anthony's blog

Influx of new cyclists: Problem or opportunity

It's no surprise to anyone that more people are riding bikes these days. It's in the news, the bike stores are busier than ever, and it's become harder to find places to lock your bike because of all the other bikes.

Still, it is good to see these new cyclists out on our roads because it makes all of us safer. This is known as the "safety in numbers" effect, where the crash and collision rates go down, as well as the injury and death rate, as the number of cyclists increases. The magic number on a road is about 50 cyclists/hour, or about one a minute. Above this threshold things become relatively "safe" and below this number things are much riskier. (Herb needs help collecting cycling data, please see http://www.ibiketo.ca/node/2309 )

It's about city building, not transportation

Back on Monday June 23, Metrolinx and the Canadian Urban Institute hosted "Mobility Without Borders, An International Symposium on Transportation Innovation" at the ROM, which I attended. After a few opening remarks from the hosts, Prof. George Hazel gave a great presentation.

George Hazel's presentation set the stage for the panel discussion which followed. The panelists also included Dr. Pierre Laconte, Michiael Glotz-Richter, Sue Flack, Dr. Steven Cassidy and Rob MacIsaac.

George Hazel said much that was worthwhile, and I wish I could share it all with you. I did find some of the slides he used, and the report he referenced which provides most of what he said.

The report contains the key messages he was trying to convey, such as:

A clear loss in our battle at Community Council

We were tilting at windmills yesterday.

TURN, The Toronto Cyclists Union, TCAT, Toronto Pedestrian Committee, The Toronto Cycling Advisory Committee, and many citizens, including myself, spent yesterday afternoon and travelled out to the Etobicoke Civic Centre where we made deputations at the Etobicoke York Community Council about the South Kingsway/Queensway Interchange. We asked that either a link road be installed or that this item go to Public Works and Infrastructure or that this be deferred for more community meetings.

"Safe Cycling - Share the Responsibility" campaign results

The Toronto Police issued the following news release today:

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"Safe Cycling - Share the Responsibility" campaign results

Wednesday, June 25, 2008 - 7:30 AM
Traffic Services
416-808-1900

On Sunday June 22, 2008, the Toronto Police Service concluded their one-week "Safe Cycling – Share the Responsibility" campaign.

See previous release.

Officers issued 6,671 tickets to motorists and cyclists who were found committing offences. Of the tickets issued:

  • 3,691 tickets were issued to motorists for offences such as opening vehicle doors improperly, and failing to yield to cyclists,
  • 2,076 tickets were issued to cyclists for disobeying traffic signals and failing to yield to pedestrians,
  • 904 tickets were issued to cyclists for bicycle equipment offences,
  • 113 parking tickets were issued for parking in designated bike lanes,
  • 1,891 motorists and cyclists were cautioned with respect to a variety of related offences,
  • 89 bike rodeos/lectures involving 3,410 participants were held across the city.

The Toronto Police Service reminds motorists of the dangers of opening car doors in the path of cyclists, and the importance of checking blind spots prior to making a turn, especially for large trucks. All road-users have a responsibility to share the road equally by driving safety, riding responsibly, playing smart, and obeying all the rules of the road.

Where the Gardiner meets Kipling and Islington

I went to the open house for the “Gardiner Expressway At Kipling Avenue And Islington Avenue Interchanges.” back on the evening of June 11.

My intent, goal and purpose in attending is to make sure that our city staff are thinking about keeping and encouraging the industrial activities in the area while also making sure they follow our city’s official plan, clean air strategy, transit city, bike plan, and pedestrian charter, all of which call for reduced car traffic and reduced car dependency while also encouraging active and public transit. In other words, I want improved safety for pedestrians and cyclists, continued truck access for the area's industrial lands, while not making it too easy for the cars.

After making my way into the building, I found the gymnasium and I signed in. I was very surprised to see more staff than attendees; perhaps it was just my timing. I was informed that the meeting had been well attended, however none of the staff looked at all haggard, all of them were smiling and in good spirits and eager to talk about the plans. The plans were up on easels outlining a rectangle area covering almost half of the gymnasium floor.

Cycling News

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Here's a posting of cycling news from across the country, and sometimes interesting things from around the world.

Local

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  • Tell 'em Large Marge sent ya (Globe and Mail, June 14)
  • This bike race delivers (Globe and Mail, June 14)
  • Is there life after traffic? (insidetoronto.com, June 13)
    A paper which might just understand what our city needs to look like to live a lifestyle which does not need much driving.
  • Bike-Off This Weekend
  • Are you ready for the Cycle Messenger World Championships? (Momentum, June 13)
  • Keep the car, I'll take the gas. It's worth more. (Posted Toronto, June 12)
  • Bloor transformation assailed by cycling advocates (insidetoronto.com, June 12) Good Work! Keep up the pressure!
  • Bike Lane Approvals at PWIC June 27 & Status Update

    Rogers Rd.Rogers Rd.Here's a quick status update of the bike lanes that have, are, or will happen in 2008. 26.3km of bike lanes are reported on below. That's about half of of the 50km Councillor Heaps has promised for this year, and summer hasn't officially started yet; we might just make it.

    The following projects will be considered by the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee at its June 27 meeting (6.8 km):

    • Stanley Avenue (contra-flow lane) from Royal York Road to Superior Avenue, 0.6 km
    • Royal York Road from Cavell Avenue to Manitoba Street, 0.8 km
    • Simcoe Street/Lower Simcoe Street from Queens Quay West to Front Street West, 0.6 km
    • Birchmount Road from Kingston Road to south of St. Clair Avenue East, 2.4 km
    • Conlins Road from Military Trail to Sheppard Avenue East, 2.4 km

    The following projects have been approved by the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee on June 4, and will be considered at the June 23, 24 City Council Meeting (7.6 km):

    Mimico Linear Park, Phase I almost complete, Phase II needs to start

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    I attended the WATERFRONToronto board meeting yesterday where the big news was the tearing down of the Gardiner. I don't really need to talk about that too much because you can find the ink here:

    To sum up: three to four years of talk in the EA process; another three to four years for execution; six to eight years from now when see the end results.

    For me, the bigger news was the appearance of

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