bike infrastructure

Memorial For Cyclist Killed In Mississuga

The first ghost bike in Mississauga, as far as I know, was installed by ARC this morning at the corner of Riverspray Crescent. and Bloor Street. On November 25, a cyclist was killed on his way home from the beer store. I went along for the ride this morning to pay my respects to the fallen cyclist and document the work of installing a ghost bike. His name has not been released.

News story:

"A male cyclist, 45, has died after being hit by a car in Mississauga on Tuesday evening. The crash happened after 6:30 p.m. at Bloor Street and Runningbrook Drive, between Dixie and Tomken Roads. The cyclist was pronounced dead at the scene. The intersection was shut down for the investigation. The driver remained at the scene."

Another media report:

No charges are expected in this incident. This was the 9th cyclist in Ontario to die on a ride.

Top 10 Complaints: BlogTO cyclist

From Derek at BlogTO as a response to Sgt. Tim Burrow's Top 10 list of driver complaints. (BlogTO is good at these lists):

10 - The close pass

9 - Lack of bike lanes

8 - Cars parked in bike lanes

7 - Potholes

Yes, potholes, but also utility cuts, which in some way are even more irritating. A utility cut can create a wide, sharp drop from which you can't easily escape; or the cut can run below you for blocks creating the roller coaster, or "mutton bustin" (sheep riding), effect - also unavoidable.

6 - Winter

5 - Other cyclists

4 - Car doors

3 - Streetcar tracks

Derek suggests the bunny hop, but that's a bad idea. CAN-BIKE recommends taking the tracks as close to 90 degrees as possible - slow down and cross the tracks at a sharp angle.

2 - Oblivious pedestrians

1 - Sudden right turns (without signaling)

This is Derek's key complaint, and though it is rarer than the others, it's a biggie. I agree, complete disregard for a life. A more minor but related complaint is the right turn from the left of cyclists at red lights - you wouldn't do that with a car so why do you think it's okay with a bike?

Honourable mentions: jerks who bypass the line of cyclists at red lights, slow e-bikes that need to be passed (but that can be nice to draft!), riding north from downtown (it's all uphill), and the constant threat of bike theft.

Bike lanes: lax enforcement

Riconroy, in this video, shows us the daily conflict between drivers and cyclists in Toronto bike lanes.

There is conflict between cyclists and drivers in the city; one of the ways it shows itself is in sharing space, especially bike lanes. Are they exclusively for cyclists, or can cars and trucks use them to get a coffee, or make a delivery? Cyclists maintain that having to swerve out of the bike lane to get around a stopped vehicle is more dangerous than having no bike lane at all. Enforcement of no-stopping by-laws is at best lax.


I found the above illustration on the GOOD website.

According to the City of Toronto (Census) riding to work was up 32,6% between 2001 and 2006 from 1,3 to 1,7. Not bad but too slow for my likes. Wonder what the current stats might be. I think it's up despite everything we face. I am just thankful for everyone on two wheels.

Below is a graph for modal share stats for Ontario. [Editor: Toronto is at 1.7% while the second highest is Orangeville at 1.2%. Metro Toronto would be much, much higher since the burbs pull the numbers way down.]

Update: The Toronto Star has a published a map today with the percentage of commuters who ride bicycles to work, from the 2006 census

Video Letter From New York

A fellow fllmaker Clarence Eckerson, Jr. from NYC send this film with this note:

"Just sending out this quickie new Streetfilm on NYC Bike Lanes:

A good video to use if:

  • Your city needs bike infrastructure
  • Your city needs more or innovative bike facilities and they are not doing experimentation in design
  • If you want to show people in your neighborhood and community what is going on in NYC and the benefits to bike amenities.


Bike parking is expensive? Is this journalism?

Tess Kalinowski of The Toronto Star claims that providing bike infrastructure through transit is expensive. GO Transit is putting in secured and sheltered parking throughout the system. The TTC is putting in bus bike racks on its entire fleet. The price comes out in the range of a couple thousand per spot. Tess gives some "shocking" numbers, but fails to put them in the context of the alternative - the cost of parking a bulky car:

$1,800 per cyclist using GO Transit's new secure bike lock-ups in Hamilton and Burlington, $3,700 per cyclist using GO's new bike shelters, and $1.44 million to put bike racks on about 1,600 TTC buses.

So all we know is that there is a long-term infrastructure cost of thousands of dollars. This a cost that is spread out over the lifetime of the parking. That comes to around $100 a year for some secure bike lock-ups that will surely last at least 15 years. So put in perspective it's not that much.

Driving a potential weapon

From Christie Blatchford in the Globe and Mail on the cyclist death on behalf of the former Attorney General, a mainstream view that is surprising in its understanding of the power that motorists wield:

As city planners ensure that roads get narrower for cars (half-assed bike lanes, which give a measure of comfort but no protection, dedicated streetcar lines, one-way roads, various traffic ‘calming' methods, which may calm traffic but hardly drivers), getting around the city takes longer and longer, and cyclists and motorists, and sometimes cyclists and pedestrians, are increasingly at odds over the same shrinking space.

Even if it turns out that the man attempted to choke Mr. Bryant, as some witness accounts suggest, and that Mr. Bryant called 911 – and this is the most benign scenario the former politician can hope for – it isn't good enough.

The mismatch between car and bicycle is sufficiently enormous that the cyclist is inherently always right.

Describing a charity ride where Blatchford felt very vulnerable she concludes:

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