Archive for the ‘Advocacy’ Category

Tonight was the 9th annual Ride of Silence in Toronto, one of 390 such rides worldwide, held to remember all cyclists who have been killed while riding.

Here we gather at Matt Cohen Park.


There were about 45 of us lined up at the start of the ride.


East on Bloor St.




Now south on Yonge.


Many sections of Yonge were down to one lane due to condo construction.


Approaching the Peace Garden at City Hall.


Ready for reading of names of cyclists who have died in Toronto since 2010.


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(photo credit Cycle Toronto)

Then a minute of silence for the fallen.


(photo credit Geoffrey Bercarich)

Afterwards, most of the cyclists volunteered to lie down to represent just a fraction of the number of pedestrians and cyclists who die annually on the streets of Toronto.


Since the last ride of silence, five cyclists have died in Toronto, including one on the morning of today’s ride. Additionally, at least 15 pedestrians have been killed so far this calendar year (excluding those killed in the North York attack).

They will not be forgotten.

Today’s list:

March 2018   Dalibor Kovac

Dec 2017     Daryl Craig

Oct 2017     David Delos Santos

July 2017    Gary Sim

June 2017    Xavier Morgan

Oct 2016     Donn Woods

July 2016    David Victor Pierce

June 2016    Steve Hancock

Oct 2015       Hardeep Singh Patra

Aug 2015       Luke Mazzocca

June 2015         Adam Excell

June 2015                Peter Kang 

May 2015                Roger duToit  

Oct 2014                Edouard Le Blanc

Aug  2014                Immanuel Sinnadurai

Nov 2013              Adrian Dudzicki 

Oct  2013            Carla Warrilow

Sept  2013            Sue Trainor

April  2013            Henry Mejia

Nov 2012             Tom Samson

Nov 2012                Mike Rankin

Sept 2012               Pete Cram

Aug 6 2012          Joe Mavec

Nov 7 2011          Jenna Morrison

Aug-11                 Jack Roper

Nov 2010             Vicente Sering 

Sep-10                 Nigel Gough

A fuller list is available at the ARC website.

Joey Schwartz’s video

Toronto Star: Nearly two years since Toronto announced Vision Zero, pedestrian and cyclist deaths are not declining

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DSC05752Today was a die in at City Hall, followed by a ghost bike ride for a cyclist that died last Tuesday in Don Mills. The die in was organized by Friends and Families for Safe Streets, timed to draw attention to the fact that so far 16 people have died in traffic this year, and that City Council is voting on a proposal to improve the public realm for the stretch of Yonge St. between Sheppard and Finch, with improvements for cyclists and pedestrians.


My photos of the die in are posted at Dandyhorse. Immediately after the die in, the ghost bike riders departed for Don Mills. The planned route was about 22 km from City Hall.



On Bay.


Signalling a left turn.


Near the Distillery District.


Along Lakeshore.



Darkness falls.


The woman to the right (I’m sorry I didn’t get her name) was absolutely determined to complete the ride. She told us that she was from Iran, and she had been arrested for riding a bike as a woman.

At the crash site.



A minute of silence.


The ghost bike.


Getting ready to depart.


A short break to warm up, and to get some carbs.


Thanks to everyone who rode with us tonight. Condolences to the family and friends of the deceased.


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(image source: Toronto Star article)

Speeding driver acquitted in death of teenage cyclist

A Toronto judge cited a “lack of evidence” when he found driver Johan Vaz not guilty of various driving-related criminal offences.

story in the Toronto Star. 

A Toronto police collision reconstruction expert testified the BMW driver was travelling 130 kilometres per hour, and Vaz just under 99 km/h, far exceeding the speed limit of 60, Nakatsuru said, summarizing the evidence.

Vaz’s act of speeding was “not acceptable but does not depart in a marked way from a standard of care expected in this situation,” Nakatsuru said. “The Crown therefore failed to prove the essential element of fault to the offence of dangerous driving beyond a reasonable doubt.”


Absolutely sickening.

Link to our memorial ride in August 2104.

Renewed sympathy to family and friends.

Update: it was pointed out that the driver that was acquitted was the Honda driver who was allegedly racing with the BMW that actually killed Immanuel. The BMW driver was sentenced a year ago.



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Scarborough Cycles is a community based program that is promoting cycling in the east end of the city. They have been running programs for three years now, including safe cycling workshops, group rides, and DIY drop in bike repair. They are currently based at Accesspoint Danforth, on Danforth just east of Victoria Park. They advertised a winter group ride, and I thought that I’d join in.

Here is our group at the start of the ride. Program manager Marvin is in blue, together with three of their youth volunteers, and Linda, who came over from midtown to join in as well.


Here we go down Victoria Park. The pavement is in pretty bad shape, but I’ve seen potholes all over the city after this particularly cold winter.



Downhill towards the lake.


On the Martin Goodman Trail, just west of Balmy Beach.


Working our way around one of the many remaining patches of black ice.


As we approached Woodbine Beach, we took the opportunity to check out the Winter Stations. Some of them were not finished yet, as the official opening is not until this Monday. We liked this Pussy Hat. The extensions made for nicely padded seating.


The next one had some pivoting cones on stilts. I was a bit disappointed that they weren’t designed to make noise; the cones were just hollow.



Here’s a closeup of one of their program bikes: a nicely kitted out Simcoe city bike.


Could have used a fat bike today.


The next exhibit was still under construction.


Regrettably, we didn’t have time to check the two or three remaining stations. We decided to head back up the hill, taking advantage of the Woodbine bike lane. Here we are riding through the infill neighbourhood that used to be the site of the Woodbine race track.


Marvin in the lead.


Here we are on Dixon Rd, which is the short east-west connector to the Woodbine bike lanes. They end one block north of Queen St.


Some green paint has been laid down near some of the intersections. Here the green paint is “protecting” us from the cars to our left that are wanting to turn right.


Then a quick ride east along the Danforth back to home base.


Marvin got this shot of me riding sweep.


The community hub has many services, including a walk in medical clinic, education workshops, settlement services, and youth activities. Here are just a few shots of the interior of the building, which is a converted warehouse.  The green roof has some gardens for produce, herbs, etc.


This shot looking down at the first floor shows the movable walls that are used to reconfigure rooms to accommodate events of different sizes. The place was buzzing, with a Bengali language activity in one area, and a seed swap in another.


Scarborough Cycles has big plans for 2018. Last year they provided about 1300 services, while they were running from May to December. This year they will be running all year round (hence the winter group ride), they have a second bike hub at the Birchmount Bluffs Neighbourhood Centre, and they will be opening a third bike hub. As Marvin pointed out to the audience at this year’s Reading Line, there is only one bike shop in Scarborough, and so these bike hubs provide an accessible and essential service to the community.

Thanks to Marvin for showing me around, and for organizing today’s ride.



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Today was Cycle Toronto’s annual Coldest Day of the Year Ride. Unlike some years’ past, today it was genuinely cold at about -8°C, although it was not too windy. The ride was planned partially along the Danforth to show support for bike lanes on Danforth.

A small group of us rode in from High Park as a feeder to the main group.


Before we got going, I had to take a picture of John’s fancy Michelin snow tires.


And we’re off.


We picked up a few more riders at Bloor and Spadina before riding through downtown.


Across the viaduct. You can see that they remove the bollards during the winter for snow clearance, which is too bad.


As we pulled up to Danforth and Logan, I was impressed by the size of the gathered crowd. Here Jared makes a few announcements at the beginning.


On the other hand, Honey does not look impressed.


Councillors Fletcher and McMahon show their support for bike lanes on Danforth. Mary Margaret admitted that she doesn’t ride in the winter, but she wore an appropriate toque.


Staging the large number of riders at the start.


Pause at Broadview.


Across the Viaduct.



Paused at Sherbourne.


Down Sherbourne.


We are riding safely under the speed limit.


Stuart and Mark.


Along Richmond.



In the above picture, just to the left of the woman in red, you can see someone with a massive pair of orange pogies. I got a better shot of them at the start. They are by Dogwood Designs.


Kids were along for the ride as well.




This fellow from Whitby was part of a group from Durham County who came in to ride with us and to show their support.


Along King, being careful of the streetcar tracks.


At our destination: Betty’s.


Thanks to Cycle Toronto for organizing the ride, and to everyone else for riding along.

Update: CBC coverage

Rob Z’s photos on Flickr

Coverage in Dandyhorse Magazine by Rob Z.

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This past Tuesday, Cycle Toronto invited people from Etobicoke for a meeting to update us about what the City of Toronto has planned for the cycling network over the next three years. It was also a chance to meet others, and to network.


Here Katie Whitman from the City cycling unit updates us on the plans for the next three years. When I get her slide deck, I will update this post, but my notes say that for Ward 13 and parts nearby, we can look forward to:

  • 2018: Road markings at Jane and Annette, Runnymede at Bloor (already done?) and St. Clair; completion of the Lakeshore Cycle Track between Norris and First.
  • 2019: Detailed study of a Runnymede to Scarlett Rd connection. This would be tied into the larger project of the Scarlett Rd bridge and intersection reconfiguration.
  • 2020: Eglinton Jane to Weston connection.

She said that the list of projects for each Ward were on their website. However, I found the information on the site was confusing and incomplete. For example, here is their map of Ward 13:

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by cross indexing to their list, I see:

  • #30 Dundas – (Royal York to Scarlett) and St Clair – (Runnymede to Scarlett) Proposed Bike lanes
  • #48 Lambton Baby Point Neighbourhood Connections, Proposed Quiet Street Routes
  • #8 Bloor – (Keele to Dundas Street West); Major Corridor Study – Proposed Bike Lanes or Cycle Tracks
  • there is no information on 610
  • 611 might correspond to the intersection improvements at the Lakeshore for which we have been advocating for four years, but again they aren’t on any list.

Pamela Gough, TDSB Trustee talked about some of the initiatives that she has been involved with, including safe routes to school, Biking to School Day, Biking to School Week, and the TDSB task force on Active Transportation. All pretty words, but they don’t address safety issues caused by the enormous number of people driving their kids to school. I had a side conversation with her afterwards, and I told her that in Japan, driving kids to elementary schools is illegal. I didn’t suggest that this would work here, but I did say that if the TDSB was serious about pedestrian safety, they should get behind VRU. I will be following up with her.

Darnell Harris talked about some of the issues of getting around the Black Creek area.


He asked us to consider more broadly the issue of non motorized mobility, rather than cycle tracks. He reinforced this message by showing slides of people in motorized wheelchairs using bike lanes.

There were also several presentations from the South Etobicoke Cycling Committee that seem pretty active. Dave talked about the need for bike lanes along the Queensway, arguing that bike infra should be along streets where there are destinations, such as restaurants, No Frills, and even Ikea.  Someone else talked about their seven year fight to get a bike rack by the LCBO in Sobey’s plaza. She eventually escalated this issue to the top brass at LCBO, and as a result, the LCBO will provide bike parking for all LCBO’s where it is possible to provide it. (Many LCBO’s are on leased land, and the landowner might not agree in some cases).

During the brief networking session, I talked with Johnny from the Ward11 Pedestrian and Cycling Committee that was put together by Councillor Nunziata. I will be following up with that group so that our two wards can collaborate on connections across the our boundary at the north end of our ward.

Cycle Toronto posted some pictures from the evening here:


Katie Whitman’s slides listing bike projects for Etobicoke district for 2018-2020 are here.

CI&P – Katie Wittmann – Etobicoke Cycle TO Advocacy Summit Presentation

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City TV just did a short piece on clearing snow from bike lanes.

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For my portion, I was interviewed for about 10 minutes on all manner of subjects related to winter biking, including what to wear (just regular winter clothes are enough), what bike equipment to have (fenders are good, and lights. They took close ups of my studded tires, but I tried to make the point that 90% of the winter, roads are clear of snow and ice.) etc. I didn’t really grok to the fact that they were focusing on what the city could do better. When they asked that question, I talked about the need for more infra, and to make a connected bike network.

At least they included my plug for the Bloor bike lanes. Oh, and I had the foresight to remove my helmet mirror so that I only looked 90% Fred.

Update: I posted some pictures of good and bad bike lane snow clearance at Dandyhorse.

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