Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Advocacy’ Category

Yeah, it’s cold

Yesterday and today, we’ve been having a bit of a cold snap, with the overnight temperatures reaching about -20°C. It was cold enough that I bought out my really cold riding gear for the first time this winter.

It was about -16°C when I rode into work, and I found that I got overheated a bit. On the way back home, there was a bitter headwind so I was glad that I was dressed the way I was.

This time, I guess the seal around my nose for my North45 balaclava was not quite perfect, so there was a bit of fogging and icing on my glasses by the end of a 45 minute trip. Still much better than a standard balaclava./

For the record, my clothing was:

  • Winter pants by Makers and Riders, although this pair by Eddie Bauer is decent. (anything fleece lined and relatively wind proof will do.)
  • wool undershirt
  • wool shirt
  • Winter jacket. Mine is by Arcteryx, but I can’t recommend it as I’ve had to send it back to get the front zipper repaired, a process that took months.
  • Woolie Boolie socks
  • Boots (I use flat pedals)
  • North45 balaclava.
  • earflaps on helmet.
  • Pogies, and medium weight gloves.

On Thursday evening, I attended a winter biking workshop given by Cycle Toronto.

Our two presenters were Rick and Dave.

Here Rick is talking about the importance of regular cleaning of your bike, along with re lubing after the clean. I do the same thing roughly weekly, rinsing the salt off of the drivetrain with a garden sprayer, filled with hot water.

If you look closely, you will note the homemade mudflap on the front fender that keeps your drive train cleaner. A front mudflap also keeps your feet drier in the rain.

They had a lot of good advice. They promised a bunch of links after their talk, and when those are distributed, I will add them to this blog post.

Some of the talk was about not purchasing a lot of expensive gear for winter riding. In that spirit, I did some experimenting with a home-brew solution to fogging glasses. Here I cut part of the bottom off of an N95 mask so that breath would escape out the bottom.

Here it is combined with a balaclava. (a reminder that my favourite is this wool one from TST)

Here is a picture riding with this combination, and there is no fogging of the glasses.


BTW, CycleTO has finally announced this year’s version of the “Coldest Day of the Year Ride”. It will be Sunday February 12 at 11:30, when the forecast is for a balmy 0°C. The ride starts at Sumch-Shuter Parkette, and it looks like it will go west on Shuter, north on Sherbourne, and then east across the viaduct and along Danforth to East Lynn Park.

Hoping that the temporary ramps on Danforth will be OK, as there has been a repeated problem with one of them having the edge of the metal ramp being bent up by snow plows.


At any rate, hats off to all those who were out biking yesterday or this morning. Know that you were probably biking on the real coldest day of the year.

Also note that the International Winter Bike to Work Day is this Friday. Somewhat confusingly, there is also something planned for Saturday according to this website.


Read Full Post »

Update:

The midtown Yonge St bike lane pilot goes in front of the Infrastructure and Environment committee this morning. Yonge4All organized a rally at City Hall at 9, timed so that it would be just before the IEC meeting started. Robin Richardson was our MC.

She reminded us that Yonge4All is a community group that brings together many different groups with the common interest in making Yonge St a safer, complete street for everyone.

Our first speaker was Councillor Brad Bradford. He reflected on the positive effect of the Danforth bike lanes on his ward. He also emphasized that broad consultation and working with all sides is the way to get these types of projects done. He has been impressed with the work that had gone into this initiative.

Next, urbanist Ken Greenberg says that Yonge St is emblematic of our city. He described the unfortunate transformation of the city by the automobile over many decades, and was glad to see this trend slowly reversing. He has been involved with both Reimagining Yonge and YongeTOmorrow, and described the midtown pilot as an important missing piece.

Councillor Amber Morley was happy to see this initiative, and hopes that similar things will be happening in her ward of Etobicoke-Lakeshore. Such a sea change from former Councillor Mark Grimes.

Toronto Centre Councillor Chris Moise is also supportive, and reminds us that the Bayview bike lanes are also being considered today.

Stephen Job represents a group of property developers. He said that reducing parking requirements enables the creation of more housing, and that people will only consider such developments if they see that cycling and transit are real and safe alternatives to the car.

Finally, Councillor Diane Saxe led us in a rousing round of questions and answers where the crowd response was always “Bike Lanes!” She was presented with that green binder, which symbolized the more than 8000 signatures on the petition.

Finally, a group picture of some of the leaders of Yonge4All.

In the interest of balanced reporting, I will note that there was also a smaller crowd of anti bike lane people off to the side.

Thanks to all the people that are staying for the day to give deputations (over 80 people have registered to speak). I’ll report back with updates when they are available.

You can follow some of what is happening in this twitter thread.

Update: Emotions run high during Yonge Street bike lane debate (Toronto Star)

Read Full Post »

Yonge 4 All is a community based group that has been campaigning to make the bike lanes on Yonge Street permanent. To be specific, the bike lanes that have been installed as a pilot project between Bloor St and Davisville are under consideration to become permanent. The Infrastructure and Environment Committee will be considering them on Monday as agenda item IE 1.4. If you click on the item, you will see that:

The General Manager, Transportation Services recommends that:  

1. City Council approve the ActiveTO Yonge Street Cycling Network Expansion project installed in 2021 currently in place as permanent and in doing so, authorize the necessary by-law amendments to retain the following locations as a permanent installation:

a. Yonge Street: 150 metres north of Davisville Avenue to 100 metres south of Bloor Street (cycle tracks, Ward 11 and 12).

2. City Council approve the ActiveTO Bayview Cycling Network Expansion project installed in 2021 currently in place as permanent and in doing so, authorize the necessary by-law amendments to retain the following locations as a permanent installation:

a. Bayview Avenue: River Street to Front Street East (multi-use trail, Ward 13)

3. City Council amend cycling, traffic and parking regulations required in Chapter 886, Chapter 903, Chapter 910 and Chapter 950, as generally described in Attachment 2-Technical Amendments for By-law accuracy.

There are also links to the background study that shows that cycling traffic has increased significantly during the period of the pilot, and impact on motor traffic has been minimal.


There has also been quite a bit of coverage about the bike lanes:

If you wish to send a message to either the mayor and IEC about this issue, the committee will be accepting submissions until 5 pm on this Friday.

You can email IEC directly at: iec@toronto.ca, and use the subject line “My comments for 2023.IE1.4 on January 30, 2023 Infrastructure and Environment Committee”

Or you can use this handy link to write a letter to the Mayor and the members of the IEC.

Yonge 4 All will also be holding an event at Nathan Phillips Square on this Monday January 30 at 9 AM to symbolically present the mayor with a petition supporting the bike lanes, with over 8000 signatures.

If you want to read more about the long road to getting the Yonge bike lanes made permanent, Rob has an excellent summary on his blog.

Also bear in mind that in the longer term, there are also separate projects under consideration to put bike lanes between Finch and Sheppard [Transform Yonge], and restricting motor traffic on Yonge between College and Queen [YongeTOmorrow] (although the current proposal on the latter item only includes bike lanes as far south as Gerrard).

Update: as of this evening I see that 1021 emails or letters have been recorded on this item by the city clerk.

Read Full Post »

Another year gone by, another 8000 km or so. A record distance over the year, just a bit beyond what I did the past two years, despite the fact that I did fewer long rides. Cyclemeter says I’m a bit over 8500 km, whereas veloviewer gives a slightly smaller total.

January:

I took advantage of a cold snap to ride the clear ice on Grenadier Pond in the course of testing out some pants. I could hear the ice sing.

Local bike advocate Janet Joy Wilson took a new job in the Big Apple, so she invited a few of us along for a group ride to mark the occasion.

Late January was unusually cold, and so I ventured out to Toronto Island to ride on the ice in the canals, with a bit of crunchy snow on top.

February:

Lots of local protests in support of the freedom convoy in Ottawa disrupted traffic in the downtown area on weekends. Didn’t affect biking so much.

March:

TCBC organized a ride to show support for extending the Bloor bike lanes all the way into Mississauga. The group was small because the ride had been postponed due to weather at the last minute, but some cyclists showed up anyway. So we went ahead and rode out from Runnymede and were met with a group coming the other direction at the bridge over Etobicoke Creek.

The official ride on March 20 happened with a much larger group including Midori and I on the tandem.

April:

I made a quick trip out to Portland for a wedding, and also checked out two cargo bike shops that I missed during my last visit, one of which was Splendid Cycles.

Cycle Toronto organized a ride to celebrate the success of the bike lanes on Shaw St. We were joined by long time supporter Councillor Mike Layton.

May:

Bike for Mike 2002 had rainy weather, but nevertheless I had a good time, and it was for a good cause.

May the fourth was the perfect day for a Star Wars themed ride.

I explored a bit of the Uxbridge to Lindsay rail trail. Didn’t make it as far as Neverland.

The Ride of Silence was back in person for the first time in three years but I was not able to attend.

The first ghost bike ride of the year was for Joshua Okoeguale, a 16 year old who was killed in Oshawa.

The annual bike month group commute was back this year.

HPVDT had a chance to test their tandem bike at a wind tunnel at Western University.

June:

The annual fund raising bike ride on the Gardiner and DVP was rebranded the Ride for Brain Health. I was doing ride support with TBN as per usual, but I also met up with colleagues from my department at the beginning.

A quick trip to Hamilton to see a promotion of the Keddy Access Trail.

July:

I had a streak of continuous days of bike riding that stretched back to Boxing Day 2020, but somehow I forgot to ride on July 1, so my streak ended at 517 days.

A quick trip to Woodstock NY to go to a concert by Nexus percussion. Got in some riding by the Ashokan Reservoir. Got to see the stage where 4′ 33″ was premiered.

Got a Switch e-bike conversion. Initial impressions were positive.

A ghost bike ride in Hamilton for Brian Woods, who was killed riding to his work at Limeridge Mall.

Doing a little exploring by bike of an unimproved section of the Etobicoke Creek Trail.

Another Burlington to Niagara ride with TBN.

Mike Layton decides not to run for re-election. The cycling community in Toronto has lost one of its strongest advocates.

August:

A number of years ago, I was on an organized ride from Seattle to Vancouver, but due to a flat tire and other issues, I ended up completing the ride but leaving a gap of about 100 km. I went back this year to fill in that gap. It was punishingly hot, but there was ice cream at the end.

Some nice gravel riding on the left coast.

A ride to promote safety on Parkside Drive, and to protest police ticketing of cyclists in High Park.

A TBN ride to Lake Simcoe.

September:

Testing our tandem speedbike at Downsview.

The World Human Powered Speed Challenge was back this year after two years of cancellations. Unfortunately our tandem crashed and we did not set any records.

Cycle Toronto organized fund raising rides in different areas of the city. I rode with the Scarborough group.

October:

A night time march down Yonge St to promote road safety.

A gravel ride between Belwood and Luther Marsh.

A ride with TBN during peak fall colours.

Third ghost bike ride of the year, this time near Streetsville.

Pre Halloween ride with the Neon Riders.

Hallowe’en Bike Parade.

November:

Checking out another section of the G2G trail.

The annual ride to remember Road Traffic Victims. It was cold and windy.

A TBN ride from Hamilton to home.

Dammit, we couldn’t get through one year without a ghost bike installed in Toronto. RIP Kartik Saini.

December:

Another ride down Yonge St with Santa.

A pair of pogies arrived from a small company in Ukraine, naturally in the colours of Ukrainian Flag.


I’ll also note in passing that an updated map of all ghost bike locations in the GTA has been posted. Thanks to Ingrid Buday for her work on this.

For some year end coverage of some of the upgrades to bike infra and associated public consultations for future projects, visit Rob Z’s blog.

Also see this year end summary from David Shellnut, the Biking Lawyer.


Wishing you all a safe year for 2023, with plenty of tailwinds!

Read Full Post »

Today was the third annual ride down Yonge St with Santa, organized by the Toronto Community Bikeways Coalition to promote cycling infrastructure along Yonge St.

We are gathered at North York Centre. Here Rudolph is interviewing Santa for the media.

The gang’s all here so we can get ready to go.

I’ll note that Santa has a new ride this year, courtesy of Happy Fiets. His trailer has a trick set up that detects when you are slowing down, and then applies the brakes on the trailer so that you are not overrun.

Off we go.

Just after the most dangerous part of the entire ride: the 401 underpass.

Rudolph leads the way up from Hogg’s Hollow.

Santa is all smiles going up the hill this year.

Up the other incline from Lawrence.

We pause at Davisville where another group is waiting at the northern end of the Yonge cycle track.

Good to see Joe and Kay.

Also we are joined by Frosty the Snowman.

Starting up again from Davisville.

Here’s another one of those bus stop platforms. I was looking for a ramp, but of course in this case, they are not necessary since there is an adjacent cycle track.

Passing by the Kartik Saini ghost bike.

Another pause at the Summerhill LCBO.

Some refreshments and hot chocolate are on offer.

Alison from CycleTO is on message.

Dave of NRBI, and Arianne.

Frosty is revealed to be one of the Richardsons.

We turn west on Bloor. Here Santa is greeting the shoppers along this stretch.

We’ve turned south at the ROM.

Santa takes the lane.

Getting ready to cross at Armoury.

Headed to City Hall past the courthouse.

Here we are at Nathan Phillips Square.

Councillor Diane Saxe reminds us that there are votes coming up in the spring having to do with the bike lanes on Yonge.

Quite the cast of characters.

Santa and Rudolph.

Finally, Santa with all his reindeer.

Thanks once again to Albert and TCBC for organizing today’s ride, to Happy Fiets for providing rides for Santa, Rudolph and Frosty, to the marshalls who helped keep everyone safe, to Councillor Saxe who rode with us.

Thanks also to everyone who showed up, especially due to the overlap with the World Cup final. Have a Happy Holiday, and here’s hoping for a safe 2023 for everyone.

And as always, Bromptoning has a wonderful video of the whole ride.

Read Full Post »

Chainstay mounted kickstand

I’m a big fan of kickstands on my city bikes. My winter bike has not had one for a while, so I finally broke down and bought one. This particular bike didn’t look like it would be compatible with a mounting position just ahead of the rear wheel so I elected to get one that mounts off of the chainstay. In addition, the one that I chose also has an additional clamp that attaches to the seat stay for greater rigidity.

It looks like this model will fit a wide variety of bikes. However, in this particular case, since my bike has something coming down from the chain stay to mount the cable adjuster for the rear internal hub, there was a bit of interference with the kickstand mount.

A little early morning work with the Dremel.

Much better.

One of the things that I didn’t fully appreciate is that with a single sided kickstand, it is easy to roll the bike even with the kickstand down. Additionally, the rear mount eliminates any interference with the pedals.

This is in contrast to my plescher double legged stand on the pink bike, which is great, but once the stand is down, the bike cannot roll.

Mounted a flag for today’s ride with Santa. I haven’t used this flag since 2015.

For those joint us for the Cycling Good Cheer ride, I’ll see you either at North York Centre, or at the meet up at Bloor and Yonge.

Read Full Post »

Kartik was a 20 year old Sheridan College student from India who was killed by a pickup driver at Yonge and St. Clair on November 23. Many aspects of the tragedy are especially infuriating. Kartik was in the crosswalk crossing Yonge St on his way back from work. The driver who was westbound on St. Clair made an illegal right turn, hitting Kartik, and then dragging him under the truck for a further 30 meters. Eyewitnesses describe screaming at the driver to stop while this was happening. At the present time, the details are still under investigation and no charges have been laid.

Today was the ghost bike ride in his memory.

The crowd gathers at Bloor and Spadina.

Geoffrey talking to the media.

Many of the usual suspects in attendance. Here from left to right, Albert, John, Ingrid, and Faraz.

Bicycle Mayor Lanrick Bennett Jr., Tom Flood, Matthew and Dave.

Newly elected councillor Diane Saxe pledges to push for safety for cyclists and pedestrians at City Hall. She rides a bike to work.

Geoffrey thanks everyone for coming out on a cold and windy evening, announces the route, and gets us ready to line up in preparation for riding.

The ghost bike.

Lining up along Bloor, Joey and some Marshalls from the Bike Brigade in front.

Of we go.

Pause at the ROM.

At Bloor and Yonge.

Someone with more patience than I can count the number of cyclists. I think I missed about the first 25 in this video.

Now headed north on Yonge.

Approaching the crash site.

There is already a memorial here.

Installing the ghost bike.

Joey calls for a minute of silence.

Tino is writing a message.

The banner. We are thankful for Kasia’s attendance (to the right). Her husband, Tom Samson, was killed ten years to the day earlier than Kartik. We are still putting up ghost bikes.

Thanks to Geoffrey for making the ghost bike, Joey for leading the ceremony, and the Bike Brigade for marshalling tonight. Thanks also to everyone who either rode with us or met us at the crash site.

Deepest condolences to the family and friends of Kartik.

Updates:

Read Full Post »

Today is World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims. The Toronto event has moved around to highlight deficiencies in road traffic design in different neighbourhoods. This year’s event was in Scarborough, starting at Victoria Park subway station.

While riding there, I encountered these fine gentlemen on their hipster fixed gears.

Crossing the viaduct.

The Danforth bike lane was mostly in good shape, with the protected sections having been plowed, and the usual unplowed sections around bus stops.

However, things went south east of Dawes where the cycle tracks were a rough frozen mess, and we took the road the rest of the way to Vic Park. Thanks to Michael and David for slowing enough so that I could keep up.

Here we start to gather at Vic Park, and posters of victims were being handed out.

We remember Brian Woods.

We remember Joshua Okoeguale.

Our fearless leader Jess Spieker gets us organized, and tells us what this event is about. There are apparently 60 such gatherings today across North America so we are in good company.

She introduced MPP Doly Begum who has reintroduced the “Moving Ontario Safely Act” AKA vulnerable road user legislation. MPP Begum tells us about how her father was hit by a speeding driver and thus suffered life altering injuries.

She says that she is only asking for justice on behalf of the family and friends of all victims of road violence.

Now we head south towards Danforth.

At Victoria Park and Danforth, Jess asks the crowd how many collisions have occurred at this intersection over the past eight years. Various numbers are shouted out, but we are all shocked to hear that the real number was more than 1400.

She also points out that this is the boundary between two wards, with some bike infra (i.e. the bike lanes on Danforth) west of here, and absolutely nothing to the east (Crawford’s ward).

A little further east we pause across the street from Access Point where Marvin Macaraig runs Scarborough Cycles. He reiterates that it is frustrating that the only bike infra in the area is cut off east of Victoria Park, just a few blocks away.

A much better picture of the same stop courtesy of CycleTO, where you can actually Marvin just behind Jess (and me behind him taking the above picture).

Another pause where Jess tells us about some more collisions, and also points out a refugee island in the middle of the road that does nothing to slow cars, and is not connected to either side by a crosswalk.

Another stop, some more statistics about collisions at this intersection, and it is pointed out that these bollards are place to protect only property, not people.

Another stop. Why are there no crosswalks wherever there are TTC stops?

We remember Alex Amaro.

Kevin Rupasinghe tells us about he heard concerns about road safety while canvassing during his campaign for city council.

Next, the spot where Danforth makes a sweeping turn to the north. This is an especially dangerous intersection for pedestrians.

Finally a longer trek towards Birchmount. Kevin points out that there are no street lights on the south side, and when the sidewalk is not cleared, there are people walking on the roadway on that side in the dark.

Our final intersection at Birchmount. This is where 17 year old Nadia Mozumber was killed last year. The response from the city was a comment that drivers had to be more careful. Nothing about the road design that was only directed towards the flow of high speed traffic.

On the median, a note from the family.

Jess reads out a long list of victims of road violence. I know far too many of these names from ghost bike rides in past years.

Thanks to everyone who joined us on a cold, windy evening. Special thanks to the family members who also attended.

Thanks to Jess for her organization, her scouting of the route, and the gathering of statistics. Thanks also to Kevin and Marvin, and MPP Doly Begum for speaking. Thanks also to Cycle Toronto for their support of Friends and Families for Safe Streets.

Here are a few of the cyclists just starting their rides home. Hope everyone made it home safely.

Update: CTV news coverage (note that the photo is from the 2019 walk in North York)

A correction from Jess: 1450 is the number for the whole 2km stretch we walked (and those 1450 crashes caused 225 injuries and 2 fatalities). For just Vic Park, the intersection had 617 crashes since 2014, causing 61 injuries.

Still, 617 is a very high number for one intersection.

Read Full Post »

An 84 year old male cyclist was struck by the driver of a pick up truck on Oct 11, and died shortly later in hospital. He was struck on Loonlake Ave, just north of Bristol Rd in Mississuaga. Today a ghost bike was installed in his memory. Here is today’s group at the Streetsville GO station. We were joined by several people from the Port Credit and Streetsville Slow Roll groups.

Turning east in central Streetsville.

Joey joined us in Streetsville. He was waiting at the other parking lot for the Streetsville GO station.

He had spotted this memorial on Bristol on his way to the meeting point. However, we were told that these wreaths were for earlier deaths in a head on collision between two cars.

Here we are at the intersection of Loonlake and Blueheron.

A small memorial was spotted on the northeast corner, so we decided that the ghost bike would be on the same spot.

Group shot.

This little one was along for the ride as well.

The ghost bike.

Riding back to Streetsville.

We were not able to find out any more details on who the deceased was, other than what was reported in the initial stories about the crash. Deepest condolences to the family and friends of the deceased.

Thanks to everyone who came out today.

Update: Kevin’s photos from today.

Read Full Post »

Tonight was a rally for safer streets for pedestrians and cyclists, organized by many different community and advocacy groups. The rally started at Ramsden Park on Yonge, and walked down Yonge St to Yonge-Dundas Square. This poster lists the many organizations behind the rally.

There were several feeder rides to the rally. This is the group that started at the Jane subway station. Chris in the orange vest is our leader and we were joined by mayoral candidate Gil Penalosa of 8-80 cities, and Thomas Yanuziello just to his left who is a candidate for Ward 2.

As has been noted recently, the construction under the railpath/UP express bridge is done, and at least the paint striping for the bike lanes has been restored.

Note that curbs with bollards will be added, although there is plenty of room for jersey barriers as used in underpasses on Runnymede and Lansdowne.

Unfortunately the other underpass is still not finished. This project will take a while since it is part of the Davenport Diamond project.

The crowd gathers at Ramsden Park.

Albert of the Community Bikeways Coalition is herding cats. He says that candidates should stand behind him, and everyone else in front of him.

Here are some of the candidates.

Albert introduces himself and names all of the community groups that have come together to organize this event. He notes that all of the organizations have come up with a list three promises for candidates to pledge in advance of the municipal election. They are listed here, and can be summarized as follows:

  • reduce speed limits across the city (30 kph for neighbourhood roads, 40 for arterials)
  • increase capital funding for vision zero road projects
  • reallocate road space from motor vehicles consistent with complete streets guidelines.

He said that 33 candidates have signed on thus far. I will note that three candidates in Ward 4 have signed (Agrell, Lhamo, Perks). He noted that even if each of the groups gathered here had only a relatively small number of members that if we can all pull together we can make a difference. We want to elect as many supportive candidates to city council as possible.

He then introduced Najia Zewari, founder of the Women’s Cycling Network. She said that they now have over 500 members, primarily recent immigrants and refugees. The members have fallen in love with cycling, but they want to ride on safer streets.

Next up: Bob Murphy of Acorn Canada, a group concerned about affordable housing. He comes from Weston where bicycle infrastructure is badly needed.

Next was Jess Spieker from Friends and Families for Safe Streets, reminding us that under current conditions there are still far too many victims of road violence in the city.

Next, every candidate present was given 30 seconds to make a pitch. Inevitably some of them went over time, but it was good to hear so many difference voices talking about the importance or road safety.

I will note that Gord Perks was there for Ward 4, and Chemi Lhamo sent someone to speak on her behalf. Siri Agrell was absent.

Finally Mark outlined how the walk was going to be organized.

The procession is to remain behind this banner.

Bike Marshalls getting ready to be an advance guard.

Here we go.

Riders were corking intersections to keep everyone safe, and there were three or four cargo bikes as a rear guard as well.

Yonge and Bloor

Yonge and Dundas.

Albert thanks everyone for coming out, and reminding everyone to vote on Oct 24.

Good to see so many of the usual suspects tonight. Let’s hope that we can make road safety a key issue in this election, and get as many supportive people as possible on city council, and even in the mayor’s office.

Combined with the #ActivisionTO ride on Saturday, it was a good weekend for getting the message out about making cycling safer in the city.

Update:

Toronto bike rally lights up the night for cyclist’s rights (Star)

Video from Joey Schwartz

Coverage on CBC Metro Morning

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »