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Updated: 13 hours 5 min ago

NEWS: Toronto’s ex top planner warns ‘our streets are unsafe’

Fri, 03/02/2018 - 01:55

Toronto’s ex top planner warns ‘our streets are unsafe’ after pedestrian deaths

Jennifer Keesmaat is warning that this city faces a crisis when it comes to the number of pedestrians killed on its streets.

The first two months of 2018 have been rough for us vulnerable road users with eight pedestrians killed. No wonder why planners in Copenhagen have called Toronto’s Vision Zero plan completely unambitious.

More: Toronto’s ex top planner warns ‘our streets are unsafe’ after pedestrian deaths

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NEWS: Councillors go against city staff and vote against bike lanes on Yonge Street

Wed, 02/28/2018 - 23:36

The public works committee voted to go ahead with a more expensive redesign of Yonge Street in Willowdale, going against the recommendations of city staff, the local councillor and dozens of local residents. 

Coun. Stephen Holyday’s motion, placed on behalf of Coun. David Shiner, to defer to an alternate plan, which staff also considers viable, will now go to city council for a final vote in March. It’s expected to cost at least $9 million more than the Transform Yonge plan city transportation staff support. 

Coun. Jaye Robinson, the committee chair who also heads the city’s Vision Zero initiative to eliminate road deaths, missed the vote.

Councillors go against city staff, support alternate Yonge Street redesign

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NEWS: MEC pressured to drop bike products linked to gun companies

Wed, 02/28/2018 - 23:24

Canadian gun control advocates are calling upon Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC) this week to discontinue selling every product from every brand owned by the U.S. corporation Vista Outdoor Inc.

Vista, based in Utah, manufactures and markets products for about 50 different outdoor sports and recreation labels – more than half of which produce ammunition and firearms, like the AR-15 rifle used to kill 17 people earlier this month at a high school in Parkland, Florida (among other deadly U.S. shootings.)

MEC pressured to drop products linked to Florida high school shooting

 

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NEWS: The case for protected bike lanes on Yonge Street

Fri, 02/23/2018 - 14:53

Transform Yonge, a $51 million plan to reimagine Yonge Street north of Sheppard to Finch, could create a place for similar artistry – wider sidewalks, protected bike lanes, more trees and new public art. It would, in the words of city staff, bring about “safer travel conditions for all users” with “little change to travel time or average speed for drivers.”

The plan would make Yonge less congested, too. As we build more space for walkers and cyclists we make these modes of transportation more attractive and easier for drivers to leave the car at home

More: The case for protected bike lanes on Yonge Street

 

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NEWS: Torontonians launch campaign in favour of King St. pilot

Wed, 02/07/2018 - 23:49
Have you biked on King St. since the streetcar priority pilot started in the fall?  It’s such a great place to bike now.  Any street design that de-prioritizes cars is good for bikes, even without bike lanes. Resident associations, advocacy groups launch campaign in favour of King St. pilot project | Toronto Star Transit activists […]
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NEWS: Toronto pursuing Vision Zero in theory, but with little commitment

Sat, 02/03/2018 - 01:14
City to stick with Vision Zero, but some councillors question its commitment | Toronto Star A community donation program is outlined in the staff report. By the end of 2018, donors will be able to make contributions online to “any specific countermeasure or program” within Vision Zero. Each donation must not exceed $50,000. When the […]
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RECAP: Cycle Toronto Etobicoke Advocacy Summit

Sat, 02/03/2018 - 00:53
Great recap of the recent Cycle Toronto Etobicoke Advocacy Summit from Biking in a Big City. This past Tuesday, Cycle Toronto invited people from Etobicoke for a meeting to update us about what the City of Toronto has planned for the cycling network over the next three years. It was also a chance to meet others, and […]
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OH YEAH: TCAT releases the “Learning to be a Bicycle Friendly Driver” Report

Fri, 02/02/2018 - 00:36
The report looks at the feasibility of offering additional training to drivers in Toronto (both professional and the public), with the goal of helping them more safely share the road with people on bikes. The findings reveal an urgent need for this type of training and an unprecedented willingness on the part of businesses to […]
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NEWS: Toronto police officer charged with assault of cyclist

Wed, 01/31/2018 - 10:43
A Toronto police officer faces charges over an October 2017 incident that sent a man to hospital. The province’s Special Investigations Unit says the officer arrested a 44-year-old cyclist alleged committed a traffic offence near Toronto’s downtown harbourfront area.  Officials say the cyclist went to hospital and found to have a “serious injury.” Investigators say Const. […]
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NEWS: Why new bike lanes are good for everyone – yes, even drivers.

Tue, 01/30/2018 - 01:45
Why New Bike Lanes Are Good For Everyone — Yes, Even Drivers So, what do we know?: There’s been a reduction in cyclist injuries, even while cycling volumes have increased dramatically. Women especially are more likely to commute by bike if they have access to protected bike lanes. Everyone — cyclists, pedestrians and motorists — reports feeling safer on the road. One […]
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NEWS: An Evidence Based Look At Why Women Aren’t Cycling

Tue, 01/30/2018 - 01:40
Beyond Fear And Feelings: An Evidence Based Look At Why Women Aren’t Cycling On Monday, the BBC reported that women are half as likely to cycle as men. A familiar round of concerned speculation started, fuelled by the reporter asking cyclists about their experiences, and hearing tales of street harassment and Womanning Up. Sustrans’ survey (which the BBC report […]
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NEWS: Chinese bike sharing coming to Toronto?

Mon, 01/29/2018 - 00:02

BlogTO: Chinese bike sharing company planning Toronto launch

Billing itself as “the world’s first and largest station-free bike sharing platform,” Ofo has already raised more than $1.3 billion in venture capital and is available now in more than 180 major cities across the world.

Like Dropbike, the Chinese company offers dockless bicycle rentals – you just pick up a registered, bright yellow bike where you find it and go, for as little as $1 an hour.

Source: Biking Toronto Facebook Group

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NEWS: Mayor Tory opposes bike lanes in north Yonge remake

Wed, 01/17/2018 - 15:22

Mayor Tory thinks that the above photo is a Yonge Street that “works well” and opposes adding bike lanes and wider sidewalks.  What a horrible street, both for drivers AND everyone else.

“Downtown North York should be more than a sea of highrises with six lanes of highway running down the middle,” said Filion, who will make his case to the public works committee Friday. “This area has been neglected for far too long. The city needs to invest in creating a beautiful (main street) that connects the buildings and the people who live in them.”

The $51.1-million plan would see Yonge from Sheppard Ave. to just north of Finch Ave. get: separated bike lanes on both sides; wider boulevards; better pedestrian crossings; and a landscaped centre median. To make room for cyclists and more sidewalk, one vehicle lane in each direction would be removed between Sheppard and the Yonge intersection with Hendon Ave. on one side and Bishop Ave. on the other.

More: Fight brewing over bike lane location in north Yonge remake | Toronto Star

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2017 Review: 10 Most Popular Biking Toronto Posts This Year

Sat, 12/30/2017 - 16:59

What  a year 2017 was.  A lot of stuff happened, but here are the 10 posts from the past year that received the most views:

1. CARNAGE: Boy, 5, dies after falling off bike path onto Lake Shore Boulevard

A completely awful death on Lakeshore Boulevard this year, on a part of the Martin-Goodman Trail that ran right beside car traffic frequently moving at 80 or 100 km per hour (or more) with absolutely no physical barriers – nothing to prevent bikes from accidentally going onto the highway, or to prevent cars going onto the bike path.  Of course, since this death, the city has put up some barriers in this location, but there are countless spots like this all over the city and the city just ignores them (or doesn’t even realize they exist) because to them, it’s cars first, and everything else second.

2. NEWS: Photographer behind “BikeRackTO” blog admits horrific misogynistic behaviour

A couple years ago a local photographer started posting photos online (with subjects’ permission) some sexy photos of local cyclists in various levels of undress.  It turns out that the photographer was sharing other photos of these people (mainly the women in the photos) along with private photos of ex-girlfriends to online messageboards along with contact information of these women, all without permission of the subjects.

3. NEWS: North York driver runs over cyclist

The above title of the post was not the actual title of the new story.  It was “Cyclist seriously injured after colliding with a car in North York” but reading the story it’s evident that the driver ran over the cyclist.  This kind of victim-blaming happened over and over and over in Toronto this year.  News stories would say that “accidents” happened, not collisions (is it really an accident if a driver is texting and runs over another human being?).  New stories would make a point of mentioning if a cyclist was wearing a helmet or not after saying that a driver ran over their body (surprise, a helmet will not prevent your body from being crushed by a 1-ton vehicle).

4. NEWS: Cyclist suffers life-threatening injuries after being doored near Kensington Market 5. NEWS: Dropbike bike sharing service launching in Toronto

Between Bikeshare Toronto, the new Biko App that rewards people for biking and now another bikesharing service named Dropbike, it feels like biking is hitting a tipping/saturation point in Toronto *despite* our lack of safe infrastructure….

 

6. FACE PALM: “How do I deal with cyclists when I park in bike lanes?”

A truly asinine question from a delivery driver to Toronto Life’s “Urban Diplomat” column:

I’m a delivery driver who makes a lot of stops at small shops across the city. Most trips go off without a hitch, but, on some streets, I’m forced to block a bike lane while I run in for five minutes. How do I deal with the foul-mouthed, bell-happy cyclists who shout in my face and pound the side of my van?

7. GETTING LEGAL: Drinking and Riding – a bad idea, but is it illegal?

It’s not technically illegal, but if you’ve had one (ore more) two many, walk your bike home, or jump on the TTC.  It’s easy.

As with a car, the best advice for anyone considering drinking and biking is to leave the bike and take public transit, get a ride or walk.  While the legal consequences may not be as severe as drinking and driving, the potential life result could be worse.  

8. NEWS: Driver tries to ram a cyclist, then blames the cyclist for being too aggressive.

That time when a person on a bike films a person in a car intentionally trying to kill them and police and Toronto is general just shrugs.  WTF.

A Toronto lawyer who represents cyclists and their families says what’s shown in the video qualifies as assault with a weapon.

“What I’m seeing [in the video] is a vehicle that is … not only violating the one-metre law, but actually is intentionally using his vehicle as a weapon,” said Patrick Brown of Bike Law Canada.

9. OH YEAH! Biko app rewards you with free stuff every time you bike

I still like the concept of this (and I got a few free coffees with my points), but a lot of rewards seemed to be claimed first by bike couriers instead of regular cyclists (which seems like it’s defeating the purpose of getting more people biking more).  I haven’t used it in a while but just opened it up and it’s gone through a cool redesign and there’s a bunch of new rewards, so I’m game to use it more again.

In Toronto, dozens of businesses are already partnering with Biko, including Jimmy’s Coffee, Henderson Brewing, Foodora, Urbane Cyclist and B Yoga. Ten biko points, which requires 10 kilometres of pedaling, gets you a free cold brew at Jimmy’s Coffee. Sixty Biko points can be traded in for a free six-pack at Amsterdam Brewery.

10. NEWS: Driver gets 4 years in prison for hit-and-run that killed Toronto cyclist

It’s better than a lot of recent rulings, but still not enough.  If you kill someone like this guy did, you should be in jail far longer than 4 years, and you should never be able to drive again.

The family of a 26-year-old cyclist, who was killed in a hit-and-run by a 19-year-old driver who wove around stopped traffic to speed through an amber light, were devastated to learn the man will be able to drive again in 10 years.

 

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2017 Review: 10 Amazing Bike Things That Happened in Toronto This Year

Thu, 12/28/2017 - 15:23

Another year has come and gone and it’s sometimes easy to lose track of all the amazing bike things happening in Toronto.

Here’s a list of my favourites from this year (in no particular order):

1. Bloor Street Bike Lanes Made Permanent

40 years in the making… the Bloor bike lanes finally exist.  After a year pilot that showed that the lanes made the street better for all people on bikes, on foot, and in cars, as well as increasing business at stores along Bloor, these lanes are permanent.  It’s only for about 2 km, but you can believe the campaigns to extend them west to Etobicoke and east to the Danforth are underway!   You can find all posts about Bloor are under the Bloor post tag.

 

2. Woodbine gets bike lanes

A wonderful north-south addition to the bike lane network, this goes right from Queen St. in the Beaches to O’Connor in the north.  It not only makes the street bikeable (Woodbine was fast and dangerous before), but it’s now a pleasure to walk on now, with a protected bike lane and often parking between the sidewalk and moving cars.  You can find all posts about Woodbine are under the Woodbine post tag.

 

3. Canada Post says it’ll stop parking in bike lanes

After the excellent work by Kyle Ashley, a Toronto police parking enforcement officer, who ticketed and social media-shamed bike lane parkers (especially delivery companies like Canada Post, Fed Ex and UPS), Canada Post commited to not parking in bike lanes anymore.  Related: Ashley is now on unpaid leave because apparently the Toronto Police Service doesn’t like their employees telling people they shouldn’t break the law or advocate for safer streets.

 

4. Dropbike launches in Toronto

When multiple bike sharing services think it’s economically feasible for them all to exist in Toronto, it can only mean that bike use is taking over.  I for one welcome our new bicycle overlords. You can find all posts about  bikesharing are under the bikeshare post tag.

 

5. Bikeshare Toronto keeps breaking use records

If there was a theme to 2017 for Bikeshare Toronto it was breaking records.  More bikes, more trips, more users, more kilometers.  They even celebrated by offering free rides every Wednesday in July.  You can find all posts about  bikesharing are under the bikeshare post tag.

 

6. Bells on Danforth gets bigger and better

This ride gets bigger and better every year!  It’s a very slow ride, but it’s so amazing riding along the Danforth with 400+ other people on bikes.  My daughter calls it the Danforth Bike Party, and we usually attach balloons to our bikes every year for it.  So much fun.  You can find all posts about the Danforth under the Danforth post tag

 

7. The Bloor Viaduct bike lane gets bollards in the summer

These are my favourite piece of infrastructure.  Cheap plastic poles that really do nothing but provide psychological reassurance that drivers will keep their cars out of the bike lane.  Unfortunately, the city removes these every fall for “snow clearance” and it pisses me off every fall because they’ve figured out how to plow bikelanes everywhere else in the city, but refuse to do it on the bike lane.  UPDATE: Thanks to Ward 30 Councillor Paula Fletcher hounding the city on twitter, the city has committed to re-installing the bollards in spring 2018 and keeping them there year-round!

8. UPS plans to deliver packages in downtown Toronto by cargo bike

Coming soon: big huge UPS cargo bikes with e-assist, parked in bike lanes.  I guess that’s a step up from giant brown trucks parked in bike lanes?

 

9. Toronto citizens do a massive bike count downtown, because the city won’t

I have an American friend who moved up here when Bush (the 2nd) was elected, and he always comments that what he loves about Toronto is that so many people are not willing to wait for ineffectual politicians to do the right thing, and will just do things themselves.

10. Cycle Toronto’s Ride for Safe Streets raises $40,000

I’ve fundraised for Cycle Toronto for years, and am now on their Board of Directors, and am extremely impressed by the dedication and hard work of their staff and volunteers.  Their annual fundraising ride raised over $40,000 from just over 100 riders which is damn impressive!  Let’s help make the 2018 fundraising ride even bigger and better.  You can find all posts about Cycle Toronto in the Cycle Toronto post category.

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