit City" of bicycle infrastructure.

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posted by Joe on Wednesday, October 07, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

Interesting little piece from the Sun:


  • First driver's-ed, now bike-ed

    Toronto public schools should take a spin at cyclist education, one trustee says.

    Josh Matlow is trying to get his colleagues at the Toronto District School Board to agree on a bicycle safety awareness campaign for students.

    "We offer a driver's education course, we should focus on cycling education, too," the St. Paul's trustee said yesterday. He will make his pitch at the Oct. 14 meeting of the board's programs and school services committee.

    "It is important that the next generation of bicyclists is aware of all relevant legislation, rules and safety practices to protect themselves, along with others, when riding bicycles in Toronto," Matlow states in his motion.

    If students have an understanding of the rules for both cars and bicycles, both drivers and riders should be safer, he said. Partnerships with organizations such as Toronto Police could keep costs to a minimum, Matlow said.

    Link

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posted by Joe on Wednesday, October 07, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

Afraid to bike on the big bikelane-free arterial roads in scarborough, where cars go 80-100 km/h?


  • Breaking law nets $3.75 fine
    Sidewalk cycling is still 'a joke' in Scarborough

    Getting caught cycling on the sidewalk is a lot cheaper in Scarborough.

    A ticket for sidewalk cycling in most parts of Toronto costs $85 but it will only land you a $3.75 fine in the east-end suburb due to lack of harmony between bylaws across the megacity.

    "For $3.75, it ain't worth the time," a frustrated Scarborough-Agincourt Councillor Mike Del Grande told the Sun yesterday. "It's a joke."

    "We're 10 years after the fact and we're still, 'harmonize this and harmonize that,' A bicycle is a bicycle no matter where you go and it should have been one of the easier ones (to harmonize)."

    Today, councillors on the public works and infrastructure committee will consider Del Grande's motion --approved by the Scarborough community council -- to harmonize bike fines and other issues related to bike safety across the city.

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posted by Joe on Tuesday, October 06, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

From the Toronto Sun:


  • E-bikes face new sidewalk parking rules

    Pedestrian and cycling advocates want the city to put the brakes on where e-bikes can park and ride.

    "They could seriously injure or kill a pedestrian if they hit a pedestrian on the sidewalk," says Dylan Reid, co-chairman of the Toronto Pedestrian Committee.

    "E-bikes are a good thing, it's just that they really shouldn't be on the sidewalk," he said yesterday.

    City council's public works and infrastructure committee will consider a recommendation from the pedestrian committee today to ban e-bike parking on city sidewalks.

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posted by Joe on Tuesday, October 06, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

Via the TCAT Newsletter:

  • The Toronto Cycling Advisory Committee (TCAC) put forward some recommendations to the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee that will be heard today. These recommendations include:

    * that Transportation Services attend the TCAC Oct 29th meeting to report on its plans for accommodating bike lanes on Bloor Street
    * that Transportation Services provide PWIC with 1) a list of priority projects for 2010, 2) increase the fine for parking in bike lanes, and 3) consider the feasibility of re-visiting the Roncesvalle Avenue project in order to include bike lanes as part of the final streetscape design.

    The entire letter that the TCAC sent to PWIC can be downloaded here. Martin Koob, one of TCAT's founders and the primary blogger at biketoronto.ca will be making a deputation to PWIC in support of the TCAC's recommendations. His deputation can be viewed here.

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posted by Joe on Tuesday, October 06, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

Via the TCAT Newsletter:

  • TCAT was recently approached by Alan Heisey, a municipal lawyer and year-round Toronto cyclist for over 30 years. He has been reviewing the City of Toronto's new comprehensive zoning bylaw and believes that the sections pertaining to bicycle parking could be further improved.

    Heisey's law student has prepared specific amendments (available here) and is seeking comments on this draft from various individuals and organizations committed to cycling. If you have feedback please send them to Ugo Popadic at PHM Law with a copy to TCAT. This is a great opportunity for citizens to have their suggestions converted into legal format.

    If you prefer, you can also comment on the new bylaws directly on the City of Toronto's website.

    The deadline for comments is November 30th.

    Background: Since 2004, the City of Toronto has been working on harmonizing the 43 different zoning by-laws inherited from the six pre-amalgamation municipalities into one single comprehensive zoning by-law. The draft new zoning bylaw will govern land use and development standards within the City of Toronto using a common zoning language. Dylan Reid provided an interesting analysis of the new bylaw process in Spacing.

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posted by Joe on Monday, October 05, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

From the Toronto Star... a column about the challenges that have confronted (and have yet to confront) Toronto's first Bike Station:


  • Bumpy road for bike station

    It is the kind of facility planners and cyclists have long insisted Toronto needs to encourage green commuting. But timing is everything, and celebration over the opening of Canada's first bike storage station, at Union Station, was muted somewhat by the city workers' strike this summer.

    So the city is trying again to spread the word about its new answer to many of the woes that befall urban cyclists.

    Toronto's version doesn't have the fancy showers and café of the bike station in Chicago's Millennium Park. But it does provide a secure refuge from the theft and vandalism that plague city cyclists.

    With a rack of tools and a vending machine that dispenses tire tubes, as well as snacks, it is a haven for fixing flats, and there's a clean room where cyclists can exchange their sweaty duds for office wear.

    The $400,000 Union Station facility is considered a pilot, the prelude to a bigger bike station to be built at City Hall next year that will accommodate up to 400 bikes.

    But no sooner had it opened on May 26 than the strike hit, shutting it down for most of the summer. And then there's the location and signage – photocopied pages directing cyclists to it are taped to the corridor walls.

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posted by Joe on Monday, October 05, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark


Rachel McAdams: Bicycle Built For One

A solo Rachel McAdams goes for a bike ride in her hometown of Toronto, Canada on Sunday (October 4).

Last month, the 30-year-old Canadian actress attended the Altuzarra Spring 2010 show during NY Fashion Week. She sat next to Gossip Girl’s Leighton Meester, who told JustJared.com that Rachel was “so beautiful in person! Very nice, too.”

Rachel next stars in the detective flick, Sherlock Holmes, out Christmas Day. The movie also stars Jude Law and Robert Downey Jr.

Other BikingToronto posts about Rachel McAdams:

Rachel McAdams: Another Celebrity Who Loves Biking Toronto

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posted by Joe on Saturday, October 03, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

Great article from RaiseTheHammer.org:


Myth and Reality of Cycling and Safety
Too much of the car-vs-bicycle debate is overrun by myths and rank misinformation.

Myth: Cyclists don't pay for the roads and therefore have no right to use them.

Reality: Municipal roads are paid for out of property taxes, which are paid by all residents. Fuel taxes pay for freeways and highways that cyclists cannot use. As the Ministry of Transport's, Guide to Safe Cycling reminds us, "Bicycles are prohibited on expressway / freeway highways such as the 400 series, the QEW."

Myth: Bicycles are not vehicles.

Reality: The Guide states, "A bicycle is a vehicle under the Ontario Highway Traffic Act (HTA). This means that, as a bicyclist, you have the same rights and responsibilities to obey all traffic laws as other road users."

Myth: Cyclists must always stay as close to the curb as possible so motorists are not slowed down.

Reality: Cyclists should generally ride 1m from the curb "unless they are turning left, going faster than other vehicles or if the lane is too narrow to share", according to the Guide.


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posted by Joe on Saturday, October 03, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

Sharrows on Bloor Street at Yonge Street

Sharrows on Bloor Street East at Church Street
Sharrows on Bloor at Yonge (top) and Church (bottom). Photos by David Topping/Torontoist.

Though they only last for three hundred metres so far, this is no small victory for cyclists. Bloor Street East, between just west of Yonge and just east of Church, has just gained freshly painted sharrows on both sides of the street. From what we saw today on the recently renovated roadway, they seem to be doing their jobs already: motorists are giving cyclists a bit more space than usual, and cyclists have moved a bit more into the road rather than towards the curb.

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posted by Joe on Friday, October 02, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

  • Toronto Sun: No more getting the gears for e-bikes

    The electric bike's long journey to legality is over.

    "E-bikes provide an important transportation option to Ontarians. They are affordable, green and easy to use," Transportation Minister Jim Bradley said in a release. "The McGuinty government is pleased to welcome the e-bike to Ontario's transportation mix."

    It's been three years since e-bikes were first allowed on Ontario roads as part of a pilot project. During that time, the government says its had mostly positive feedback about the machines, which can be both pedalled and powered by their small electric motor.

    Bradley has tweaked the rules on the bikes slightly, adding a ban on modifications that would allow them to travel faster than 32 km/h and requiring a maximum nine-metre braking distance at top speed.

    All previous restrictions on e-bikes will continue to apply, including a maximum weight of 120 kg. Drivers must be at least 16 and wear a helmet. Otherwise, an e-bike must follow the same rules as a regular bicycle. They're also barred from 400-series highways.

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posted by Joe on Friday, October 02, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

Happy Friday everyone. Here's all the news from the past week.

  • The Quest for Complete Streets in Toronto

    The private automobile is the only method of transportation that is routinely given a bye past the first round of design; everything else has to be studied and justified or is relegated to the margins as an afterthought. Even the way that streets are designed and funded is stacked in favour of the car: design most frequently begins with vehicle lanes—how many and how wide—and then tries to squeeze all other users into whatever space remains. Sorry, we need four wide lanes for cars. But sidewalks? Benches? Bike lanes? Crosswalks? Those are frills and we can't afford them. Some suggest that we'd arrive at a more equitable division of space if we designed from the edges in: start with sidewalks, buffers, and space for cyclists, and then squeeze cars into whatever space is left in the middle.
  • National Post Editorial: Time to stop giving bicylists a free ride

    Everybody knows that drivers of automobiles must pay their way. To drive on city roads, they pay heavy gasoline taxes to offset the cost. Drivers pay to park. They pay for car licences and driver's licences, which are all taxes. They pay heavy third-party liability insurance fees in case they run somebody over or ram into another car. All this is fair and just, right?
  • Toronto Marathon features Paramedics on Two Wheels

    This past weekend, the 50,000 or so competitors and spectators at the Waterfront Marathon in Toronto were able to get a bandage, oxygen or splint applied by a professional in mere minutes if they needed it.
  • Bike Parking Empty at Ryerson - Why?

    Out of its 65 racks, only 13 are actually being used, according to ancillary services. Campus bike thefts reached their peak in 2005 and the problem continues. Despite a colourful mural marking the location, student cyclist Shannon Jager has never heard of the service, which can be found by a laneway near Bond and Dundas Streets. "I didn't even know we had such a thing," said Jager, who uses public bike racks to store her bike.
  • Cycling's Enemy is not the Car

    Cycling's enemy is not the car; it is the idiot. And idiots travel by foot, car, and bicycle. If anything, the bicycle has more in common with the car than it does with the pedestrian, since the bicycle is a vehicle too.

  • BikeCamp TO: Sat, October 17, 2009

    It's essentially a series of simultaneous participant led/generated workshops - all related to various aspects of cycling, and the politics of cycling advocacy. BikeCamp is an opportunity for bike union members, would be members, and the wider cycling advocacy community, to come together and jam on a variety of ideas, campaigns, events.

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posted by Joe on Friday, September 25, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

Happy Friday everyone. Here's all the news from the past week.

  • Fighting for a safer ride of way

    Eleanor McMahon, founder of the Share the Road Cycling Coalition, organized the first Ontario Bike Summit, running through tomorrow in Waterloo, to talk about how the province can make cycling safer and more accessible.
  • Looking ‘broken,’ Igor Kenk faces trial

    Police recovered 2,865 bikes and $70,000 of marijuana and cocaine. At the time of his first bail hearing, the messianic ramblings of this tall, athletic man, coupled with his goatee and shoulder-length hair, gave him a Christ-like aura. Later he appeared cleanshaven, with a crewcut. But today he looked more like Moses, or perhaps Charles Manson; his beard curls down to his chest and his mane of brown hair is starting to form into dreadlocks. His face is lined and worn.
  • Ontarians afraid to ride bikes, survey says

    “Sixty per cent of those surveyed said they don’t cycle, because they are too frightened to do so,” said Eleanor McMahon, founder of the Share the Road Cycling Coalition, which is holding its first Ontario Bike Summit at the Waterloo Inn this week.
  • Donate to Cancer, win a Bertelli Bike!

    Every person who donates $20 or more to my ride between now and October 1st will be entered into a draw for a custom-designed, one-of-a-kind LIVESTRONG-inspired masterpiece by Italian design maestro Francesco Bertelli. Click here to donate and be entered to win. Click here to see more of Francesco’s work.



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posted by Joe on Friday, September 18, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

Happy Friday everyone. Here's all the news from the past week.

"If you look at the evidence of what sells downtown, the majority of units under 750 square feet in the downtown core sell without parking,'' said Stephen Deveaux, a vice-president with the developer, Tribute Communities. Parking spots typically add $20,000 or more to the cost of a downtown condo.

There is resistance, however, from cyclists themselves. Earlier this week, when the City of Toronto's works committee considered calling for mandatory, province-wide use of helmets by cyclists, members of the 800-member Toronto Cyclists Union opposed the measure. They urged the city to concentrate on initiatives that would prevent accidents, such as expansion of bike lanes, rather than on mitigating measures that would reduce the injuries caused by accidents.

Despite its dodgy lineage, the mandatory helmet issue represents an unusual opportunity for the TCU to broaden its base and mature as an advocacy group that does more than merely preach to the choir.

Helmets protect cyclists after they fall, she said: The objective should be to prevent collisions in the first place. "(Removing) the things that are happening to them, which I think is the responsibility of municipal and provincial government ... that's the issue," she said, calling for more and better bike lanes and better education for drivers.

Thirty-three children living in the West-end community of Swansea Mews received new bicycles and helmets today, thanks to an ongoing green- and healthy living partnership between the Dutch Consulate General and Toronto Community Housing.

I have a better idea for a city program. I think the city should hire people to stand on College Street or Harbord Street, or Dundas Street East -- routes crowded with thousands of cycling commuters -- and, as the cyclists wait at a red light, hand each of them a $5 bill.

Bike lanes are designed to allow cyclists enough space to go at their own speed. But cyclists may enter the main flow of traffic at any time. If the road is narrow and there isn't enough room to comfortably ride to the right of a car, the cyclist is entitled to occupy the full lane. However, when the road widens and traffic speeds up, cyclists are expected to let motor vehicles squeeze past.

If cyclists are a city council priority on Toronto's streets, Councillor Michael Walker wants to see those cyclists wearing a helmet and licensed to ride on the road.




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posted by Joe on Friday, September 11, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

It's Friday. Time for a big list of newsy links full of bikes! :)




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posted by Joe on Friday, September 04, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

Wow. Busy week in news.

As more details come out about the Bryant / Sheppard Altercation, it's sounding more and more like a horrible road rage incident and less like a cycling issue. That isn't stopping from some cycling advocates to (perhaps wrongly) use the tragedy to push cycling issues.

Here's a ton of links from the past week:

Bryant / Sheppard Altercation:

Ex-Ontario Attorny-General Michael Bryant arrested after death of cyclist

Memorial For Darcy Allen Sheppard

Bryant / Sheppard Incident has Nothing to do with Bikelanes


Cycling Relations Posts:

Collisions between cars and bicycles down, cops say

Searching for a Detente between Bikes and Cars

Toronto Star Editorial: We need to share the city's roads


Other Collisions:

Three cyclists hurt in crashes

More cyclist blood shed on Bloor St.


Other Posts:

Torontoist: The Cyclist Who Drew Toronto

Richmond & Adelaide: Two-Way or Bikeway?

Curbside is having a "Back to School" Sale

ZoomerMag: Cycling in Toronto

Bicycle blitz slated for 54 Division (O'Connor and Danforth)

TCAT Looking for a Active Transportation Researcher

How Cyclists and Bikelanes benefit Businesses



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posted by Joe on Friday, August 28, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

Here's all your bikey news, in one great post. :)


Troubled Neighbourhood Salvation on Two Wheels
It is an unlikely setting for a summer camp -- but in a cordoned-off section of a Toronto Community Housing parking lot at 75 Tandridge, a wonderful pilot project has been set up where kids are soaring up and down plywood ramps decorated in vibrant graffiti, learning bicycle motocross tricks from two 20-year-old instructors hired by the TCHC.

VEER documentary tonight at CineCycle
Tonight at CineCycle, the Toronto Coalition for Active Transportation presents a screening of VEER, a critically approved documentary that examines Portland’s (at times) wacky bike culture and shows that for many, two wheels aren’t just a choice of transportation; they’re a way of life.

Bike-shop owner back in court on assault charges
Igor Kenk, the alleged thief whose massive stash of old bicycles shocked Toronto last summer, was back in court Wednesday to face his accusers in a related assault case.

Students invent way to mix cycling and beer pickup
"Anyone who has tried to carry a case of beer on their shoulder while biking knows," says Lindsey Kettel, a recent graduate from McMaster University's mechanical engineering and management program.

Hotels offer bikes as a green way to see the sights
"It's part of the desire now to step back from conspicuous consumption, and even things electronic," says Jeff Weinstein, editor of Hotels Magazine, an Oak Brook, Ill. -based trade magazine. "People want to be more authentic in their approach to travel and relaxation."

BMX park a labour of love for 60-year-old
If you're an adrenalin junkie with an eye for graffiti, it is beautiful at the BMX park at the Wallace Emerson Community Centre, a multicoloured 8,000-square-foot playground at Dufferin and Dupont Sts. packed with $40,000 to $50,000 worth of wood ramps for freestyle BMX, or bicycle motocross.

Cyclist Related Mural Launch in the heart of the Junction
Art Starts is proud to celebrate the launch of a new 400 foot bike-themed mural at the intersection of Dupont and Dundas with a community gathering on Tuesday August 25th from 6pm – 8pm. The event will feature musical performances and snacks. The artists will be on hand to answer questions and provide insights into the mural.

Roncesvalles gets a remake
It is destined for new sidewalks and streetcar stops that Perks hopes will turn Roncesvalles into a "model village," a paradise for pedestrians, cyclists and shop owners alike.



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posted by Joe on Friday, August 21, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

Happy Friday everyone... the Weekly News Wrap-Up returns! :)


Tire Trouble: How is it that cyclists stalk our sidewalks?

It was a horrible accident, but an outlier. According to the statistics collected by the city's traffic safety unit, the number of pedestrian fatalities that occurred between 2003 and 2008 is 172, with a further 12,251 incidents resulting in some kind of injury.


Toronto cyclist shot multiple times, dies.

A 22-year-old man is dead following a shooting in the north end of the city Monday.

The man was riding a bicycle in a residential neighbourhood just before 11 p. m. when a dark-coloured vehicle approached him, according to Toronto police.

Then, someone in the car fired numerous shots at the cyclist.


Bicycle Film Festival - Toronto

The Bicycle Film Festival is coming to Toronto once again!


Dandyhorse #3 Launch Party!

Dandyhorse No. 3 is ready to pop!
Join us at the launch party on August 31.

Celebrate summertime with our full-colour 48-page homage to the most beautiful machine in the world: the bicycle!


BikeTrain now between Toronto and Montreal
We are excited to announce a new pilot project that introduces twice daily Bike Train service between Montreal and Toronto offering bike racks onboard. The pilot will run from August 24 to October 8 allowing cyclists to take the train with their bikes - no box or disassembly required!

Toronto Star: Do cyclists need to stop at a stop sign?
The rolling stop – or, in some cycling circles, the Idaho Stop – is as popular as it is illegal, and there are those who will tell you it's also perfectly safe. Bambrick, among other cycling supporters and bloggers, is advocating its legalization, citing common sense and a compelling precedent.

Toronto Sun: Inquest needed into bike death
Whatever the precise circumstances of Jiang's death, too many cyclists think they can pick and choose between riding and speeding on roads and sidewalks at will.

Or that they can obey the rules of the road until they come to a red light or stop sign, then ignore the law by riding right through them.


Lower Simcoe Street Opens Up to Walkers, Cyclists and Drivers
The $44-million tunnel has created a new link between the core and the waterfront for pedestrians, cyclists and drivers.

It offers two lanes of vehicle traffic in each direction, plus bike lanes going both north and south...


Safe Cycling: Cyclists Cause Less Than 10% of Accidents

While there is a public perception that cyclists are usually the cause of accidents between cars and bikes, an analysis of Toronto police collision reports shows otherwise: The most common type of crash in this study involved a motorist entering an intersection and either failing to stop properly or proceeding before it was safe to do so. The second most common crash type involved a motorist overtaking unsafely. The third involved a motorist opening a door onto an oncoming cyclist. The study concluded that cyclists are the cause of less than 10 per cent of bike-car accidents in this study.

Brampton Cyclist, 20, injured in vehicle crash
Peel police say the victim was riding westbound along Mt. McKinley Lane, near Bovaird and Airport drives, when he entered the roadway and collided with a 2008 beige Chevrolet Uplander, which was also heading in the same direction.




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posted by Joe on Friday, July 31, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

Happy Friday everyone... the Weekly News Wrap-Up will be on hiatus for a couple of weeks as I'm visiting family in an internet-poor part of the east coast. Feel free to watch the news section of the Forum for newsy things until mid-August. :)


Bike store opens in First Canadian Place
It’s not every day that you find a bike store in one of North America’s largest bank buildings. In the concourse level of First Canadian Place — Canada’s tallest skyscraper — sits Savedbybikes.com, a 200-square-foot retail bike store.
(read more)

Plenty of excuses for not wearing bike helmets: Stouffville survey

For seven weeks in May and June, volunteers patrolled bike paths and city streets in search of helmet-wearing cyclists who were rewarded for donning the protective gear with gift certificates and draw tickets.
(read more)

Review of Jet Fuel Coffee Shop
Coffee is pretty rock n' roll, you know. Not folky or indie or garagey, but like, the good old-fashioned kind. The kind that drives a Harley. Like any good rock star, the presence felt upon our first meeting is larger than life. Though I had previously never heard of this place, it sinks in pretty soon that I probably should have. Or I should feel like I should have.
(read more)

Biting the Bike Snob: on Toronto Cyclists
Yesterday, the New York Times ran a piece about the Bike Snob, who has gained notoriety and made celebrity friends thanks to his funny rants about NYC cyclists. I thought I’d take this opportunity to first link you to his very clever blog, and then tell you my own personal pet peeves about the Toronto cyclists that I curse every day.
(read more)

National Post: Toronto eyes self-serve bike-rental operation

"Toronto is looking to spend $11-million to buy 3,000 bicycles, stands and software from the Public Bike System, aka “BIXI,” run by the City of Montreal’s parking authority, says a May 26 report from Toronto’s public works and infrastructure committee. The report recommends the city enter negotiations with Montreal and return with a draft agreement in the fall."
(read more)


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posted by Joe on Wednesday, July 29, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

Originally posted in the Forum:

Nice article in Streetsblog:SF about how cyclists deal with streetcar tracks... Toronto is mentioned as we have some railway tracks with firm rubber flanges (that contract under the weight of a train, but not under a bicycle) and Yvonne Bambrick of the Bike Union is quoted too:

In Toronto, where bicyclists also have to contend with a maze of tracks, several at-grade railroad crossings are equipped with a rubber flange filler that is jammed down into the cracks of trolley tracks. The rubber is firm enough that it doesn't compress when a bike passes over it, but when a streetcar comes it squishes down and doesn't cause the train to derail.
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posted by Joe on Wednesday, July 29, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

Originally posted in the Forum:

Nice article in the Guelph Mercury about the upcoming Ontario Bike Summit:

The founder of the Share the Road Cycling Coalition is a tireless advocate in promoting the rights of cyclists on the streets and roads of Ontario. Her efforts were kicked into high gear following the tragic death of her husband, an OPP officer. He was killed by a motorist while on an off-duty training ride on his bicycle in 2006. Since then, McMahon has worked with others to successfully engage various levels of government and non-governmental organizations in Canada and the United States to work toward that seemingly elusive goal of sharing the road.
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posted by Joe on Wednesday, July 29, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

Originally posted on the Forum:

From the NY Times:

Work out and sightsee simultaneously, with Park Hyatt’s new Bicycle Valet program. Guests who stay at participating Park Hyatt properties in Moscow, Paris, Beijing, Buenos Aires, Dubai and Toronto, will be able to use a hybrid bicycle for up to four hours each day of their stay.
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posted by Joe on Wednesday, July 29, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

Originally posted on the Forum:

Very nice post on The Urban Country about Montreal's new Bixi system, from the point of view of a tourist from Toronto:

The $15 million BIXI program – the largest of its kind in North America - consists of 300 bicycle stations scattered around downtown Montreal; supplying 3000 bicycles that are available to anyone with a working credit card. A BIXI user can purchase a membership for $5/day, $28/month, or $78/year. The membership entitles the rider to unlimited use of the BIXI system, providing the first 30-minutes of each trip for free. Additional charges only apply if the bicycle is used for more than 30-minutes at a time. Like Paris’ Vélib’ system - which offers 20,000 bicycles at 1,450 stations - it encourages users to take short trips to increase the user capacity.

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posted by Joe on Wednesday, July 29, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

Originally posted in the Forum:

The National Post had an article yesterday on Toronto pursuing a bike rental system:

"Toronto is looking to spend $11-million to buy 3,000 bicycles, stands and software from the Public Bike System, aka “BIXI,” run by the City of Montreal’s parking authority, says a May 26 report from Toronto’s public works and infrastructure committee. The report recommends the city enter negotiations with Montreal and return with a draft agreement in the fall."

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posted by Joe on Wednesday, July 29, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

Originally posted in the Forum:

In case you haven't seen it yet, the Toronto Cyclists Union has a short survey asking for your opinion on things like bike licensing and mandatory bicycle helmet by-laws in the City of Toronto.

Ward 35 Councillor Adrian Heaps, chair of the city’s cycling committee, and Daniel Egan, the city’s manager of pedestrian and cycling infrastructure, pegged the cost of a licensing scheme at $60 per rider at a recent Toronto Cycling Advisory Committee meeting. That’s the amount they say the city and/or province would have to charge to break even.

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posted by Joe on Wednesday, July 29, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

Originally posted in the Forum:

A year after Igor Kenk’s notorious West Queen West bicycle repair shop was raided, there is no sign of a trial for the alleged bike thief, suggesting difficulties faced by the Crown in a case with substantial amounts of evidence to process.

It’s been a year since The Bicycle Clinic was targeted in a police sting that uncovered 2,865 bikes in garages and warehouses throughout the city. The eccentric 49-year-old repair man, a former police officer from Slovenia, was hit with 58 charges relating to bike theft and 22 charges relating to drugs. About $70,000 worth of marijuana and cocaine was allegedly found in the rented Yorkville house Mr. Kenk shared with classical pianist Jeanie Chung, who also faces drug charges.

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posted by Joe on Wednesday, July 29, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

Originally posted in the Forum:

Cyclists love the new bike lanes on Annette St., except for a spot where it's filled with parked vehicles.

Our Saturday column targeted a Toronto police trailer loaded with crowd-control barricades blocking the southbound bike lane on St. George St., in front of the Chinese consulate between Bloor St. and Davenport Rd.

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posted by Joe on Friday, July 24, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

Fridays are for Weekly News Wrap-Ups!


From BlogTO: The Best (or Worst!) Hills for Cyclists in Toronto
Awesome post from BlogTO: The Best (or Worst!) Hills for Cyclists in Toronto Toronto may be a relatively flat city, but that doesn't mean that there isn't quite the collection of tough hills for cyclists to climb. As an avid rider I often masochistically ascend these roads to test my… (read more)

Bamboo bicycles are hitting the road
From the "Science and Tech" section of CTV.ca: Bamboo bicycles are hitting the road A group of friends from Colorado are trying to convince the world that a bicycle made from bamboo can perform as well or better than a traditional steel frame bike -- and can help save the… (read more)

Igor Kenk's story to become graphic novel
via the CBC: Igor Kenk's story to become graphic novel and documentary The man police say is behind a major bicycle theft ring in Toronto will be the subject of a documentary and graphic novel written and produced by CBC contributor Richard Poplak. Kenk, owner of the shop Bicycle Clinic,… (read more)

Is the Toronto Civil Strike affecting your cycling?
The Toronto Civil Workers Strike is entering month #2... and I'm wondering how it's affecting Toronto cyclists. Some examples I've come across online: - Monica wiped out on garbage cycling on Bay Street (she was okay, thank goodness) - Darren at TorontoCranks makes a good point about broken glass.… (read more)

Cyclists alert residents to townhouse fire
From the Toronto Star: A townhouse in Liberty Village was engulfed by a three-alarm blaze early today. Residents were woken up just before 6 a.m. when passersby on bicycles knocked on their doors after spotting flames coming up from the roof of a townhouse on Sudbury St., just north of... (read more)

Bike Union Survey: Licensing, Helmets, Insurance & updates to Driver's Handbook
In case you haven't seen it yet, the Toronto Cyclists Union has a short survey asking for your opinion on things like bike licensing and mandatory bicycle helmet by-laws in the City of Toronto. (read more)

National Post: One year after Kenk's Arrest, no sign of Trial for Bike Thief
A year after Igor Kenk’s notorious West Queen West bicycle repair shop was raided, there is no sign of a trial for the alleged bike thief, suggesting difficulties faced by the Crown in a case with substantial amounts of evidence to process. (read more)

The Star: Annette St. bike lane not a parking spot
Cyclists love the new bike lanes on Annette St., except for a spot where it's filled with parked vehicles. (read more)

Cyclist Hit at Front & Spadina
A woman in her 30s was rushed to hospital with serious injuries after she was hit by a car downtown, Monday. The victim was riding her bike at Front St. and Spadina Ave. when she was struck just after 7 p.m. (read more)


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posted by Joe on Tuesday, July 21, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

Awesome post from BlogTO:

The Best (or Worst!) Hills for Cyclists in Toronto

Pottery Road Hill Toronto

Toronto may be a relatively flat city, but that doesn't mean that there isn't quite the collection of tough hills for cyclists to climb. As an avid rider I often masochistically ascend these roads to test my fitness and prove myself a man (full spandex and all!). But, truth be told, going down them is almost always more fun. And, as a commuter on a single speed, I avoid them like the plague.

So in a gesture to the arrival of the Tour de France to the Alps, I've compiled a list of some of the ones I alternately love and fear. I'd be happy to add more to the map at the bottom if readers can think of some that I've missed!

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posted by Joe on Tuesday, July 21, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

From the "Science and Tech" section of CTV.ca:

Bamboo bicycles are hitting the road

A group of friends from Colorado are trying to convince the world that a bicycle made from bamboo can perform as well or better than a traditional steel frame bike -- and can help save the planet too.

Unlike the vast majority of traditional bikes on the road that use steel or aluminum tubing in their frame construction, Panda Bikes use the natural strength of bamboo.

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posted by Joe on Tuesday, July 21, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

via the CBC:

Igor Kenk's story to become graphic novel and documentary

The man police say is behind a major bicycle theft ring in Toronto will be the subject of a documentary and graphic novel written and produced by CBC contributor Richard Poplak.

Kenk, owner of the shop Bicycle Clinic, was arrested and charged in July 2008 with theft, attempted theft, possession of stolen property and possession of burglar tools. Later, police displayed nearly 3,000 bikes that were found across the city, hidden in garages, warehouses and homes.

Poplak, author of The Sheik's Batmobile, told CBC News that he was struck by Kenk's character.

"Once you have met Igor once, he's stuck, he's stuck in your head," Poplak said in an interview Friday.

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posted by Joe on Tuesday, July 21, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

The Toronto Civil Workers Strike is entering month #2... and I'm wondering how it's affecting Toronto cyclists.

Some examples I've come across online:

- Monica wiped out on garbage cycling on Bay Street (she was okay, thank goodness)

- Darren at TorontoCranks makes a good point about broken glass. There's a ton of it in bikelanes now... I wonder if bikeshops are seeing a spike in flat repairs?

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posted by Joe on Monday, July 20, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

From the Toronto Star:

A townhouse in Liberty Village was engulfed by a three-alarm blaze early today.

Residents were woken up just before 6 a.m. when passersby on bicycles knocked on their doors after spotting flames coming up from the roof of a townhouse on Sudbury St., just north of King St. W., said resident Jessica Ibell. Smoke alarms did not detect the fire since it was outside on the roof, but because of the good Samaritans, everyone was able to exit their apartments before getting injured.

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posted by Joe on Friday, July 17, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

A couple items of news from the past week:


Councillor Walker wants Helmets to be Mandatory

In addition to wanting bikes and/or cyclists to be licensed, Councillor Walker also wants to make wearing helmets mandatory.

His motion has been seconded by Councillor Suzan Hall.

Link to the Motion and Discussion in the BikingToronto Forum


Cyclist Hit at Front & Spadina

A woman in her 30s was rushed to hospital with serious injuries after she was hit by a car downtown, Monday.

The victim was riding her bike at Front St. and Spadina Ave. when she was struck just after 7 p.m.

Read More and Discuss in the BikingToronto Forum


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posted by Joe on Tuesday, July 14, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

680 News and the Toronto Star are reporting that a female cyclist in her 30's was hit by a car at Front and Spadina last night.

The female, 34, was heading north on Spadina Ave. when she was struck by a black Toyota heading west on Front St. W. at about 6:30 p.m.

She was not wearing a helmet, Toronto police Const. Hugh Smith said.

The driver remained at the scene and was questioned by Toronto police.

Witness accounts suggest the car was going through a green light at the time, Smith said.

The cyclist's condition has been downgraded to serious from critical.

I can overlook the not wearing a helmet... but not what sounds like crossing against the light.

A helmet can save your life, but not if you're riding through red lights.

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posted by Joe on Friday, July 10, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

Happy Friday! Time for all the news from the past week! :)

Councillor Michael Walker to propose a bicycle licensing scheme in Toronto

City Councillor Mickael Walker was on CBC's Metro Morning yesterday touting the idea of mandatory helmet laws and a bicycle license scheme... Read more...

Bikes+Transit.com

Calling all pioneers on two wheels - 'twitterflickrfest' runs to July 13 * Try, test, 'twitter' and photograph these 2009 sample transit and cycling routes... Read more...

Riding the Rails

Great post by Val Dodge in Torontoist: On-road bike lanes have been in the news quite a bit recently: the battle over Jarvis Street, the ongoing crawl toward lanes along Bloor Street and Danforth Aven... Read more...

Two Cyclists Hospitalized After Bricks Fall off Condo

Cinder bricks fall 32 stories off of condo under construction near Wellesley and Sherbourne. The Globe has the story: Two cyclists were taken to hospital Tuesday evening when the wall of a building in... Read more...

Queens Park key to getting a Fast Lane to Safer Cycling

The Globe has "web-exclusive" commentary from Albert Koel, environmental lawyer and a founding member of Bells on Bloor. If cyclists in Ontario have learned anything over the past decade, it's that ge... Read more...

Karen Stintz attacks Miller for 'bags, bottles, bicycles'

The National Post covers Karen Stintz, a right-wing city councillor who thinks that making roads just for cars is "leading in transportation management". In a campaign-style speech yesterday, Councill... Read more...

Toronto Star: Field guide to Toronto cyclists

Last week the Star did up a series of 11 cyclists... involving a little bit of stereotyping of different types of cyclists in our city. Where do you fit in these broad and not terribly repr... Read more...

Cops on Two Wheels more responsive, claims bike patroller

Cool article in The Bulletin about Toronto Bike Cops: Cops on two wheels more responsive, claims bike patroller Toronto Police serve and protect. And essential to their role of making Downtown a safe ... Read more...

Replacing Road Rage with Respect

From the Toronto Sun: Heating up the summer doesn't have to mean heating up the battle between cars and bicycles on our roads, a cycling advocate maintains. "Respect for those around us goes a long w... Read more...


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posted by Joe on Thursday, July 09, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

The first section of the Railpath is finally open... Vic Gedris has a few cool photos of it:




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posted by Joe on Thursday, July 09, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

Great post by Val Dodge in Torontoist:
On-road bike lanes have been in the news quite a bit recently: the battle over Jarvis Street, the ongoing crawl toward lanes along Bloor Street and Danforth Avenue, and a patchwork of lanes approved earlier this month all have cyclists applauding. But Toronto's plans for the Bikeway Network consist of more than just bike lanes on roads: off-road routes form about a quarter of the proposed network [PDF]. A significant portion of those off-road paths won't pass through traditional parks, but will follow rail and hydro corridors.
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posted by Joe on Thursday, July 09, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

The Globe has "web-exclusive" commentary from Albert Koel, environmental lawyer and a founding member of Bells on Bloor.
If cyclists in Ontario have learned anything over the past decade, it's that getting city hall to make cycling safe is a slow process. The City of Toronto, for example, despite a green-leaning council, has installed, on average, fewer than a dozen kilometres of bike lanes each year. The world's glaciers are melting at a faster pace.

Even a focused effort over the past few years to paint more bike lanes has achieved limited success. The problem is that the fight for bike lanes still happens virtually on a block-by-block basis, while the issues being addressed are communal, even global. The answer is for the province to step in to adjust the rules.

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.

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posted by Joe on Wednesday, July 08, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

The National Post covers Karen Stintz, a right-wing city councillor who thinks that making roads just for cars is "leading in transportation management".

In a campaign-style speech yesterday, Councillor Karen Stintz (Eglinton-Lawrence), a potential candidate for the mayoralty, accused Mayor David Miller of a lack of leadership and financial mismanagement while listing a litany of complaints about his term in office.

"The last three years of city council has been focused on bags, bottles and bicycles instead of the real needs of the city," she told a business crowd at the Marriott hotel, across the street from City Hall.

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posted by Joe on Wednesday, July 08, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

Last week the Star did up a series of 11 cyclists... involving a little bit of stereotyping of different types of cyclists in our city.

See more and discuss on the Forum.

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posted by Joe on Wednesday, July 08, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

The Bulletin: Cops on two wheels more responsive, claims bike patroller

Toronto Police serve and protect. And essential to their role of making Downtown a safe place to live is the bike patrol. Constable Charles Stern, a bike patrol officer at 51 Division, wheels out all the benefits of policing the city on bikes.

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posted by Joe on Tuesday, July 07, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark


Toronto Sun: Replacing road rage with respect

Heating up the summer doesn't have to mean heating up the battle between cars and bicycles on our roads, a cycling advocate maintains. "Respect for those around us goes a long way," said Yvonne Bambrick, the executive director of the Toronto Cyclists Union, a membership-based organization pushing for greater acceptance of the bike as a viable means of transportation in the city.

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posted by Joe on Monday, July 06, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

Toronto Star: Cyclists, drivers hit in police crackdown

Cyclists were ticketed 1,373 times for disobeying traffic signals and failing to yield to pedestrians. Equipment — or the lack thereof — got bike riders in trouble, too, as 747 tickets were issued to those who rode without the mandatory bell, light and reflectors.

Toronto Star: Field guide to Toronto cyclists

What kind of a cyclist are you? Click through our gallery of Toronto cycling types.

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posted by Joe on Friday, July 03, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

Via the Bike Union - the results are in from the Safe Cycling Blitz:
Traffic Services has just released the details of this year's week-long 'Safe Cycling - Share the Responsibility' campaign. The bike union is encouraged by how many drivers (3,502 tickets) were charged for doing things that endanger cyclists. Not pleased, of course, by just how many drivers regularly behave this way, just that it's encouraging to see this 'Safe Cycling - Share the Responsibility' campaign correctly targetted to motorists as well.

The Toronto Cyclists Union does not however agree that tickets should be issued for 'bicycle equipment offences' (747 tickets). Many cyclists don't yet know that bells & lights are in fact mandatory. Warnings (852 of which were issued to motorists & cyclists) are far more effective in this case since forcing a cyclist to pay a ticket is likely going to tie up money that could otherwise have been used for the purchase of lights and/or a bell. Why not take the opportunity to talk with cyclists about the importance of being visible at night, and having a bell to alert people? Education in these cases would likely result in greater compliance, and in turn increased safety (as per the goal of the campaign...) - whereas tickets for this kind of thing usually just build animosity towards the police. As do the bogus tickets issued by some undertrained officers...

How do you think this campaign could be improved for next year? Please email your suggestions to info@bikeunion.to, with Subject: Safe Cycling Campaign.

Click through to review the full press release, with all the numbers.

"Safe Cycling − Share the Responsibility" campaign results
Tuesday, June 30, 2009

On Sunday, June 28, 2009, the Toronto Police Service concluded their one−week ‘Safe Cycling – Share the Responsibility’ campaign.

Officers issued 5,907 tickets to motorists and cyclists who were found committing offences. Of the tickets issued:

• 3,502 tickets were issued to motorists for offences such as opening vehicle doors improperly and failing to yield to cyclists,
• 1,373 tickets were issued to cyclists for moving violations including disobeying traffic signals and failing to yield to pedestrians,
• 747 tickets were issued to cyclists for bicycle equipment offences,
• 84 people under the age of 18 were charged with not wearing helmets,
• 198 parking tickets were issued for parking in designated bike lanes,
• 852 motorists and cyclists were cautioned with respect to a variety of related offences, and
• 10 bike rodeos/lectures involving 411 participants were held across the city.

The Toronto Police Service would like to remind motorists of the dangers of opening car doors in the path of cyclists without looking in mirrors and over your shoulder first. All drivers need to know that checking blind spots prior to making turns can be a matter of life and death. Cyclists should never attempt to pass vehicles on the right near driveways or intersections.

All road users have a responsibility to share the road equally by driving safely, riding responsibly, playing smart and obeying all the rules of the road.



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posted by Joe on Friday, July 03, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

Happy Friday! Here's the news from the past week:

Globe and Mail: A city made for cyclists (Hint: it's not Toronto)
There's a big, disturbing gap between what's normal for cyclists in Toronto and what's normal for cyclists in Copenhagen. Normal in Toronto means biking as an edgy urban sport. Normal means risking life and limb to dodge cars, pedestrians and, during the winter, ice and snow on roads and dicey bike paths. Normal in Copenhagen means bike paths receive the same kind of snow removal as the city's main arteries. In Copenhagen, half the city's population uses some of its 350 kilometres of devoted lanes, which is normal. (more at the Globe and Mail)

Spacing Toronto: The role of local government in promoting cycling

With Bike Month all wrapped up for another year, it seems only appropriate to tackle to question of how our local government can take the reigns from cycling advocates and bike month organizers by promoting cycling through policy. (more at Spacing Toronto)

Toronto Star: Where the streets have no cars
Great article about Vancouver joining the ranks of New York, San Francisco, Portland, Bogota, etc in embracing the car-free streets movement. They'll be closing off 4 neighbourhoods to cars on Sundays in July and August, creating 20 car-free routes just for pedestrians and cyclists.

Toronto has 7 car-free Sundays in Kensington Market this year... and really, a lot more downtown areas should embrace the concept too. The Church and Wellesley area would be fantastic with no cars on Sundays in the Summer. My personal favourite though, would have to be the Yonge-Dundas Square area... Yonge from Gerrard to Queen and Dundas from Victoria to Bay (excepting streetcar passage, of course). Some may put up a fuss, but businesses would do well, and tourists would love it!

Where would you like to see car-free Sundays? Discuss it in the Forum.



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posted by Joe on Tuesday, June 30, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark


Globe and Mail: A city made for cyclists (Hint: it's not Toronto)

There's a big, disturbing gap between what's normal for cyclists in Toronto and what's normal for cyclists in Copenhagen. Normal in Toronto means biking as an edgy urban sport. Normal means risking life and limb to dodge cars, pedestrians and, during the winter, ice and snow on roads and dicey bike paths. Normal in Copenhagen means bike paths receive the same kind of snow removal as the city's main arteries. In Copenhagen, half the city's population uses some of its 350 kilometres of devoted lanes, which is normal.

Spacing Toronto: The role of local government in promoting cycling

With Bike Month all wrapped up for another year, it seems only appropriate to tackle to question of how our local government can take the reigns from cycling advocates and bike month organizers by promoting cycling through policy.

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posted by Joe on Tuesday, June 30, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

BikingToronto is a TCAT supporter. Here's the latest from TCAT:



1. Bloggers Keep Bike Summit 2009 Discussion Alive

TCAT's Bike Summit wound up over a month ago but we are pleased to note that while the event itself is over, bloggers are keeping the ideas alive. Read Torontoist's Cycling to the Summit, Spacing's multi-part "Reaching the Summit" series: Cycling Advocacy and Community Engagement, Bicycle Parking, New Approaches to Street Design and The Role of Local Government in Promoting Cycling and Comic Book Junkie's Toronto "bike wars" debate rages.

All media, photos, and interviews from the Bike Summit can be viewed here and powerpoint presentations here. Stay tuned for TCAT's summary report to be published in the coming months.


2. Bike Lanes - Good for Us, Our City, and the Bottom Line

An article written by Nancy Smith Lea, TCAT's Program Director, was published in the current issue of Harvey Kalles Collections Magazine, Volume 5, Issue 3 (pages 23-24). The title of the article is Bike Lanes - Good for Us, Our City, and the Bottom Line. The article is available on-line or you can download a copy here.


3. New Book on how Cyclists are Changing American Cities

A new book titled "Pedaling Revolution: How Cyclists are Changing American Cities" sounds like it's worth a read. Author Jeff Mapes argues that cycling promotion can raise society’s level of general fitness, since people exercise more when it seems less like exercise and more like something mostly enjoyable that also performs a function, like getting to work. “Bike and walking advocates,” he writes, “have been rebranding their cause as ‘active transportation,’ which manages to come off as nonthreatening to your average couch-bound American while carrying a nice touch of gravitas as well.”

The New York Times published a review of the book written by David Byrne (arguably New York City's most famous cyclist) available here.


4. Research Finds Urbanites Healthier than Suburbanites Worldwide

According to a June 16th SDSU NewsCenter article, "No matter which country you are in, new research finds those who live in an urban neighborhood are twice as likely to be physically active the those in the suburbs. According to a San Diego State University study published in this month's American Journal of Preventative Medicine, the biggest single factor influencing physical activity around the world is accessibility to sidewalks.

"Researchers looked at data from 11,541 survey participants in 11 countries, which included the United States, Lithuania, Brazil, Sweden and Japan. Those individuals who reported living in a city neighborhood with easy access to sidewalks were 15-50 percent more likely to get moderate-to-vigorous activity at least five days a week for at least 30 minutes each day. SDSU professor and lead author Jim Sallis said this is likely because sidewalks can be used for recreation like jogging and in-line skating as well as for transportation, in lieu of using a car or other means of transportation..."

From CenterLines, the e-newsletter of the National Center for Bicycling & Walking.

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posted by Joe on Friday, June 26, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

Toronto Star: Where the streets have no cars

Great article about Vancouver joining the ranks of New York, San Francisco, Portland, Bogota, etc in embracing the car-free streets movement.  They'll be closing off 4 neighbourhoods to cars on Sundays in July and August, creating 20 car-free routes just for pedestrians and cyclists.

Toronto has 7 car-free Sundays in Kensington Market this year... and really, a lot more downtown areas should embrace the concept too.  The Church and Wellesley area would be fantastic with no cars on Sundays in the Summer.   My personal favourite though, would have to be the Yonge-Dundas Square area... Yonge from Gerrard to Queen and Dundas from Victoria to Bay (excepting streetcar passage, of course).  Some may put up a fuss, but businesses would do well, and tourists would love it!

Where would you like to see car-free Sundays?  Discuss it in the Forum.

The Toronto area hasn't found a political champion for the car-free Sunday concept, says Gil Penalosa, of Walk and Bike for Life in Mississauga. Yet in a time of economic restraint, there is no cheaper or more effective way to encourage fitness than allowing pedestrians and cyclists unimpeded access to the street, he said. (more at the Toronto Star)

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posted by Joe on Friday, June 26, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

Happy Friday! Time for all the news from the past week! :)

  • Bike Union Releases First Annual Report
    The Toronto Cyclists Union has released their first Annual Report! The PDF is available here. Highlights from the past year: - Hired an Executive Director to work full time for cycling issues - Partnered with the City to offer a standing-room only, exceptionally well received 1st annual Toronto Bike… (read the blog post / discuss in forum)
  • Headlines: Bamboo Bike Craze
    Toronto Star: Riding a bike made of grass It's light, it sucks carbon out of the air and you could compost it. What more would you want from your bike? Move over Prius, the bamboo bike is the next hot thing for environmentalists... (read the blog post)
  • BikeTax Rally at Queens Park Tomorrow
    From Rowena Santos, who you may remember ran for City Council in 2006 in Ward 14 Parkdale-High Park Fellow Cyclists, As many of you know, the proposed 8% Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) will directly impact you and future cyclists. By the end of 2010, the HST will apply to all… (read the blog post)
  • Report from the Ward 29 Bikes Public Meeting
    Cycling advocate and BikingToronto reader Todd Tyrtle attended the Ward 29 Bikes Public Meeting last Wednesday, and brings us this report of things Dan Egan (Manager of Cycling Infrastructure for the city) talked about at the meeting: (originally posted in the Ward 29 section of the BikingToronto Forum) You'll… (read the blog post / discuss in forum)
  • June 23: TCAT News Bulletin
    BikingToronto is a TCAT supporter. Here's the latest from TCAT: 1. CBC Radio One Morning Shows Across the Country Feature Bike Helmet Legislation Alternatives: Jun 22 On June 22nd between 6 and 9 a.m. TCAT's Program Director, Nancy Smith Lea teamed up with Chris A. Cavacuiti, MD, to be interviewed… (read the blog post)
  • Headlines: Spacing Toronto talks Bike Parking
    Spacing Toronto: Reaching the Summit - Bicycle parking How modal shifts occur is a big question here on the Spacing blog. If you build it, will they come? Although bike lanes have been the central focus of this debate, not much time has been given to the importance of… (read the blog post )
  • Toronto Police "Safe Cycling" Campaign Starts Today
    The Toronto Police Service is starting their annual "Safe Cycling" campaign today http://www.torontopolice.on.ca/newsreleases/pdfs/16648.pdf (PDF file) The campaign begins Monday, June 22, 2009, and concludes on Sunday, June 28, 2009. This one−week Traffic Services initiative is designed to promote awareness and education by reducing the potential for cycling−related injuries. Traffic Services… (read the blog post / discuss in forum)


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posted by Joe on Thursday, June 25, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

The Toronto Cyclists Union has released their first Annual Report!

The PDF is available here.


Highlights from the past year:
- Hired an Executive Director to work full time for cycling issues

- Partnered with the City to offer a standing-room only, exceptionally well received 1st annual Toronto Bike Awards

- Partnered with the Transportation department on the West End Bikeways strategy that engaged local citizens to propose cycling improvements to a portion of the city that was overlooked in the bike plan — set for implementation in 2009–10

- Worked with local groups and City Councillors to ensure implementation of the bike plan and specific wins on Annette Street and the first steps on Jarvis Street

- Developed a Valet Bike Parking service for events

- Established ourselves as the positive and authoritative voice for cyclists in local media, with over 100 media hits to date

- Begun to catalyze ward based cycling advocacy teams to work with their City Councillors to raise the profile of cycling, and the local needs of cyclists

- Received over $40,000 in grant money from the Toronto Community Foundation and LiveGreen Toronto to develop printed materials to encourage cycling for Toronto newcomers in partnership with Culturelink

Great job Bike Union!

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posted by Joe on Thursday, June 25, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark



Toronto Star: Riding a bike made of grass

It's light, it sucks carbon out of the air and you could compost it. What more would you want from your bike? Move over Prius, the bamboo bike is the next hot thing for environmentalists.

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posted by Joe on Thursday, June 25, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

From Rowena Santos, who you may remember ran for City Council in 2006 in Ward 14 Parkdale-High Park

Fellow Cyclists,

As many of you know, the proposed 8% Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) will directly impact you and future cyclists. By the end of 2010, the HST will apply to all things bicycle: bikes, helmets, bells, lights, tune-ups, etc.

We are having a press conference in front of Queen's Park to show cyclist solidarity and make sure that the government understands that an 8% tax hike on all things bike is NOT how we roll. We'll have a great line-up of people speaking on the issue but most of all, the presence of cyclists and their bikes in front of Queen's Park.

Attached is a flyer (jpeg). Please spread this around to your networks and get folks on facebook to be part of the event. We'd like to see as many cyclists ride in to Queen's Park for the press conference to begin at 10am. Let's get this message across before it's too late.

If you have any questions feel free to contact me directly.

Ride or be Rode!

For More Info
santosr@ndp.on.ca
416-305-0698

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posted by Joe on Wednesday, June 24, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark





Cycling advocate and BikingToronto reader Todd Tyrtle attended the Ward 29 Bikes Public Meeting last Wednesday, and brings us this report of things Dan Egan (Manager of Cycling Infrastructure for the city) talked about at the meeting:
(originally posted in the Ward 29 section of the BikingToronto Forum)

You'll have to forgive me for taking terrible notes. Next time I go I'll bring the digital recorder and can provide an mp3 of the audio if you like. Fortunately it appears that 29bikes.ca is going to be publishing an account of what happened in better detail than I'm about to provide.

And frankly, I only took decent notes on Dan Egan's (Toronto Mgr of Pedestrian and Cycling Infrastructure) presentation. By the end of that one I was more engaged in the presentations than my notebook. Some interesting things came up in his presentation that I, for one, hadn't heard about.

- Richmond and Adelaide bike lanes have been on hold for a while waiting for disposition of what to do with the Gardiner. They've decided that they don't want to hold up any longer. Though he didn't give a target date for their installation, he did say that the project has been resurrected and that a lane separated by bollards is a likely choice for installation.

- He mentioned that other similar bollard-separated lanes may also be considered for other places like Bayview south of Moore. Along with this he mentioned that the city would need to investigate a dedicated means of snow removal from bike lanes if this were to go forward since trucks could no longer be used for this purpose.

- Hydro corridors are being heavily investigated. Gatineau and Finch corridors are major contenders and could add 40 km of dedicated paths. The challenge, of course, is that there are other stakeholders involved since the land is not city-owned.

- They are looking in to a remedy for conflict zones at the Bloor Viaduct both westbound and (YAY!) eastbound as well.

- They did mention that maintaining traffic flow and parking are a priority. (I'm conflicted on this one. On the one hand, I totally understand the motivation, on the other hand, if you say that a bike lane can't go in that affects traffic or parking we're not going to get far)

- They are investigating the possibility of a bike lane on the uphill side of Pottery Rd up to Broadview. At the same time there is talk about redesigning the Bayview/Pottery Rd intersection to be less like a highway interchange and more like a city intersection.

- Bayview extension may get bike lanes and the idea of adding curbs and sidewalks to make the area more like a city street than a highway is being investigated. At the same time they are looking at improving connections between Bayview and infrastructure (better connections, for example to belt line and Don trails)

- Millwood rail underpass is being investigated for improvement.

- Connection between Millwood and Bayview via Redway is being pursued.

- A greenway trail is being looked at to parallel the Allen expressway

And while I realise that none of this is definite, it is encouraging to see so much activity. I have much more of an impression that people within the city government are working towards the same goals as we are. Sure, not all will be approved, some might not be funded but the intentions are there. It is clear that the city wants to work with us and that feels pretty darned good.

Photos from Ward 29 Bikes

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posted by Joe on Wednesday, June 24, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

Spacing Toronto has a great post from Dave "Mez" Meslin (who has also posted it on his new blog - Mez Dispenser) on the Toronto Police Services' "Safe Cycling Campaign" (forum discussion here)... about if the campaign is helpful (making cyclists aware that they should be stopping when traffic lights are red, using lights when it's dark, and having a bell, etc.) or harmful (targeting cyclists for essentially harmful infractions like not completely stopping at stop signs):

Officer Smith was quite friendly and supportive. He was a Cycling Officer for ten years (52 Division) as well as a bike instructor. He’s an expert on the Highway Traffic Act, safety education and policy reform. He assured me that the police want to take a new approach to the Blitz and only go after the ‘bad apples’ – on bikes as well as in cars. He said that his goal is to get “all users to share the road responsibly” and to “raise awareness about bike use.” I asked him what he thought about biking in the city and without hesitation, he said “it’s the way to go.”

Hopefully, the seven day campaign will focus on dangerous drivers and cyclists who are truly riding recklessly. Bad cyclists give the rest of us a bad name, and I’d be happy if the police confiscated their bikes and threw them in jail for a day or two. But leave the rest of us alone. Targeting cyclists for minor infractions with expensive tickets will only increase resentment towards the police and make cyclists feel that they are, once again, being treated as second class citizens by a city that says it wants to be green but discriminates against the very people who are actually trying to live sustainably.

Join the Spacing discussion here, or check out the thread in the BikingToronto forum (also a good place to report where you've seen police ticketing cyclists).


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posted by Joe on Tuesday, June 23, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

BikingToronto is a TCAT supporter. Here's the latest from TCAT:

1. CBC Radio One Morning Shows Across the Country Feature Bike Helmet Legislation Alternatives: Jun 22

On June 22nd between 6 and 9 a.m. TCAT's Program Director, Nancy Smith Lea teamed up with Chris A. Cavacuiti, MD, to be interviewed by CBC Radio One local morning hosts across the country, all the way from Victoria, BC to Corner Brook, Newfoundland and points in between. Between Chris and Nancy there were 16 interviews in total. The topic of discussion was bicycle helmet legislation and other measures governments can take to promote safe cycling.


Dr. Cavacuiti has prepared an excellent cycling health and safety review that featured prominently in the interviews. It was also a good chance to highlight some of the key policies and innovations used in Dutch, Danish, and German cities to promote safe and convenient cycling as noted by John Pucher and Ralph Buehler's paper "Cycling for Everyone: Lessons from Europe" including:

  • Extensive networks of separated cycling facilities
  • Intersection modifications and priority traffic signals
  • Traffic calming
  • Traffic education and training
  • Bike parking
  • Co-ordination with public transport
  • Traffic laws

2. Strike at City of Toronto: Jun 22

The Toronto Civic Employees' Union Local 416 (CUPE) and the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 79 are on strike as of 12:01 a.m. on Monday, June 22, 2009.


All scheduled meetings of Council, community councils, standing committees, advisory committees and task forces are cancelled until the strike is over. This includes the Pedestrian Committee and the Cycling Committee meetings. For more information click here.



3. Toronto Police Cycling Safety Campaign: Jun 22-28

It's that time of year again. The Toronto Police launched their annual cycling safety campaign yesterday. The traffic strategy is a one-week initiative, designed to promote awareness and education by reducing the potential for cycling related injuries. During this week officers increase the number of tickets handed out to motorists who endanger the lives of cyclists as well as to cyclists for traffic infractions. More info here.



4. Keep Bikes Tax-Free Rally: Jun 26

The NDP Caucus is organizing a press conference and rally to occur on the lawn in front of Queen's Park on Friday Jun 26 at 10:00 a.m. The existing Provincial Sales Tax (PST) exemption for bikes, helmets, bells, lights, helmets, etc. could soon be a thing of the past. The exemption for all things bicycle is not expected to continue when the new Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) that combines the PST and GST is put into place by the end of 2010. The NDP Caucus would like as many cyclists as possible to join them to show support for continuation of this tax exemption.



5. Ministry of Transportation Requests Electric Bicycle Input: Jul 9

Following last week's consultation with community groups (including TCAT), industry representatives, and other interested parties, the Ministry of Transportation has released a summary of its proposal for how to regulate e-bikes. They are seeking suggestions and comments from the general public by July 9, 2009. The MTO will be working towards having regulations in place, if approved, by Oct 3, 2009, when the current electric bicycle pilot expires. View the proposal here.



6. "Test Ride" Bike Routes and Transit Modes: Jul 13

The bus racks on GTA buses are also opening up the countryside. Take transit to the edge of the city, and then cycle to parks and trails. A website devoted to integrating bikes and transit has put out an open call for cyclists to "test ride" the routes suggested on the site. Until July 13th, send in photos from your cell phone, or tweet and email pictures after you get home. More info here.

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