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Archive for the ‘Advocacy’ Category

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.

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Getting ready to go in the Go station parking lot.

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and off we go.

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A bike lane!

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At the crash site.

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

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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.

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

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The banner.

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Transferring decorations over to the ghost bike.

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The ghost bike.

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

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

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

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and then the deluge

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

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

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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.

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Lots of bikes on the ferry.

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Peaceful riding on the island.

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Joan arrives in style.

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More than enough food, and beverages were provided.

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We were on the clothing required part of the beach.

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Calvin worked hard to get this bonfire going.

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

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Obligatory sunset pic.

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

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Group shot for instagram.

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

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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.

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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.

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32 is not zero

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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.

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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.

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

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

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

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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.

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

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We line up behind some police bikes.

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And off we go, turning south on Yonge.

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Regroup after the steepest part of the hill.

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

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At Davenport.

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Approaching Bloor St.

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South of Bloor now.

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

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Sorry this one is blurry.

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

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At Shuter.

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Turning at the foot of Yonge St.

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Along the MG trail.

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Turning into the southernmost part of Sherbourne Commons.

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Group picture, without the lake in the background.

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

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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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Xavier Morgan was a five year old boy who died while riding his bike on the Martin Goodman Trail a week ago Wednesday. Today was his memorial ride. About 200 cyclists joined us.

DSC04441Several members of the family were present. Brenda Morgan was his great aunt, and Scott was his grandfather.

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Scott was passing out these cards in memory of Xavier.

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Many bike families were present.

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Joey getting the marshalls organized.

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Geoffrey making some announcements.

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He has made ghost bikes for too many memorial rides.

and here we go.

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Down Huron

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Harbord, across Spadina.

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Down Harbord.

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Councillor Mary-Margaret McMahon in conference with Walk Toronto and Hamish Wilson.

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Passing the Bike Joint.

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Regroup at Shaw

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South on Shaw.

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Watch out for those streetcar tracks.

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Through Liberty Village.

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Regroup at Strachan.

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Riding up the hill on the bridge.

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Along Manitoba St. on the EX grounds.

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Across the bridge to Ontario Place.

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Back down to the Martin Goodman trail.

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Arriving near the crash site.

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Installing the ghost bike.

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Joey calls for a minute of silence.

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The family makes a statement.  Brenda Morgan said that the family appreciate that many came together as a result of this tragedy, and that the city acted quickly to put in a safety barrier. Scott Morgan said that the only blessing was the Xavier’s death was instantaneous and that his spirit went straight up to heaven.

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The ghost bike.

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We then formed a human chain along the barrier in tribute to Xavier.

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“There was nothing he loved more than biking.”

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The city is now making belated efforts to identify other hazardous spots along the Martin Goodman Trail. It is very sad that it takes a tragedy like this to get action on improvements to instructure for cyclists and pedestrians.

Thanks to everyone who rode today.  Support from the Toronto Police was also appreciated.

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Today was the annual Group Commute that kicks off Bike Month in Toronto. As per usual, I started at High Park, bright and early under overcast skies, with a bit of rain threatening.

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Numbers were down from previous years, perhaps because of the weather.

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Are we’re off!

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At Keele.

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Bakfiets plus umbrella and dog.

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Regroup at Christie.

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Councillor Layton joins us!

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At Bay.

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This tower at Bloor and Yonge is more complete this year.

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The merged group at Charles is pretty big.

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Here we go down Yonge St.

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In a reversal of the usual situation, here is one lone SUV hemmed in on all sides by bike traffic.

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Approaching City Hall.

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That’s Councillor Mary-Margaret McMahon right in front of me.

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The Bakfiets family is all smiles.

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Time for breakfast.

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Nice to have real maple syrup!

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Sitting under the arcade as the rain comes down, with a custard tart for breakfast. Could be worse….

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People were taking any available shelter.

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Cycle Toronto booth was busy selling shirts and memberships.

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This year’s T shirt is a nice bright purple, and if you look carefully, it features a cargobike.

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Numbers were down from last year, although I will resist the side to side photo comparison (as per the US inauguration).

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Wayne Scott interacting with some of Toronto’s finest.

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He and I had the only “Bike Lanes on Bloor” shirts in evidence.

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Mayor Tory addressing the crowd.

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The sun started peeking out, and more of the crowd came out from under shelter.

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Andy taking Elise to school.

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A press scrum around the mayor.

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All these kids (and some teachers) joined the ride, and also committed to biking to school during Bike Month.

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Thanks to the City of Toronto, Cycle Toronto, and all of the participating sponsors.

During my short ride the rest of the way to work, a charming couple behind me on McCaul reacted to my “Bike Lanes on Bloor” shirt by yelling that if you “wanted bike lanes on Bloor, you should f**king using them, you maniac!” which shows me that we still need a wider attitude adjustment in this city before people take cycling seriously as a mode of transport.

Ride on, and ride safe everyone!

 

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