Archive for the ‘Advocacy’ Category

Screen Shot 2017-09-28 at 9.05.57 PMSparked by some of the reaction to the recent bike count, I thought it would be fun to look at a particular time segment (8:40 am to 9 am on Tuesday) with peak bike traffic, and this time count the cars.

In this particular segment, there were 237 bikes east bound (in the above image, the east bound bikes are going from lower right to upper left). During the same 20 minutes, I counted 162 cars. At first glance, it doesn’t seem to make sense since it looks like there are more cars on the road than bikes. However, in this image there are five bikes leading up to Brunswick and only four cars, with the bikes taking up much less room. An earlier count by Bells on Bloor indicated that about 80% of the cars during rush hour are singly occupied. This means that more people are being moved through the intersection by bikes than cars.

Put another way, even if the bike lanes were to be removed, and then two lanes of car traffic in the rush hour direction restored, if we were to move twice as many cars in the 20 minutes (a very generous assumption since some traffic is delayed by cars turning, etc), this would still be less than the number of people moved by the cars plus bike lane combination.

More food for thought….

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Screen Shot 2017-09-28 at 3.04.23 AMThe Bloor bike lane pilot project was installed last summer to some fanfare. This fall, City Council will consider whether or not to make them permanent. It has been stated from the beginning by the Mayor that the decision on whether to keep them will be data driven, and indeed there has been an unprecedented amount of study done on the bike lanes, including traffic counts, and various measures of economic impact. The first hurdle for the bike lanes is the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee (PWIC) meeting on October 18, and as that date approaches, both advocates and opponents of the bike lane are gearing up.

Yesterday’s CBC news had an article that mentioned some of the lobbying for and against. One of the issues that is always brought up is the question of how many cyclists are using the bike lane. Councillor Mammolitti was quoted as saying he wants a list of names of those riding in the lanes.

“I think that it’s the same people that just keep going in a circle just to be counted,” he said at the Sept. 19 public works meeting.

In addition, Denzil Minnan-Wong tweeted the following:

Screen Shot 2017-09-27 at 8.25.22 PM

in response to an article in the Toronto Star that said that the Bloor bike lanes are increasing the number of cyclists.  Unfortunately, both Minnan-Wong and Mammolitti are on PWIC. (Correction: D M-W is no longer on PWIC, but one can anticipate that Stephen Holiday will vote the same way that D M-W would.)

The city has cited a number of 4500 cyclists a day using the bike lanes, whereas various counts done by citizen groups such as Bells on Bloor and Cycle Toronto have come up with higher numbers.

Over the last week, 20 Bells on Bloor volunteers analyzed a video record of cyclists on Bloor at about Brunswick Ave, and for the first time, a full 24 hour count was done over five consecutive weekdays.

The results are in and the data show that over 6000 cyclists use the Bloor Bike Lanes on weekdays. A slightly deeper dive into the data shows some interesting trends. Here is a chart of the hourly variation, averaged over the five days.


You can see that at the peak periods, there are over 600 cyclists an hour that pass by this point. Additionally during the entire daylight period, the minimum number of cyclists is over 200 an hour.

As one of the volunteers in the video analysis, I was assigned 6 am to 10 am on one of the days, and I was amused to see myself pass by during my commute. ( I was running a bit late that morning).

Screen Shot 2017-09-24 at 1.18.06 PM

The other things I noticed during the four hours:

  • I saw 12 total cargo bikes or bikes with trailers (including myself) (out of about 1400 bikes)
  • I only saw 5 sidewalk cyclists. I don’t have any data on whether this is a decrease from before the bike lanes were installed, but the number was lower than I expected.

The complete press release is here

BellsonBloor Bike Count Media Release FINAL Sept 28, 2017

and here is a sample video segment.

Metro News Coverage

Update: a great piece on iBikeTO by fellow blogger Herb.

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Emily Sharon Shields was struck by a car near her home in Oshawa Ontario, and died several days later of her injuries. Today was her memorial ride. Since the crash site was some distance from downtown Toronto, most of us elected to take Go transit to Oshawa. We were joined by Judy, an Oshawa resident who knew the deceased.


Getting ready to go in the Go station parking lot.


and off we go.



A bike lane!


At the crash site.


Family and friends had already made a memorial next to the spot on the sidewalk where she died.


After some discussion with the family, it was decided to move most of this material aside temporarily, and then to put the ghost bike on the same spot.





After a minute of silence, Emily’s sister said a few words.


The banner.


Transferring decorations over to the ghost bike.



The ghost bike.


Someone was kind enough to take a picture of all the riders.


Just as we prepared to depart, the skies opened up.


A brief break in the rain while we rode along the river trail on the way back to the station.


and then the deluge


Warm, if not quite dry, on the Go train.


Slightly more than the allowed number of bikes in this vestibule.


Thanks to Joey and Geoffrey for organizing today’s ride, as well as everyone who rode. Special shout out to Dave, who at this moment is probably still riding on his way back to town.

Our thoughts and prayers are with Emily’s family and friends.

Some video from today’s ride

Joey’s pictures of the ride are here.

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Tonight was the annual Volunteer Appreciation Event for Cycle Toronto. This year they decided to make it a pot luck picnic at the beach. Given that Toronto Island just reopened to the public, the venue was changed to Hanlan’s Point Beach.

Here we gather for the line up to the ferry.



Lots of bikes on the ferry.


Peaceful riding on the island.


Joan arrives in style.


More than enough food, and beverages were provided.


We were on the clothing required part of the beach.


Calvin worked hard to get this bonfire going.


Chris, the recumbent guy, was one of two brave enough to go for a dip.


Obligatory sunset pic.


Mark, Kevin and Joan thank the volunteers for all their hard work this past year.


Group shot for instagram.


It’s getting darker now, and some of us start packing up to make the 9:00 pm ferry.


Thanks to Cycle Toronto for what turned out to be a pretty idyllic evening among friends.



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32 is not zero

Friends and Families for Safe Streets has been holding a series of vigils for victims of road violence this summer during the last Tuesday of each month, at the Peace Garden in Nathan Phillips Square. Today was the second such vigil, and the first one that I was able to attend. What breaks my heart is that the last one was called “27 is not zero”, and now a month later, we are up to 32 deaths by car.

Kasia Briegmann-Samson gets things started, standing in front of 32 pairs of shoes.


Several people came forward to talk about a specific victim. Kasia noted that today was close to the day when her husband Tom Samson would have turned 40.


32 is not zero



For those who are interested, the next vigil will be August 22, 2017, rain or shine. Thanks to the organizers of today’s event.

We will continue to remember all those who have died on the mean streets of Toronto, and we will push to make those streets safer for everyone.

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DSC05668The driver that hit and ran after killing Adam Excell pled guilty to a charge of dangerous driving, and was sentenced today. The sentence was 4 years, with an additional six years driving ban.  While the family was understandably upset with the brevity of the driving ban, it should be noted that the sentencing for offences of this type are slowing increasing. In the case of Peter Kang, the drunk driver who was apprehended after a police chase was sentenced to 7 years plus a ten year driving ban. In the case of Adrian Dudzicki, the driver got two years in jail and a 15 year driving ban. In each of these cases, the charges laid and the detailed circumstances of the collisions varied.

We also await justice in the case of Immanuel Sinnadurai who was killed by a driver who was street racing in 2014, and other subsequent cases.

UPDATE: read the victim impact statements from the family of Adam Excell here.

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Cycle Toronto organized a “Yonge Loves Bikes” ride on a gloriously sunny Saturday. The ride started at Heath and Yonge, just a little north of St. Clair so that we could all look forward to riding down the big hill. This is in contrast to last year, when we had to bike up the hill.


It’s always interesting to see some of the fine machines that show up. This is TBN member Roy’s Air Friday, to which he has added e-assist.


He also locked out the flexing of the Ti beam with this bracket.


Sam with one of his bikes. He says he has been trimming down the size of his fleet.


It turns out that this big orange Bullitt with a trailer belongs to Cycle Toronto.


The combination of horizontal dropouts, disc brakes, hub gear and tight fender line is going to make repairing a flat on the rear a real pleasure. (I hope I didn’t jinx things by pointing this out). Note the Shimano e-assist and and electronic shifting.


Sam et al tell us how the ride is going to be organized.


We line up behind some police bikes.


And off we go, turning south on Yonge.




Regroup after the steepest part of the hill.


Is that “V” for victory, or a peace sign?


At Davenport.




Approaching Bloor St.



South of Bloor now.


Here comes that Imperial Star Destroyer the Cycle Toronto portable mothership.


Sorry this one is blurry.


Yonge/Dundas. At this point, the police escort peeled off.


At Shuter.


Turning at the foot of Yonge St.


Along the MG trail.


Turning into the southernmost part of Sherbourne Commons.


Group picture, without the lake in the background.


Thanks to Cycle Toronto for organizing, and all the rides who rode with us.


Once again this year, there will not be a Bells on Bloor ride as that volunteer group is focusing on the Bloor bike lane pilot campaign. There will be a Bells on Danforth ride on June 24, but regrettably, I’ll be out of town that day.

and of course today there were other rides going on, such as the Ride to Conquer Cancer, and the world naked bike ride, which just happened to go by my office while I was composing this blog entry.




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