Archives for September 2009

Joyride Bicycle Film Festival

Via Bike Pirates:

Join Bike Pirates for a special documentary film night on Friday Oct 16th at 8pm.

Showcasing small independent docs directed by Toronto cyclists riding the streets.

Calling out to all Toronto cyclists to bring in their homemade films about riding in Toronto, please submit?

Films will be showed at Bike Pirates, 1292 Bloor Street W. at 8pm

Contact Bike Pirates here

Let’s Get Visible – Safety is Sexy

Be it helmets, bike lights, reflective tape and countless other accessories there are an infinite number of ways to improve your safety while on a bike.

The problem is, safety isn’t cool.
And well, it isn’t really sexy either.
But, leave it to the “blogosphere” to tackle this head on… literally.
The Safety is Sexy Campaign ties safety to fashion and through their blog, point us towards ways of looking at safety equipment as something you can look good in, too.
Of course, it’s about fun too. While I’m a little late on this, here’s a parody video by Momentum Magazine and the B:C:Clettes who teamed up in late 2008:

Photo via BikeCommuters

Big cars, Red Pumps and an 80s Commute in Toronto

I’m going to have this repetitive song stuck in my head for the rest of the day.

Dusted off from the archives, WolfRuck brings us some vintage footage of first-person cycling through Toronto’s 80s streets. The biggest difference: no bike lanes. The same: the red pumps on the cyclist, vintage mountain bike, and the red streetcars.

What Happened to Bike Boxes in Toronto?


The above photo by Martin Reis is of a bike box that briefly existed at Harbord and Bathurst in 2008. I’m not sure what happened, but I certainly have not seen a bike box at this intersection this year. (Turns out this was a project by the Urban Repair Squad and not the City of Toronto)

Bike boxes are a great piece of infrastructure that give red light priority to cyclists. Currently, most bike lanes end a few metres from an intersection in Toronto. There are exceptions here and there, but the current way of dealing with one of the most dangerous sections of roads seems to be “let’em figure it out for themselves.” And, this results in angered drivers, squeezed cyclists and simply a lack of common sense at many intersections. I see it every morning on my commute.
While bike boxes may sound like bike lockers, there’s obviously a major difference. Here’s how the Urban Repair Squad explains bike boxes:
While a previous video explained the NYC bike boxes along one-way streets, this newer video explains how a bike box works on a two-way street:
Share your bike box stories and opinions in the BikingToronto Forum

Field and Stream creates the Canadian Hipster Fixie

A little while ago, I joked about creating a buffalo plaid helmet cover to “Canadianize” the NYC Helmet.

And now, Field and Stream has taken it a step further and put together a buffalo plaid fixed-gear bicycle.
Now if someone could get me a buffalo plaid jersey…

Found on BikeBlogNYC

A Pro Skateboarder’s Lesson for Cyclists and Bad Drivers

thumbs down

Are you on Twitter?

I am… and you can follow me here: @DuncansCityRide

Over the past few months I’ve started following cyclists, bike companies and a dozen or so interesting people on Twitter. While I try not to get sucked in to the 140 character messages and start following every account I find, I’ve come across some great new cycling products and ideas on Twitter.
A few days ago, pro skateboarder Tony Hawk sent this tweet:

@tonyhawk thumb down gesture @ bad driver more effective than a middle finger – a bad review instead of a hostile scream.

While I try to keep my cool when an over-caffeinated driver is honking at me from their SUV because I’ve chosen to take the lane on a dodgy strip of road, it’s possible for even the most zen of us to lose our cool.
I do find that eye contact often ends the honks, yet there are times when I feel more of a message must be sent to end the situation. That’s when a thumbs down could come in handy.
Of course, any gesture can be taken as an act of aggression, so use it wisely. No one likes to hear when they’re at fault and when those people are behind the wheel of a 2-ton beast, you don’t need to egg them on any further.
If you want to find more cycling-related Twitter accounts, then check out the people and companies I’m following @DuncansCityRide
Photo from Flickr account of DinahSaysNothing

What Would a Bicycle Licence Program in Toronto Mean?

Photo caption from Flickr: “This bicycle tag is issued to delivery bicycles who deliver the Toronto Star newspaper. This plate which I have had for a long time was issued in the 1960’s or 70’s.”

The Public Works and Infrastructure Committee meeting on September 14, 2009 has everyone and their mother talking about cyclist licensing and helmet laws.

However, there’s one question that needs to be asked, and one that hasn’t been just yet.

What exactly is a bicycle licence or cyclist’s license?

There are differences between the two and we need to clarify these first.

A bicycle licence isn’t a new idea. These have been around for years. The Flickr account of woody1778a has a collection of bicycle licence plates from Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton, Quebec and elsewhere.

A bicycle licence is simply bicycle registration. Cities like Madison, WI, Davis, CA, St. Lake City, UT and Regina, SK all have bicycle licence programs. These are free in some cases and can cost up to $10. Having a bicycle licence in these cities means you have registered your bicycle for identification in the instance it is recovered after theft. It can also be used to identify the owner of the bicycle if they suffer a serious injury. And it also provides city planners with a count of cyclists (or bicycles really) to use when planning infrastructure. Some of the money collected can go towards funding cycling infrastructure, however at such low costs there is often very little money generated for bike lanes or anything else.

In Toronto, the Toronto Police Service already provides free bicycle registration that is not mandatory, but is highly recommended to aid in the recovery of stolen bicycles. There is no registration number provided, although retaining your bicycle’s serial number is the same as having a unique registration number as this is used for identification.

On the other hand we have a cyclist’s license that would grant the holder permission to use a bicycle.

While my search has certainly not been exhaustive, I have yet to find an example of a cyclist’s license in use anywhere in the world. If you know of any, please let me know in the Biking Toronto Forum.

Motorists, boaters and pilots all require a license to operate their vehicles. Licenses are issued after testing and must be renewed after a certain amount of time with the exception of boaters who simply must pass their licensing test once.

Why then, should a cyclist’s licensing program be started? And do we even need one at all?

Currently, cyclist’s are regulated under the Highway Traffic Act (HTA). On a bicycle you’re required to follow all of the rules of the road. Stopping at stop signs and red lights, signaling turns and having appropriate lighting at night are all covered under the HTA and cyclists can be issued fines for these offenses.

However, these charges do not affect the current points system on their driver’s licenses, should they have one. The argument here is that by licensing cyclists, you can track their offenses and possibly even revoke their license as we do with motorists.

In Florida, traffic offenses committed on a bicycle go on their driver’s record and can result in the revoking of a license. Florida is even strict on those too young to have a driver’s license, requiring that they pay fines incurred on a bicycle before they can get their driver’s license.

So then, in Ontario and Toronto cyclists are already regulated. The problem is in enforcement, not regulation. And, enforcement is currently being stepped up, especially in Toronto as thousands of violations are issued each year to cyclists.

Licensing of motorists, boaters and pilots also implies that a certain level of education concerning the rules of operation has been obtained. Many argue that licensing cyclists would help increase the general knowledge of road rules and therefore decrease the number of law breakers on the road.
But, do cyclists not know the rules? Are the cyclists you sometimes see running red lights doing so because they don’t know what a red light means?
Of course not!
You take a person off of their bike and you’ve got a pedestrian, and we certainly don’t doubt that anyone getting around on their feet is ignorant of stop signs and red lights and crosswalk signals.
While city staff are now tasked with researching cyclist’s licenses for Torontonians, AGAIN, we as cyclists must be vocal about what we would want from such a system should it be implemented.
If part, if not most, of the money collected during licensing goes solely to cycling infrastructure, I have no issues with that. If having a bicycle licence plate means that EVERY motorist will pass me safely and legally and that I won’t be pushed out of lanes at intersections, then so be it.
Until the details of what exactly a cyclist’s licensing program in Toronto would be, it is hard to say whether we need one or not. What we don’t need is a bicycle licence, since we already have a free registry that could be made mandatory to aid in theft recovery.
Discuss licensing and your thoughts on the issue in the Biking Toronto Forum

Just Another Trip to the Office by Bicycle for Danny MacAskill

I’m wondering if I can spice up my commute like this?

Via Bike Commuters

In Chicago, We Share the Road

Excellent training video for Chicago Police Officers that could easily be converted for cyclist and driver education in any city… oh, and how about a 3 feet for passing law in Ontario???

Traffic Enforcement for Bicyclist Safety from Chicago Bicycle Program on Vimeo.

Via Streetsblog LA

Discuss this video in the Biking Toronto Forum

What We Wear When Cycling in Toronto

Bike and Business Suit

Sitting in a car, no one can see what you’ve got on. For better or for worse, on a bicycle you’ve got nowhere to hide. Here’s how we dress when on our bicycles in Toronto.

We wear solids on our small bikes:

Strida at speed

Sometimes we wear all black (to not be seen “salmoning”):

Looking back

Or we wear all blue:


And then we also wear some other primary colours:

urban biking

To be seen we wear our safety vests:

Kids are out on CM

And we sometimes wear clothes that are meant not to be seen:


And sometimes we wear no shirts at all:


And when it’s warm, we wear shirts to show off our pregnant bellies:

And we wear skirts and motorcycle helmets:

Cyclist - IMGP0181 ep

Or we wear silly animal helmets:


Or we wear boxes:


Or we wear no helmet at all because we have cool hair:

bike #1

And we wear halter tops when taking our other bike out for a walk:

Bikes get lonely too if you leave them home alone.

Or we put on our summery Canadian Tuxedo:

Speedy Cyclist

And we carry sparklers in summer dresses:

Cycling with a sparkler

And play the horn in our sharp vests:


When it rains we put on our bright rain jackets:

riding in the rain

And when it snows we simply cover up more:

Day 343: On the move

Or cover up completely:

Polar Bear Bike

All photos from the BikingToronto Flickr Pool

What do you wear to bike in Toronto? Share your style in the Biking Toronto Forum