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Reminder: Ride for Jarvis Tonight

On Monday, I posted about the Ride for Jarvis happening tonight… but I thought I’d send a reminder to try and ensure everyone knows about it and comes out for a great large ride in support of the Jarvis bikelanes.

  • When: Wed, June 13th
  • Time: 6pm
  • Where: Allan Gardens (at Carleton and Jarvis – map)


View Larger Map

Here are photos from last July’s Ride for Jarvis.

Here is updated info about the ride from Cycle Toronto:

For a second year, Cycle Toronto is calling on all cyclists in Toronto to Ride for Jarvis. The ride, which starts this evening at Allan Gardens at 6 pm and ends at City Hall, is expected to attract hundreds of riders from across the city.  The ride celebrates the bike lanes on Jarvis and protests their planned removal.

On July 13, 2011, City Council voted to remove the bike lanes on Jarvis, installed only the year before, without due public process and proper consultation with any stakeholders. In response, over 1,000 cyclists from all over Toronto gathered on Jarvis to ride in protest of that vote.

The biggest concern raised about the bike lanes prior to implementation was significant delays in travel times for motor vehicles. A staff report released in April shows that these delays have not materialized. Updated traffic counts from the City of Toronto (see page 17 of the report) showed that following the installation of bike lanes on Jarvis, motor vehicle volumes remained the same while cycling volumes tripled.

“Here’s what we know: since the installation of bike lanes on Jarvis, the number of cyclists has tripled.  We’ve seen a drop in collision rates across the board, making the street safer for everyone.  Scrubbing the bike lanes and re-installing the fifth reversible lane will cost a quarter million dollars,” said Jared Kolb, Director of Membership and Outreach for Cycle Toronto. “If you’re going to throw away a safer street and turn Jarvis back into a highway, you’ve got to do it legally, with due process, under public scrutiny.”

In March 2012, we released a legal opinion outlining the case for completion of a Schedule C Environmental Assessment before removing the bike lanes.  We called on the City to undertake an EA before removing the lanes.  The City responded by refusing to acknowledge that the Jarvis reconfiguration is a new project, and therefore doesn’t need a Schedule C Environmental Assessment.  Cycle Toronto has since called on the Province to order an EA on Jarvis before its removal.

Cycle Toronto believes that it makes no sense to remove a bike lane from a street that works for all road users and has increased safety for cyclists and pedestrians. We encourage all cyclists to come out and support the Jarvis Street bike lanes!

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The News Cycle for Monday, May 7, 2012

Cycle Toronto says city data shows Jarvis safer for everyone with a bike lane [OpenFile]

Cycle Toronto says city data shows Jarvis safer for everyone with a bike lane

While the Toronto Cyclist’s Union Cycle Toronto’s effort to force the city to conduct a time-consuming environmental assessment before removing the Jarvis bike lanes continues, it’s published city collision data showing changes from the period before the bike lane was put in, and the one-year numbers since the bike lane went in. The results, as Cycle Toronto puts it, are pretty definitive.

 

Toronto News: Jarvis safer since bike lanes, report shows [The Star]

Jarvis safer since bike lanes, report shows

Cycling advocates say a city report showing fewer collisions on Jarvis St. since the bike lanes were installed is fresh ammunition in the battle to persuade Toronto to keep cycling space on that road.

But the chair of the public works and infrastructure committee said he hasn’t changed his mind about scrubbing the Jarvis lanes as soon as a new cycle track is built this year on Sherbourne St., physically separating bikes from cars on a parallel route.

Cycle Toronto, Board Election Results and Annual General Meeting Recap [Toronto Cyclists Union / Cycle Toronto]

After 5 weeks of discussion and engagement among members and non-members, the bike union voted on the name change to Cycle Toronto.  The organization required a two-thirds majority to approve the change.  The motion passed with 71% for the new name and 29% against.  Incoming Board President Nick Cluley commented that with the new name “We will be able to reach out to more Torontonians and attract a wider variety of individual and business members to make us truly self-sustaining.” Look for our new branding throughout this summer!

 

Bikes of Bamboo [Torontoist]

Bikes of Bamboo

“When I first saw a bamboo bike in a magazine, it was just breathtaking,” Kraiker said. “I had gone to school for welding, because I had this goal of becoming a frame builder, and suddenly welding was completely irrelevant. I was more interested in botany.”

The Toronto Bamboo Bike Studio is a small, gated-off area in the corner of a laneway garage, with just enough space for the two metal guides Kraiker uses to shape and assemble his frames out of iron bamboo, imported from the Yucatan.

How did Bixi do in its first year in Toronto? [TorontoLife]

How did Bixi do in its first year in Toronto?

Maybe it was the unnaturally mild winter or the rising ranks of the city’s pinko cyclists, but stats show 23,000 trips were taken in winter, accounting for about 22% of the first year of usage. Altogether, BIXI met its goal of attracting 5,000 members and Torontonians took more than 556,000 trips around the downtown core. 

 

 

OpenRoad: How construction projects can occupy bike lanes—legally [OpenFile]

OPENROAD: HOW CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS CAN OCCUPY BIKE LANES—LEGALLY

For about a month last year, Toronto cyclist Lizz Bryce avoided the stretch of St. George Street near the Rotman School of Management at all costs. The building was under construction and the project spilled out onto the sidewalks and beyond, often blocking the street’s heavily-used northbound bike lane.

 

 

The Grid guide to cycling etiquette [The Grid TO]

How should people behave in cities? The Grid’s Urban Etiquette video series gives you a few tips on how to be a polite city dweller.

This week, we ask Andrea Garcia, the Advocacy Director of the Toronto Cyclists Union, to advise us on why cyclists shouldn’t run red lights, how often to ring your bell, and whether bike flirting is an acceptable practice.

Bixi Toronto bike rental service turns 1 [CityNews]

Bixi Toronto bike rental service turns 1

Bixi Toronto is celebrating its first anniversary with events at several bike rental stations around the city.

The celebrations for the popular bike rental service featured a stunt rider, gifts and giveaways for Torontonians at five bike stations.

Spokesman Michel Philibert said the program has been a success, attracting 5,176 members who took more than 550,000 trips in the first year.

Bike Collision Rates are Down on Jarvis Street [Toronto Cyclists Union / Cycle Toronto]

This week the Toronto Cyclists Union obtained a collision review of Jarvis Street.  The data, compiled by City Staff in the Transportation Services department, proves that Jarvis Street is now safer for all road users. The motor vehicle-bicycle collision rate has decreased by 29%, while the number of collisions between pedestrians and motor vehicles decreased by 89%. In fact, since the bike lanes were installed, the total number of all reported collisions per year along Jarvis Street has decreased by 23% – this includes drivers, pedestrians and cyclists! 

 

Toronto Cyclist Union changes name to “Cycle Toronto” [OpenFile]

 We’ve briefly mentioned this story before, but the decision was finally made last night: the Toronto Cyclist Union had to decide whether to keep the word “union” in its name, or go with a more generic term. The results were pretty overwhelming.

 

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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Should the Toronto Cyclists Union change their name to Cycle Toronto?

 

Just over a week ago, the Toronto Cyclists Union let their members know that they were thinking of changing their name to “Cycle Toronto“, which is to be held to a  vote on May 2nd at their next Annual General Meeting.

I’ve included excerpts from that announcement below (click here for the full text), and then following that, some links to arguments for and against the change, as well as some questions that I’ve had as I’ve been mulling over the proposed change.

2011 was an amazing year for our organization. Through our shared efforts, we were able to double our membership from 1,018 to over 2,100 since our last AGM. In the meantime we’ve worked as a group to refer new members, both through word of mouth and our Refer-A-Rider Campaign. We’ve found amazing local business partners who now reward our membership through the Member Discount Program, giving us new inroads to the business community. We’ve continued to advocate for the changes Toronto must make to ensure that cyclists are treated as equals on the road, leading the charge to Save Jarvis while continuing to push for expanded Complete Streets infrastructure across the city. We helped keep cyclists safe through our Get Lit campaign and, along with our volunteers, spoke with thousands of Torontonians about our mission and cause. Truly we have many reasons to celebrate.

Over the past years, we have run into unexpected pockets of resistance when applying for grants as well as in recruiting business members and individual donors. There is a large group of cyclists in Toronto that don’t feel connected to our organization, and they have often expressed that our current name is largely responsible for that disconnect. Considering all of the positive impacts that we want to have as an organization, the Board of Directors does not want our name to prevent a single cyclist from joining our organization. Our strategy and trajectory demands that we be accessible and essential for everyone who rides in Toronto, and we feel that now – as we are poised for record growth – is the time to address this issue.

In the next few weeks, you’ll be receiving the agenda for our AGM, scheduled for May 2, 2012. The board requests your support in changing our name, not as a change of direction, but as a step towards better alignment with our current strategy and in an effort to ensure we are able to reach as many of our fellow riders, and other street users, as possible. We feel that the future of this organization is much brighter, and the possibilities greater, with a new moniker: Cycle Toronto.

At the AGM, we would like your support when we a vote to accept the new name. According to our bylaws, a two-thirds majority of member voters at the AGM will carry the name change.

Dave Meslin (you may know him as “Mez”) who was the driving force behind the initial founding of the Union posted a blog post that laid out why the name should NOT be changed.  I recommend you read the full post yourself, but his main points break down as follows:

  1. Toronto Cyclists Union Branding: there are tons of existing t-shirts, buttons, tents, booklets, flyers, and stickers. Changing the name essentially makes all of this stuff useless for branding
  2. Search Engine Optimization: will people be able to find (formerly) Union work if it’s under a new name?
  3. Administrative Effort: Changing the name on forms, bank accounts, receipts, invoices, templates, etc. etc.

You should also read the comments on Mez’s post.  People make a lot of good points (some of which I’ll include below in my questions).

Nick Cluley, who is on the Board of Directors of the Union, has also written a post FOR the name change (again, I encourage you to read the full post), which can be summarized as follows:

  1. Marketing Plan: There will be a plan for the name transition.  There will be some overlap in the names for a certain time.
  2. Little Control of Name: Lots of names are currently used for the organization – Toronto Cyclists Union, Bike Union, TCU, BU… so let’s change it to assert more control.
  3. Less Politicization of Cycling: The word “Union” (even though it’s not a labour union) alienates cyclists on the right of the political spectrum as well as some companies and organizations.  Let’s make cycling apolitical, and the organization more powerful in terms of finances and representation of Toronto’s cyclists.

Finally, here are my questions about the name change.  I’m only one member of the Union, and I think a good job will be done by Jared, Andie, and all the many many volunteers no matter what the name is… but I also realize that BikingToronto is widely read, so instead of coming down on one side of the debate, I’ll simply ask some questions which should be addressed or thought about by the Union’s Board of Directors and Union members when they consider their vote.

  1. Branding: Branding is extremely important.  Your name and logo is how people know you.  If the Union is considering changing their name to Cycle Toronto, they need to consider how the name will impact branding.  Is the phrase “Cycle Toronto” available on Twitter? Facebook Page addresses? Website URLs? Flickr? Pinterest? Instagram? etc. etc.  Currently the Toronto Cyclists Union has a “bikeunion.to” URL for their website, which has people calling it the Bike Union (myself included – it’s far easier to say and write)… are we looking at the possibility of Cycle Toronto having a CycleTO.ca  or Cycle.to or some other website URL or facebook page?  Whatever the name, branding has to be consistent.  The simpler the name, the more likelihood it will be “taken” in the digital sphere.  A unique name is much easier to establish consistent brand identity for.
  2. Why Cycle Toronto?  I’ve seen quite a few comments about the blandness of the name Cycle Toronto.  It is a rather generic name (I know, I know… “Biking Toronto” isn’t super-exciting – it was chosen because I wanted the site name to reflect what the site was about) and frankly, kind of forgettable.  It has no “personality” (yet)  and could be confused with any Toronto cycling organization, club, website, or even bikestore.  The other thing that I think Union members should know or think about is HOW “Cycle Toronto” was chosen.  Was it one of many names considered?  Why that one?  Why wasn’t there a vote on what the name should be changed to?
  3. Is it Inclusive or Exclusive?  The one reason for the proposed name change which seems to have most people talking is the fact that the word “Union” is repugnant to those individuals and organizations and companies on the right of the political spectrum.  So, Cycle Toronto is more inclusive, politically…. but it will probably alienate the initial, core left-wing cyclists and activists which started the Toronto Cyclists Union.  As well, and this is just semantics and optics… does changing the name to Cycle Toronto take the emphasis off “cyclists” and the concept of “strength in numbers” and put the emphasis on chasing and securing financial contributions and grants from companies and organizations.  It could be perceived as such, even if that is not the case.
  4. “Union” isn’t the Problem: There is nothing wrong with using the word “Union” to describe a coming together of cyclists in a common purpose.  That is the definition of the word.  Just because the political right equates any use of the word “union” with labour rights and strikes and the “left” does not mean it is wrong to use. Perhaps an education campaign is what is called for?
  5. Alternate Names: Can alternate names be considered that get away from using “Union” but still keeps the spirit of the organization and the reputation it has built over the past few years?  Is there a name that is distinctive, appeals to all political philosophies, and represents the coming together of all cyclists and organizations interested in making cycling better in Toronto?  Toronto Cycling Alliance? Toronto Cycling Coalition? Toronto Bike League?  Toronto Bike Alliance?  Toronto Bikes?  Toronto Bike ____?

 

There we go.  Read the full announcement from the Toronto Cyclists Union.  Read Mez’s post.  Read Nick’s Post.  Consider the questions raised in those posts and the comments on those posts.  Consider the questions I’ve posed, and come up with questions of your own.

Finally, if you’re a member of the Bike Union, go to the Annual General Meeting on May 2nd and vote.  It would be a shame if a minority of members actually voted on this change.  A two-thirds majority of voting members is what is needed to change the name.

The Bike Union has also set up a “Name Change Conversation” website to help facilitate discussion.

I hope this post is useful to you.  Writing it helped solidify and organize questions I had about the name change.

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The News Cycle for Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2012

Toronto News:

2011 Hero: Bixi Toronto [Torontoist]

When Bixi Toronto launched in May, we were surprised at how quickly we fell for the sturdy, practical rides that popped up at solar-powered stations across the downtown core—turns out that the bike-share system appeals to even habitual TTC users and bike owners. Stormy when you leave home? Take the TTC or a taxi, and when the sun’s shining later, you can hop on Bixi and pedal home. Planning to paint the town red? Bixi out, dock it and forget it; you won’t have to return for your wheels the next day. 

Bikers brave bitter cold, snow for year-round freedom [CTV News]

Urban cycling advocate Yvonne Bambrick, also a year-round biker, said that cyclists should go with their comfort level.

“For folks afraid of cycling for the stated reason that it’s icy and snowy you can rest assure that those conditions are not everyday,” she said. “It is actually quite feasible to ride comfortably if you dress appropriately and keep some things in mind.”

Support Councillor Matlow’s Motion to Fine Illegally Parked Cars! [Toronto Cyclists Union]

The text of the motion has been revised somewhat from the original - read the General Manager’s report here.  The fine has dropped from $500 to $150, but the rush hour period is now from 6-10AM and 3-7PM on weekdays.  Even better, illegally parked cars in bike lanes are always subject to the $150 ticket with no time restrictions.

Call for Submissions: 365 Days of Cycling Photo Exhibit [Toronto Cyclists Union]

The Toronto Cyclists Union invites amateur and professional photographers to submit their works to 365 Days of Cycling: An Evening of Art and Cycling.  The show is intended to highlight cycling in Toronto throughout the 4 seasons. 

2011 Year End Wrap Up [The Urban Country]

As we approach another new year, I have been reflecting on the events of 2011 and how they have shaped both myself and this website. In many ways, 2011 has been a coming of age for The Urban Country. We have reached record levels of readership and have been told by many people that we are one of their favourite bike blogs.

 

Winter Biking:

How to choose a winter bike [Dandyhorse Magazine]

While just about any bike can be pressed into service [for winter riding], I generally recommend something other than a strict sport road bike. For a winter specific set up, I really like fixed gear and internally geared bikes. The reduction in cables and external shifting components simplifies maintenance and helps keep snow and slush buildup to a minimum.

Winter biking basics [Green Living Online]

 Winter cycling is no longer the domain of daring bicycle couriers or mountain biking aficionados. With rising gas prices, environmental footprint concerns, and improved infrastructure for city riding, commuting by bicycle year-round is a growing trend. 

 

Other:

Sleek Bike Charges Its Own Headlights And Your iPhone [Fast Company Design]

The math on your bike doesn’t seem to add up. The sweat from all those thigh-burning, hill-climbing miles evaporates into thin air, as you change batteries in your bike light and drag your GPS inside to charge it. Now a German bike company says it can transfer all those pedal revolutions into energy you can actually use.

10 bicycling myths debunked [Grist]

When it comes to bicycling, the pastime that can solve all of America’s most pressing problems, we’re like heat-seeking missiles in search of myths and misinformation. Our goal is simple: to get you to trade in your four-wheeled gas guzzler for a lean, clean, calorie-burning machine. Here are the top 10 myths that we debunked this year, all linked up and annotated for your enjoyment. 

Bikestravaganza: Grist’s top bike stories of 2011 [Grist]

I spent the day yesterday digging through 18 — count ‘em, 18 — pages of search results in a quest to find Grist’s Overarching Narrative of the Bike in 2011. I laughed. I cried. I almost blew tea on my laptop. Then I biked home on streets that were blissfully bereft of automobiles. Without further ado, I give you the good, the bad, and the pee-your-pants funny from the past year in bicycling.

 

 

[top illustration from the Torontoist]

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 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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