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INFRASTRUCTURE: ‘Idaho stop’ is one hot potato

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The part of this whole debate that drives me nuts is the double standard between bikes and cars.  Everyone jumps all over cyclists when they don’t come to a complete stop at a stop sign on a deserted residential street… but don’t worry about it if cars do it… and EVERY car does it… all the time… unless another car is at the intersection.

Go. Sit at a quiet intersection. Count the cars that come to a complete stop.  I bet, out of 100 cars, you could count the complete stops on one hand.

The rolling stop — it’s an idea that cycling advocates say could encourage more riders, ease bicycle commuting and make riding more efficient. Besides, many riders already do it, much to the outrage of the public.

Among cyclists it’s known as the “Idaho stop,” after the state that first legalized the practice in 1982. Since then, bike riders in the potato state have been told to treat stop signs as yields — allowing them to proceed without coming to a full stop if the way is clear. It’s a policy that cycling advocates across North America and in Toronto have been eyeing enviously.

“Amongst the advocacy community and amongst cyclists, it’s been talked about for years,” said Jared Kolb, executive director of Cycle Toronto. “Very few cyclists that I know come to a complete stop at four-way stops when the coast is clear.

Read More: Big Ideas: ‘Idaho stop’ is one hot potato

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ADVOCACY: Ghost bikes move us all

Many of the cycling activists who installed a ghost bike memorial at Spadina south of Dundas last fall didn’t know Carla Warrilow. She was struck and dragged under a truck while cycling on October 16, 2013. It took firefighters 15 minutes to free her, and she died a week later from her injuries.

Ghost bikes are seen by family members as sad tributes to lost loved ones, and by cycling advocates as reminders to bike safe. The fate of the bikes has become an issue for the Public Works Committee since City Hall started receiving inquiries from cyclists and families opposed to their removal last year.

More: Ghost bikes move us all | NOW Magazine.

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NEWS: It’s time for Toronto’s second-class cyclists to take over our streets

You GO Christopher Hume!  The revolution will be bicyclized! haha.

Seriously though… his point is a valid one… with more infrastructure, the number of cyclists in this city will explode exponentially, making bikelanes and infrastructure not only the right thing to do, but politically feasible to those at City Hall.

The problem with this city is that there aren’t enough bicycles on the streets. True, hundreds of cyclists can be seen on downtown roads like College, King and Queen. The dedicated Sherbourne lane is sometimes busy and so are Bloor and Danforth.

But what Toronto needs is thousands and thousands of cyclists, hordes of two-wheelers, enough to take over the streets and establish, if not primacy, at least equality with cars and trucks.

The issue is critical mass, and this city hasn’t reached it. Of course, cyclists get precious little support from official Toronto. Despite the brave talk about 500 kilometres of bike lanes on city streets by 2011; that deadline has come and gone with little to show. The temporary proposed routes on Richmond and Adelaide are a good sign, but Toronto’s a long way from realizing its pedalling potential.

Read More:  It’s time for Toronto’s second-class cyclists to take over our streets: Hume | Toronto Star.

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GET INVOLVED: Volunteer with Cycle Toronto

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Cycle Toronto’s next volunteer orientation will take place on Sat Mar 22, 1-4pm! Register by tomorrow (Tues, Mar. 18) to get in.

We’re not going to making biking in Toronto better by complaining on the internet… get involved!

Please send a half-page application with the subject line “Volunteer application” to siva.v@cycleto.ca by Tues, Mar 18 for our Sat, Mar 22 orientation. In your application, please describe yourself and why you’re interested in being a Cycle Toronto volunteer. Note that volunteer applicants should be members of Cycle Toronto.

If you cannot make it in March, the next application deadline is Thurs, Apr 17 for our Tues, Apr 22 orientation.

Get all the details: Volunteer with Cycle Toronto! | Cycle Toronto.

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NEWS: Ward 30 Bikes March Newsletter

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Ward 30 Bikes holds its monthly meeting on Thursday, March 20 from 7 to 9 pm at the South Riverdale Community Health Centre, 955 Queen Street East. Come out and discuss upcoming issues in the neighbourhood, including:

  • Working on ongoing improvements to cycling infrastructure, such as the Felstead Ave cut-through, and making ramp connections to the Don Valley Trail more accessible
  • Potential outreach events in 2014 in Ward 30 and beyond, including Bike Month.
  • Ongoing community planning consultations
  • Impacts of the Leslie Barns construction on people who walk and ride bikes

Read More: Ward 30 Bikes

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