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Jarvis bike lane latest in City Hall’s symbolic struggles

Down at City Hall, they chase gravy trains and fight a war on (or for) the car—and show respect for certain areas of the city by promising their residents underground transit. At some point, it seems that politics in Toronto passed into the realm of almost pure symbolism. This is especially true in the case of the Jarvis Street bike lanes.

At a time when the world’s other major cities—New York, Chicago, Copenhagen, London—are rapidly installing pedestrian and cycling infrastructure and discouraging car travel, Rob Ford’s Toronto is instead removing a major bike route before the painted lines on the road have even had a chance to dry.

Read the full post: “The Jarvis bike lane is just the latest in City Hall’s symbolic struggles” on The GridTO .

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The News Cycle: Coroner’s Report / Bike Helmet Edition

The News Cycle: Coroner’s Report / Bike Helmet EditionA couple weeks ago, the Chief Coroner released a report titled “Cycling Death Review: A Review of All Accidental Cycling Deaths in Ontario from January 1st, 2006 to December 31st, 2010″ and made recommendations to make our streets safer.  They were, among others:

  1. Adoption of a “complete streets” approach in community planning
  2. Development of an Ontario Cycling Plan to guide the development of cycling infrastructure
  3. A  cycling safety public awareness and education strategy
  4. Strategies to promote and support helmet use for cyclists of all ages.
  5. Implementation of mandatory helmet legislation for cyclists of all ages, within the context of an evaluation of the impact of this legislation on cycling activity.
  6. Establishment of a “one-meter” rule for vehicles when passing cyclists.
  7. Prioritizing the development of paved shoulders on provincial highways.
  8. Mandatory side-guards for heavy trucks.
These are all great recommendations, but of course the one that almost every media outlet glommed on to was the “mandatory helmet legislation” one, even though that was the most contentious among the report’s authors of any of the recommendations.  The recommendation also includes the stipulation that an evaluation of the impact of any such legislation should be done to ensure that it’s not detrimental to the adoption of cycling as a transportation choice.

 

Before I list most of the articles I found about the Coroner’s Report, I’ll lay out again my personal view about bike helmets… which will no doubt upset people on both sides of the issue.  I get lots of comments on the @bikingtoronto twitter account and the BikingToronto facebook page when I post anything the comes down on one side or the other.

 

Facts about Bike Helmets
  • Helmets are super important – they protect your brain if you hit your head
  • You will definitely be glad you have a helmet on if you fall over or get hit and hit your head on something hard
  • A helmet will not prevent a car from hurting your head if it runs over your head (helmets are just foam and plastic after all)
  • A helmet will not prevent you from breaking arms, legs, ribs, and many other body parts
  • A helmet will not prevent you from dying
Facts about Head Injuries
  • You are just as likely (if not more likely) to have a fatal head injury while driving or being a passenger in a motor vehicle, having a shower, or going up or down stairs as you are riding a bike.
  • Helmets are recommended/legislated for motor cycles
  • Helmets are not recommended/legislated for driving or riding in a car
  • Helmets are not recommended/legislated for showering
  • Helmets are not recommended/legislated for going up or down stairs
I’m not opposed to bike helmets (even making them mandatory), but I am opposed to the hysteria promoted by pro-helmet people.  Unless you promote helmet use for ALL activities during which someone can suffer a head injury, I do not want to hear why only cyclists should be mandated to wear them.

 

It is for these reasons that I wear a helmet, my wife wears a helmet, and my daughter wears a helmet… yet I do not find fault with anyone who chooses not to wear one.

 

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The News Cycle for Thursday, May 17, 2012

 Website rates Canadian cities on bike-ability [CBC News]

Website rates Canadian cities on bike-ability

Researchers at UBC and Simon Fraser University have come up with a way to rate how good major Canadian cities are for cycling.

Modelled on a site called Walk-Score, researchers tallied up three factors: topography, bike accessibility to shops and the number of bike lanes. The results are then colour-coded on a map posted on a website.

The Fixer: Cycling on Kew Gardens paths is no crime after all [The Star]

The Fixer: Cycling on Kew Gardens paths is no crime after all

He did a computer search on the bylaw noted on the signs — 319-69 — which later became 1969-319, and “it turns out the bylaw was repealed 15 years ago and the city just hadn’t taken down the signs.”

Between the date of our column and Leroux’s investigation, all but one sign was removed, he said, noting that “the entire Fixer article is incorrect.”

June is Bike Month across Canada [Dandyhorse Magazine]

June is Bike Month across CanadaToronto’s Bike Month has evolved from a single Bike to Work Day in 1998 to become one of the largest events of its kind in the country. Bike Month is organized by the City of Toronto and theCycle Toronto (formerly Toronto Cyclists Union). Below are a just a couple of events dandy will be at, but check out their calendar for full event listings.

 

Urban Planet: Why Kids Don’t Ride to School Anymore [Spacing Toronto]

Urban Planet: Why Kids Don’t Ride to School Anymore

Did you ride your bike to school as a kid? According to this piece on NPR, back in 1969 nearly half of children got to school on foot or by bike. Today, that figure is closer to 13%. Reporter David Darlington talks about what has changed – from concerns about liability to sprawling neighbourhood design to a changing understanding of bikes as recreation rather than transportation.

 

Behind the scenes at Cervelo Cycles in Toronto [BlogTO]

Behind the scenes at Cervelo Cycles in TorontoCervélo might just be the most innovative bike company in the world — and its Toronto-based headquarters is the type of place to send a tingle up and down the average roadie’s spandex-clad back. One wall is entirely whiteboard — with sketches, equations, and complex diagrams offered as an inadvertent equivalent to decor. Men with rings on their pinky fingers spend their days tinkering with the latest and greatest in software applications, trying to find that optimal balance between strength, stiffness, and aerodynamics.

Cyclist hospitalized after downtown crash  [CityNews]

Cyclist hospitalized after downtown crashA cyclist was rushed to hospital after a crash in the city’s downtown overnight Saturday.

Police tell CityNews the victim was biking near Queen and Victoria Streets just after 1 a.m. when a driver slammed on the brakes, causing the cyclist to crash into the back of the car.

 

Councillor and TTC chair Karen Stintz bike infraction earns her a ‘scolding’ from police officer [National Post]

Karen Stintz bike infraction earns her a ‘scolding’ from police officer

The Toronto police officer in the cruiser behind her pulled the councillor over and reminded her she had to come to a full stop, like other vehicles.

“I said I was sorry, and that I would be more mindful in the future,” said Ms. Stintz, who tweeted about her encounter as a public service announcement. “The way she was scolding me, I’m fairly certain she did not know who I was,” she laughed.

Waiting on Wellesley [NOW Magazine]

Waiting on Wellesley

It’s becoming a not-so-proud tradition in Toronto: propose a bike lane, approve a bike lane, and then delay building the bike lane.

The city has consistently fallen short of targets set out in the official Bike Plan 10 years ago, and it appears the separated cycle track planned for Wellesley St. is the latest project to be pushed back. According to a report going before the public works committee next Wednesday, the separated lane from Queen’s Park Crescent to Sherbourne Ave. won’t be completed until 2013, a year later than originally planned.

 

About the News Cycle

The News Cycle is a periodic post which brings together links to news, events and other things which may be of interest to Toronto’s cyclists.

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The News Cycle for Thursday, Dec. 1, 2011

From tragedy to disgust: Video of dead cyclist stolen [The Star]

Earlier this month, bicyclist Jenna Morrison was struck and killed by a truck while turning right from Sterling Rd. to Dundas St. W.  Now, the family has been rocked by the news that a video camera containing footage of the much-loved yoga instructor dancing with her son has been stolen.

Side guards get nod from city council [NOW Magazine]

In an overwhelming 39-3 vote, councillors approved a broadly worded motion to look into introducing several safety measures on trucks in Toronto, including side guards and other features like audible warning systems. The motion also voiced council’s support for a federal bill that would make side guards mandatory across the country, and asked staff to investigate the feasibility of fitting the guards on all city-operated trucks.

Canadians want more bike lanes and law-abiding cyclists: poll [National Post]

Following recent high-profile cycling deaths in Ontario, results of a poll suggest four in five Canadians think until more cyclists respect the rules of the road, they won’t be able to gain the respect of motorists. “What Canadians are saying is that there needs to be more understanding between motorists and cyclists,” Ipsos Reid associate vice-president Sean Simpson said.

Reminder: Toronto Cyclists Union Member Appreciation Night [Bike Union]

 The Bike Union’s Member Appreciation Night is tonight (Thursday) at Mountain Equipment Co-op.  Get 10% off MEC products, INCLUDING bikes! :)

Bixi gets bigger [Spacing Toronto]

Locating Bixi stations close to each other and creating a dense service area is crucial for a bike share system that is structured for relatively quick, under 30-minute trips. However, the realization that there are opportunities for stations outside the initial service area, while less densely located, is a welcome one.

 

[photo from National Post]

About the News Cycle

The News Cycle is a periodic post which brings together links to news, events and other things which may be of interest to Toronto’s cyclists.  If you have an item you would like to see in The News Cycle, please email it to me at joe[at]bikingtoronto.com

Subscribe to our RSS feed to get The News Cycle in your feed reader, or subscribe to our mailing list to get BikingToronto posts in your email (maximum 1 email per day).

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The News Cycle for Sunday, Nov. 13, 2011

The Fixer: Cycling campaign appeals to drivers’ better instincts [The Star]

Request to drivers: Please be more accepting of cyclists and consider them fellow travellers, instead of adversaries. That’s the idea behind “I Share the Road,” a campaign begun by cycling advocate and blogger James Schwartz, who hopes to foster a better relationship with drivers.

Morrison memorial service set for Monday [The Star]

A service to honour the life of Jenna Morrison will be held Monday at 7 p.m. at Bloor Street United Church, friends of the family announced Friday. Morrison was riding a bicycle when she was struck and killed by a truck last Monday morning while both were stopped at an intersection.

A bike ride into tragedy [The Star]

Excellent opinion article by Laura Robinson by the shocking lack of laws protecting those using roads (ie. public space) while not in cars.  Cyclists and pedestrians are seemingly ignored by the lawmakers of all 3 levels of government.

[photo from the Star]

About the News Cycle

The News Cycle is a periodic post which brings together links to news, events and other things which may be of interest to Toronto’s cyclists.  If you have an item you would like to see in The News Cycle, please email it to me at joe[at]bikingtoronto.com

Subscribe to our RSS feed to get The News Cycle in your feed reader, or subscribe to our mailing list to get BikingToronto posts in your email (maximum 1 email per day).

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