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Colin Patrick Sztronga was killed by a van last week on Elgin Mills Rd in Markham, just east of Kennedy. He leaves behind his wife and son, and many family and friends. He was 47. Tonight was his ghost bike ride starting from the Unionville GO station.

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Joey makes some announcements to get us started.

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Off we go.

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Through central Unionville on Main St.

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Two boys rode: Marco (Colin’s son) in blue, and a nephew.

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Crossing Major Mac.

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Turning from Kennedy onto Elgin Mills.

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Approaching the crash site.

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Colin’s wife, Janet, and son Marco. His mother, Sharon, in white to the left.

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For logistical reasons, the ghost bike was driven up to the crash site.  Thanks to David for doing this, and Hamish for providing the ghost bike this time.

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Setting up the ghost bike.

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A minute of silence.

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In the foreground of this picture, you can see the skid mark left by the van as it went off the road after it hit Colin.

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Signs and flowers added to those that were already there.

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Even with it being just past summer solstice, the sun must set eventually.

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As dusk falls, we get ready to ride back. The boys were determined to ride back as well.

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They turn off to Janet’s house, whereas those of us from downtown continue south on Kennedy.

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After meeting back up at the Unionville GO station to chat with those who drove in from out of town, a few of us head back towards Finch station.

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Deepest condolences to family and friends. The large turnout from out of town make it clear that Colin was well loved. May he rest in peace.

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Thanks to all those who joined us. Extra points to Angela and Michael who rode up from downtown with Joey.

That’s four ghost bikes (a typical year’s worth) in nine days. Please no more.

 

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Tonight was the memorial ride for Dalia Chakos, a 58 year old grandmother who moved to Toronto from the US two years ago and loved riding her bike in the Annex neighbourhood. She was killed by a flatbed truck at he corner of St. George and Bloor. Even before tonight’s ride, people had left flowers in her memory.

A very large crowd gathered at Bloor and Spadina.

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Geoffrey talks to the media.

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Dalia’s son, Skylor Brummans, flew in from Minnesota to attend the ride. He was determined to use the news of his mother’s untimely death to press for more safety for cyclists.

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Joey makes the usual announcements to get us rolling.

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We start lining up on Spadina in preparation for heading north.

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Here we go.

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Pause at Lowther.

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Right turn on Bernard.

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Pause for a regroup before turning south on St. George.

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The ghost bike arrives at the crash site.

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The crowd is so large that we block the intersection.

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Setting up the ghost bike.

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Joey calls for a minute of silence.

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Afterwards, people come forward to decorate the bike.

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We own the intersection for a brief period of time. It was striking that after an initial bit of honking, many cars waited patiently for us to finish.

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Skylor thanks everyone for attending, and says that his mother would not have believed that hundreds of strangers would ride in her honour.

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Believe me, this is the very least we could do in her memory.

As the crowd disperses, the banner is still held across one lane.

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The decorations.

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Deepest condolences to Dalia’s family and friends. The presence of Skylor and his wife was highly appreciated.

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Thanks to everyone who rode with us tonight.

Note: a few of these pictures have been cross posted to a separate blog post at Dandyhorse Magazine.

Update:

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Today was the annual Bells on Danforth ride, a day to remind ourselves about the joy of cycling.

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Bells on Bloor organized a small ride to the ride starting from Bloor and Spadina.

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Albert pulling a bike trailer with signage.

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Across the viaduct.

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A brief detour south as a portion of the Danforth was closed off at Broadview for a street fair.

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The ride starts at Withrow Park. Tom is our emcee today.

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Liz from CycleTO and Janet Joy from the Reading Line.

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First speaker was Peter Tabuns, newly reelected MPP. He read out the acknowledgment of lands, and then apologized for not being free to ride with us.

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Next: Janet Joy Wilson talked about the upcoming book ride on August 26 that is themed around the Prince Edward Viaduct. She was raffling off a signed copy of “In the Skin of a Lion”.

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As Bells on Danforth is a non partisan community organization, they did not allow anyone who is running for office to speak. However, Mary-Margaret McMahon is not in that category as she will be stepping down in the fall due to a self imposed two term limit. She talked about how she will continue to press for better bike infrastructure, partially through her efforts on PWIC.

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Janet Davis announced just this week that she is also not running this fall. With the loss of her and Mary-Margaret, we have lost two strong proponents of cycling, and the two champions of the Woodbine bike lanes. She said that she and MM will continue to press for a corridor study to be started before the election as part of a continuing push for bike lanes on the Danforth. She reminded us that not only should we be talking our local councillors; we should also be putting pressure on the mayor’s office.

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Liz Sutherland announced CycleTO’s new campaign: #BuildTheGrid, which is an update of the “minimum grid” campaign.

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Just before the ride, the draw for the book was done.

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Regrettably I did not get the name of our happy winner.

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Mark from CycleTO.

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One thing that was noticeable to me was the large number of families with kids, many more that I have ever seen on the Bells on Bloor rides. Here is the most elaborate kid bike set up I saw today.

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Now time to line up on Logan.

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Our leaders head off with the banner.

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Here we go.

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Lots of kids.

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Albert Koehl.

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I was impressed that Danielle’s friend could ride slowly enough in full aero tuck position.

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Jess Spieker from Friends and Families for Safe Streets.

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Warren “pool noodle” Huska.

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Approaching Woodbine.

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Turning north on Danforth Rd.

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Arriving at the Oakridge CRC.

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Janet Joy with Sarah Climenhaga who is running for Mayor. She is fully engaged on active transportation issues.

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Scarborough Cycles and the Ward 32 group.

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Some fellow Bells on Bloor members.

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One last reminder about the new campaign. I forgot to ask CycleTO to smile.

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Overall, a perfect day for a bike ride, with lots of families present. Starting and finishing at Community Centres was a smart idea.  Thanks to all the organizers for a wonderful event.

Here is a brief video of the front half of the rider pack.

 

 

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Tonight was the ghost bike memorial for Jonas Mitchell, a 35-year-old male cyclist struck on 15 May 2018 on Lake Shore Blvd at Colborne Lodge Road, the evening before Douglas Crosbie was killed. Jonas died from his injuries on Friday, 8 June 2018.

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(image source: gofundme)

Here is the ghost bike ride arriving at the crash site.

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The ghost bike.

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The banner. Actually the traffic waiting to turn left from eastbound Lakeshore was very patient. We appreciated this.

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A reminder of another victim on Lakeshore.

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A minute of silence.

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Alan sings for solidarity.

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Jonas’ dad makes a few remarks. He says that we should all take care. However, the difference between careless cars and bikes is that the cars will always win, regardless of fault. He did note that the person who killed Jonas ran a red light.

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This has been a difficult week for cyclists in the city, with three dead and another in Markham. There will be other ghost bike rides this coming Sunday and Wednesday. The media was present tonight.

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His parents.

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With the recent, dense spate of deaths due to traffic, there are finally calls in the mainstream media for something to be done.

It remains to be seen if the city is serious about Vision Zero. Just throwing more money at it is not going to work.

First step would be to change the membership of PWIC. Second would be to make it easier to reduce speed limits. Too many pedestrians and cyclists are dying on our streets.

This is aside from the fact that we have been asking for improvements at this particular intersection since 2011, with a formal proposal submitted to the city in 2014.

Condolences to family and friends of Jonas Mitchell. Thanks to those who came to tonight’s memorial.

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Video ny Mike Whitla:

 

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Today was another of our annual rides with Sarah Doucette and company to review bike infrastructure in Ward 13. This year we changed things up a bit, and collaborated with Ward 14 to address issues at the intersections between Lakeshore Blvd and Colborne Lodge, Parkside, and Ellis. We gathered at the northwest corner of Colborne Lodge and Queensway for a group shot.

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We were fortunate to have representation from all three levels of government. From left to right, David (Ward14), Councillor Perks, Bhutila Karpoche (NDP Candidate for Parkdale-High Park), Eva (Ward 14), Shawn Dillon (Manager, Cycling Infrastructure, City of Toronto), Councillor Doucette, Arif Virani (MP, Parkdale-High Park), me (Ward 13) and Janet Joy (Ward 13).  In front, the Virani boys.

Janet Joy taking her selfie version of the group picture.

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and here is that selfie:

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(image source)

 

Shawn giving us an update on the plans for a section of the MGT where Xavier Morgan was killed. The question was why the temporary barrier had not been improved. The answer was that there was a comprehensive study done, and several intersections along the MGT will be fully redesigned. Construction is due to start sometime in the fall, and this might mean that parts of the MGT will require detour routing for a period of time.

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At this point, Gord and Bhutila had to leave, but not before they got a picture with my bike.

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Our first destination is Colborne Lodge and Lakeshore. Here Arif guides his boys across the Queensway, followed by the rest of us.

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Here we are at the south side of the intersection. This was the site of a serious collision between a cyclist and car just last week.

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One item of good news is that the northbound crossing for cyclists has had its bike signal retimed to give you 15s to cross before it turns yellow. We were told that this was done remotely on May 22, and then reconfirmed by a site visit on May 24. This video shows the change. The outer frame is video taken in May 2011. The inset was taken this week.

It is ironic that this retiming (which was originally requested in 2011) was done just this week. We don’t know if this change was triggered by the recent near fatal collision (although that involved a southbound cyclist on the west side of the intersection and a car that ran a red light), or by the timing of this audit ride.

Shawn also informed us that during 2018 we will be getting sharrows on both the east and west side of this intersection to indicate to cyclists where to cross, and to make the northbound crossing more apparent to both cyclists and motorists.

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One other smaller point is that the bicycle signal on the northeast corner is not aligned properly with the bike lane that continues under the bridge, and  it should be moved by installing a longer mounting arm. This has been recommended, but the timeline on this change is not clear.

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We asked for no right turn on red for westbound traffic on Lakeshore, but Shawn said that this would be “a major intervention” and would not be approved.

Next, onto Parkside.

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Just east of Parkside is this intersection between a parking lot entrance and the MGT with no signage for either cars or cyclists.

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We actually biked a little past Parkside in error and so here we are headed back.

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Now at the south side, looking at this very complicated intersection.

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The first step in crossing is to take a crosswalk to a large triangular island.

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After alighting on the island, you sill have to cross two more signalized crosswalks, and then finally a turning lane for high speed traffic to and from Parkside.

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This yield sign on the turning lane on the northwest corner was installed at the request of the Ward 14 bike advocacy group.

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However, it should be repositioned, as you can see that it is not visible until the last minute. Here is a shot from under the bridge, roughly where a southbound driver would be looking.

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David from Ward 14 points out the other yield sign on the northeast corner.

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The concept of cars yielding to pedestrians is inconsistent with the sign directing pedestrians to wait for a gap.

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Now back at the south side of Ellis and Lakeshore, which has been the subject of many past ward audit rides.

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Shawn promised that a northbound cyclist crossing similar to the one at Colborne Lodge will be installed this year (2018). Note that this was promised to us two years ago on a similar audit ride.  This will help reduce the number of hazardous crossings by cyclists cutting diagonally across the intersection.

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He also said that there is an ongoing effort to better coordinate between different units within transportation to streamline changes to road and bike infrastructure.

Here we go across the intersection, nice and slow as pedestrians.

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Here is the major safety hazard at this intersection. Pedestrians get stranded on this tiny triangular island on the northwest corner that is formed by a right turn lane from southbound Ellis to westbound Lakeshore.

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This point has been brought up in the past:

Sarah reiterates that this has been approved, but the funding was supposed to come from section 37 money associated with the condo development on the northeast corner of Lakeshore and Windermere. If her staff can’t track down the original agreement with the developer (which has changed in the interim) then she will get this inserted into the capital budget.

Additionally, the bike lanes on Ellis between Queensway and Lakeshore have been approved but this is held up by “signal timing issues”.

In the meantime, many families will continue to struggle with poor access, especially to the Sunnyside Bike Park.

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Another small point about the forthcoming northbound cyclists’ crossing on the east side: the curbcut where you might land if you go up on the sidewalk is not orientated in the correct direction.

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Shawn’s response was that legally you should continue on the street north on Ellis and then turn right into the driveway, but I can’t see kids on bikes wanting to do this.

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Sarah, Eva, David, and Janet Joy discussing a few last points with Shawn.

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At the end of the ride, we have several specific things that have been promised to us this year:

  • Sharrows on both sides of the intersection at Colborne Lodge.
  • Construction along the MGT near the Legion where Xavier Morgan was killed, including a permanent barrier.
  • Installation of a barrier along the sidewalks under the bridges at Parkside. This is intended for pedestrians, but in practice bikes also take the sidewalk here.
  • Installation of a northbound cyclists’ crossing at Ellis, making the intersection similar to Colborne Lodge.

Things that will be “looked into”

  • repositioning of yield signs at Parkside and Lakeshore.
  • signage for the offramp to the Budapest Park parking lot where it crosses the MGT.
  • redesigning the curb cut on the northeast corner of Lakeshore and Ellis when that northbound cyclists’ crossing goes in.

Thanks to everyone who came out this morning. Thanks to Shawn who spent a good deal of his morning with us, and to Sarah who stayed until the very end.

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Today was the first anniversary of Xavier Morgan’s death on Lakeshore Blvd. A number of us gathered by his ghost bike to mark the occasion. IMG_8755

When we arrived in the late afternoon, it was apparent that others had already added a few items to the memorial location.

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A short human chain to remember what was done at the ghost bike installation.

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and just a reminder that families are using this route.

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The city responded to Xavier’s death by adding temporary barriers and sandbags, but they are looking the worse for wear, and nothing else has happened in the interim.

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We can do better than this.

Thanks to Janet Joy who put out the call, and all those who showed up.

Update: Janet Joy’s photos here.

 

 

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Today was the memorial ride for Douglas Crosbie, who was killed last Wednesday morning, on the same day as the Ride of Silence. At Bloor and Spadina, there was quite a large turnout for a ride that was scheduled during the workday.

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Joey makes some announcements to get us organized.

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Lining up on Bloor, headed east.

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And off we go, Geoffrey and Joey in the lead.

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A bit of tricky business getting the ghost bike through the bollards under Soldier’s Tower.

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Through the corner of campus.

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Behind Queen’s Park.

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We were thankful to have several officers who corked major intersections for us.

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Today we owned Wellesley.

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Turning south on Sackville.

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Now east on Dundas.

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Sharrows on the bridge over the Don. These turn into bike lanes along Dundas past Broadview.

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Bike lanes on Dundas. Just lines of paint, though.

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Approaching the crash site at Jones.

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Photos and flowers had already been left by friends and family.

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Installing the ghost bike.

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The banner, ironically blocking the bike lane for the moment. It is just a dashed line at this point, meaning that it can be used legally as a right turn lane.

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A minute of silence.

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Douglas’ wife, Christine talks with Joey, and then to the media.

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Another senseless death, in a city that is not serious about Vision Zero.

Here is a Toronto Star editorial that was published yesterday: “Toronto’s ‘Vision Zero’ plan to reduce traffic deaths has had zero impact so far”

Thanks to everyone who came out to the ride.

Deepest condolences to family and friends.

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Update:

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