Toronto Star

The Fixer: Sunken grates menacing Dupont cyclists

Jack Lakey, writer of the Toronto Star's "Fixer" column reported today on a dangerous pair of sewer grates on Dupont St., north side between Edwin Ave. and Osler Ave. (map).

"Pietro Taleporos emailed us photos of a sunken storm-sewer grate on the north side of Dupont, just west of Edwin Ave., with a utility cover next to it that caught the wheel of his 14-year-old son's bicycle and sent him sprawling."

Also, according to the article, "a small cone and a much larger, orange-and-black traffic pylon were placed over the rough patch", although this was definitely not the case when I rode by at about 8:40 this morning.

You can view the original article on The Star's website here.

This is definitely a dangerous situation for any cyclist who does not see this chewed up section of road in time to ride around it. Let's hope the City fixes this soon.

It's that time of year again: Anti-cyclist newspaper articles

Parked on the Sidewalk: Perth Ave., April 6 2009.Parked on the Sidewalk: Perth Ave., April 6 2009.

It's that time of year again. The snow is long gone, the potholes are getting patched up, and many "fair weather" cyclists have returned to riding and increased our numbers on the streets. This is also the time of year when most major newspapers publish an anti-cyclist rant of some form of another.

The Toronto Star kicked it off on April 28th when they published a letter titled Ahh, the annual rites of spring. Letter writer Rick Morris rants about cyclists breaking traffic laws, and seems to show some signs of jealousy about how cyclists can get ahead in car-gridlocked traffic. The Star also published a couple of responses to this letter, from Gabriela Byron and Brian Huntley.

The Toronto Sun came out swinging yesterday with Joe Warmington's Pedal-pushers a problem article.

Joe's rant starts off with the typical bashing of sidewalk cyclists, and I can actually agree with him here. Sidewalks are for pedestrians, and roads are for vehicles. I'm not sure why he didn't rant about motorists parking and driving on sidewalks though. In all honesty, in my neighbourhood I see more motorists parked and/or driving on sidewalks than cyclists, causing a MUCH more dangerous and inconvenient pedestrian environment than any sidewalk cyclists around here.

The next standard anti-cyclist point that Joe tries to make is that many cyclists are evil lawbreakers:

2008 Bike Accidents Map

Just in time for the Spring cycling rush, the Toronto Star posted a new Map of the Week: Bike accidents. This map of "accidents" on the streets of Toronto gives a quick and handy guide to the cyclist-related carnage on Toronto's streets.

I haven't studied this map in great detail yet, but it doesn't look like things have changed that much from other similar maps I've seen in the past. Some typical observations on these maps:

  • The core east-west streets (Bloor, College, Queen, etc.) seem to have solid patterns and high concentrations of "accidents".
  • Some of the north-south streets like Bay and University look bad too.
  • The number of cycling "accidents" drops quickly once you get out of the core. Most likely because the number of cyclists drops too.
  • There are lots of "accidents" even when a bike lane is in place (e.g. Davenport).
  • This map also confirms that there are cyclists in Scarborough (unfortunately, they have "accidents" too).

According to The Star, who saved you plenty of time by not having to click on ALL of the dots, here are the worst intersections in Toronto:



Toronto Star Video: Snow Cycling

Check today's Toronto Star for a video about winter cycling. Online edition, not print, of course!

The video features brief commentary from three cyclists: It starts on a bit of a low note with a cyclist who just sticks to the indoor trainer for the winter because "the risks outweigh the pleasure" and it's "awfully cold".

The second is a messenger who enjoys the winter riding because the roads and sidewalks are less crowded, and that "with the proper gear it's never too cold".

The third is a year-round cyclist who says he gets too cold waiting for the streetcar so he would rather cycle. "I've gotten rid of both my cars."

Check it out here. Not sure why they attached that video to an article about seasonal crime statistics though.

Thanks to Jun for submitting the link.

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