What is Prohab and Who Are These Ladies in Helmets?

Vancouver based Prohab Helmet Society is a non-profit incorporation that donates helmets to the Vancouver area community. In British Columbia, where helmet use is mandatory, the Prohab Helmet Society is working with partners to provide helmets to those without.

To raise funds for their 2011 campaign the Society has crafted a calendar featuring cycling beauties wearing their helmets.

To show your support and help provide helmets to those without you can purchase the 2011 calendar here: Prohab Society Calendar

Image via The Deadly Nightshades

Sharrows Miss the Point on Harbord

In the cover of night, workers began installing sharrows along Harbord.

A point of contention for years, the disconnected bike lane between Bathurst and Spadina has inspired Urban Repair Squad intervention and left Councilor Adam Vaughan singing the same old tune that the very sparse car parking on this strip is essential to the survival of the businesses here.

Ignoring the fact that this is one of the most direct east/west bicycle routes connecting west end residents to downtown work and school this gap reflects the overall disinterest in the City of Toronto for providing continuous, consistent and much needed bicycle infrastructure.

Like placing a band-aid over an axe wound, sharrows, painted stencils that encourage motorists and drivers to ride right over them, now “fill” the gap.

There’s no denying that space is limited along this street. Yet while further west street parking alternates sides of the street to accommodate bike lanes this effective use of space is ignored and instead pictures of bicycles place cyclists directly in the door zone:

And to make matters worse, the boxed in parking space designations are too small, maximizing the potential for door prizes:

It is clear that steps to improve this route for cyclists have been taken. Repaving the curbside lanes has eliminated sticky seam sealing and countless potholes meaning that cyclists can spend more time looking ahead than scanning below for hazards. Bike boxes have also been installed in the heart of the University of Toronto at Harbord/Hoskin and St. George to increase the visibility of cyclists and decrease the possibility of right hooks.

Yet, while the effectiveness of sharrows in Toronto is currently being studied, including part-time sharrows in use along the west end of College Street, it is clear that these stencils are a compromise. Sharing the road is a feat accomplished day after day by most motorists and cyclists. Sharrows offer up a reminder that space is limited and we must do what we can to make room for everyone. However, sharrows ignore more issues than they address. In the case of the new Harbord sharrows, they do nothing to prevent the problematic door prize and do even less to convince aggressive drivers to share space.

I must note that I am not a city planner and I am not diligently studying the road use along Harbord or College, however, I do ride along these streets almost daily and in my experience sharrows do little more than remind me of where better bicycle infrastructure is needed and how poorly our demands are being met.

More photos of the sharrows on Harbord in the slideshow by Martinho below:

Halifax Cycling Coalition Wants You to Know Who is Riding Bikes

How do you promote cycling as a means of transportation?

In Halifax, you lead the way by introducing people to everyday cyclists. The Halifax Cycling Coalition recently released several commercials in which we get to meet people who have discovered life by bike.

Much like the latest issue of Dandyhorse and how cycling is being marketed in London, UK, these spots give us a face and a name of people riding bikes.

Please meet Madeline, Avra and Neil:

Visit the Halifax Cycling Coalition web site.
Watch the London, UK cycling videos.
Get the latest issue of Dandyhorse.

Two-way Sharrows Along Macdonell Provide Unofficial Alternate Route to Sorauren Avenue Park

The work of the Urban Repair Squad and quite possibly a unique invention, two-way sharrows have been placed on the one-way, southbound only Macdonell Ave.

Photos by Martinho:

More information at Urban Repair Squad

BIKE Drinks with Toronto Cyclists Union and T-shirts: August 5, 2010

Bike Union t-shirts, photo by Yvonne Bambrick

Via Toronto Cyclists Union:

BIKE DRINKS – Monthly Toronto Cyclists Union Social!

First Thursday of the month starting August 5th, 2010
6:30 to 7:00pm – New bike union member welcome & sign up
7:00 to 9:00pm – Bike social

BIKE Drinks kicks off at a special location on August 5th!
215 Spadina Ave. Suite 120 @ Centre for Social Innovation
From 6:30pm – presentation at 7pm
BYO – (Beverage sponsor TBC)

Regular location: Victory Cafe – 581 Markham Street (1 block S of Bloor, 1 block W of Bathurst) The Victory Cafe is a family-friendly environment.

We thought it was time to get a regular social started up again and we’re going to kick it off with a special presentation by the bike union’s Yvonne Bambrick.

Yvonne will be giving a short and informal presentation about her recent trip to the Velo-City global cycling conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, and will also share some observations on the 20,000 Velib public bikes and new infrastructure from her short stop in Paris.

  • Brand new bike union T-shirts will be available for purchase ($20 including tax)
  • Special Announcement regarding a custom painted bike giveaway!

More details about this monthly social can be found here – http://bikeunion.to/bike-drinks-monthly-toronto-cyclists-union-social

This really should also be a “covet” post as these three Toronto Cyclists Union t-shirts designed by Simon Farla are fantastic.

Photo via Yvonne Bambrick
Become a Toronto Cyclists Union member today, go here.

London Invests £111 Million in Cycling Infrastructure

Barclays Cycle Superhighway

At the current exchange rate, that’s $175 million CDN spent on cycling infrastructure in one year. Improving road conditions, creating a bicycle sharing program, increasing bicycle parking facilities and building “Barclays Cycle Superhighways” represent how you implement cycling infrastructure by tackling all aspects at once.

This video explains it all:

Now, you may be thinking, “But everything in England is on a much smaller scale, this could never work over the greater distances in Toronto.” And if you are thinking this, I’m sorry, but you’re wrong.

Consider the first route mentioned, running from outer London to inner London, 8.5 miles or just shy of 14 kms. In Toronto, you could start at Union Station and reach Bluffer’s Park in Scarborough by traveling just one more kilometre. Head in the opposite direction and 14 kms takes you to the 427.

While the current rail corridor development in Toronto is a step in the right direction, these cycling routes fall quite short of actually delivering cyclists into the areas of the city with the highest concentration of employment.

Video via EcoVelo

The Toronto Cyclists Handbook

The Partnership for Integration and Sustainable Transportation (a joint initiative of CultureLink Settlement Services and the Toronto Cyclists Union) has launched The Toronto Cyclists Handbook.

Available in 17 languages, the handbook provides an excellent introduction to the rules of the road and how to join the more than 400,000 Torontonians who use bicycles to get to work and play.

The Toronto Cyclists Handbook Cover

The information within the handbook is to the point and accompanied by helpful illustrations.

The Toronto Cyclists Handbook Page 8

The Toronto Cyclists Handbook Page 9

The Toronto Cyclists Handbook Excerpt Page 13

The handbook is currently available from the Toronto Cyclists Union and CultureLink Settlement Services. The handbook will soon be available online as a PDF and will see greater distribution as part of CultureLink’s Newcomer Settlement Program.

Please note that the text in the handbook is not faded as appears above, this is due to an error in my photo taking.

Cycle Chic as Advocacy?

First Cycle Chic Photo

Is the simple act of riding a bicycle in your everyday clothes a form of advocacy? Capturing these moments and sharing them online may be more than just bicycle voyeurism. See why in the video below:

University Avenue Bike Lane Pilot, Bike Sharing; Approved

Screen shot 2010-04-20 at 4.29.25 PM

Screen shot 2010-04-20 at 4.28.44 PM

Great news travels fast over Twitter!

Yvonne Bambrick of Toronto Cyclists Union at #voteTOin416

Yvonne Bambrick

Via #voteTOin416

I’m a member of the Toronto Cyclists Union. At the Toronto International Bicycle Show I volunteered with the Union and had a fantastic time speaking with Bike Show attendees about the issues facing all cyclists on Toronto’s streets. This was the first time I’d met Yvonne and listening to her speak passionately about cycling and cyclists was an inspiration. Advocating for cycling in Toronto can be as simple as using your bicycle as often as possible and, while doing so, setting a positive example for all cyclists.

Learn more about the Toronto Cyclists Union and become a member at http://bikeunion.to