Cyclometer Editors: Gillian Flower, Marleen Van Laethem, Linda Perkin
Welcome to Cyclometer, the newsletter of the Toronto Cycling Committee.
It's been awhile since our last issue, but in the meantime, the TCC has been hard at work to ensure that cycling issues maintain their rightful place in the new City of Toronto.
Cyclometer gives you, the Toronto cyclist, the chance to see how the TCC is working for you, and shows ways that you can get involved. We welcome your comments and suggestions.
Toronto Cycling Committee - 2000
by Marleen Van Laethem, Stephen Fisher and Councillor Jack Layton,
Welcome to the new amalgamated Toronto Cycling Committee. Cycling is growing all over the new mega-city. Winter no longer sends as many bike riders shivering from the streets. Economics and environment are both driving up cycling interest and cycling numbers. Our goal at the Toronto Cycling Committee is to grow the cycling community right across the new city.
There have been lots of changes in the past year. Just like the amalgamation that Toronto communities have undergone, the various cycling committees have merged. That means the Metro Cycling and Pedestrian Committee and the Toronto City Cycling Committee are now rearranged to form the Toronto Cycling Committee and the Toronto Pedestrian Committee.
We are trying to improve cycling in all communities from Etobicoke to Scarborough, from the Toronto Islands to North York. We have help in North York from our affiliated group - the North York Cycling and Pedestrian Committee. Our new group is a wonderful, hard-working mix from the previous groups, as well as a third of the group being brand-new members. As with all 're-births' we're examining all the programs and activities we've done in the past and seeing what is appropriate as we go into the new millennium and what resources we have to work with. Like everything with the amalgamated Toronto, funds are tight and so, we're trying to be creative.
Councillor Jack Layton, Marleen Van Laethem and Stephen Fisher.
Photo Credit: Jannette Porter
Further in this newsletter, you'll read updates from our 'ambassador' program and CAN-BIKE courses. We're working on ways to expand these programs even further. This past year, we sponsored a larger Bike Week, also across the whole city, and there is now a new bike lane on Jones Ave.One of the big projects this year in the city is formulating The Official Plan. This plan will help to guide everything that the city does. Again this is an exercise in amalgamating the official plans of the former communities. We are doing our best to ensure that cycling is included in order to make Toronto a wonderful city. Combined with this process, the city is also preparing a Cycling Master Plan. We're looking for input from cyclists around Toronto. There will also be a new cycling map in 2000 - watch for it.
So, as you can see there are many ways to improve cycling in Toronto. We're always looking for enthusiastic cyclists who can spare some time to help in many different capacities. See the final column Ahead in the Bike Lane to read how you can get involved. The public is always welcome at our meetings.
Cycling Master Plan Study
By Daniel Egan
As cyclists know all too well, the six former municipalities and Metro had very different levels of support for cycling. The city's Cycling Master Plan team is working hard to change that. Since last fall, Transportation, Planning and Parks staff and a team of consultants have been developing a new city-wide strategy for supporting and encouraging cycling. The plan will recommend policies, programs and infrastructure improvements to make the whole city more bicycle-friendly.
The first phase of the study focused on collecting information about cycling in Toronto. A telephone survey of 1000 Toronto residents has given us a good measure of cycling activity in the city and has identified the needs and concerns of cyclists and non-cyclists alike. The survey results will be
published this spring. All existing cycling facilities have been mapped. A series of cycling tours were held early November in the north, south, east and west districts of the city to explore the incredible variety of conditions which cyclists face both good and not so good. In December a series of public workshops was held (again in different areas of the City) to get input from cyclists and cycling groups on the barriers to cycling and to generate some initial thoughts on what the network might look like. The Cycling Committee has begun a series of focused discussions on important cycling policies and programs in an effort to identify new bicycle-friendly strategies.
Based on input from the public workshops, the Toronto Cycling Committee and others, the study team is developing a draft network plan, consisting of on-street bicycle lanes and routes and off-street trails. An important objective is to provide better connections between on-street and off-street facilities.
The real fun begins in the spring when we present the draft plan to a much wider audience for input and criticism. We will kick off this consultation process with a newsletter describing the draft plan and a series of public workshops. To find out more, stay tuned to the next issue of Cyclometer, leave a message with your name and address at 416-392-2972 or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org to get on the mailing list for future events.
"It's Your Fault." "No, It's Your Fault." or
CAN-BIKE Who Needs it Anyway?
by Barb Wentworth
It's amazing what happens on our roads. Everyday motorists, truck drivers, taxicab drivers, cyclists, in-line skaters and pedestrians use our complex, busy streets.
Studies show that drivers routinely rate themselves as having above average skill and ability behind the wheel. A new study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology shows that "people who do things badly are usually supremely confident of their abilities more
confident than people who do things well" (Globe and Mail, Jan.18).
A soon-to-be-released study by Decima Research Inc., carried out as part of the City of Toronto Master Cycling Plan Study, shows that "on the issue of perceived carelessness, the public seems to be engaged in a 'he said, she said' debate". For example, people who don't cycle are concerned about careless cyclists. People who cycle are far more likely to point to careless motorists.
Where does that leave us?
- What do we do about the cyclist who clips a pedestrian in the leg, yells "sorry" and rides off? The cyclist probably has no idea that the injury the pedestrian received in August is still causing pain in December.
- What do we do about the motorist who is guilt-ridden about having knocked a cyclist off his or her bike by opening the car door?
- What do we do about the driver who is arrested for assault with a weapon (the weapon being the car) after an altercation with a bike courier?
One of the things we can do is expand CAN-BIKE cycling education programs into the driver education field. If CAN-BIKE can help cyclists develop new skills, gain confidence in existing skills and learn to drop bad habits, why can't it do the same for motorists? Here's an idea of who, besides
cyclists, needs CAN-BIKE: taxicab drivers, truck drivers, motorists, children, parents, transit drivers.
We all share common ground in that we want to be able to travel around in Toronto without getting injured. We want to be able to enjoy our commute to work in the most environmentally beneficial way possible. Therefore, it is in our best interest to ensure that everyone has the skill and knowledge to make safe decisions for themselves and for the other people around them.
When was the last time you had any training related to driving or cycling? Many car drivers got their license years ago before the increase in volume of traffic and the complexity of our road system. Many cyclists have never had any instruction at all. Maybe it's time to think about taking a course. You will learn to identify hazards and how to avoid them. You will learn skills to effectively co-operate with other road users and to maximize safety for everyone. And that's in everyone's best interest.
CAN-BIKE courses will be offered at eight Community Centres beginning in April and running through to October.
Types of courses:
CAN-BIKE Adult Learn to Ride:
(3 hours - $40.00)
For non-riders. Learn to balance, start, stop and turn.
Kids CAN-BIKE: (12 hours - $50.00)
For young cyclists riding on neighbourhood streets (ages 9-13)
CAN-BIKE Cycling Freedom for Women: (12 Hours - $50.00)
For women, taught by women.
CAN-BIKE I: (12 hours - $50.00)
For novice cyclists who ride on bike paths and on residential streets.
CAN-BIKE II: (12 hours - $75.00)
For commuter/recreational/police cyclists (prerequisite for
CAN-BIKE Instructor Workshop Required certification to teach
the CAN-BIKE Program.
Agincourt Community Centre
Annette Recreation Centre
Birchmount Community Centre
Earl Bales Community Centre
North Toronto Memorial Community Recreation Centre
Trinity Recreation Centre
Withrow Club House
For more information, call the CAN-BIKE hotline at
Toronto's Road and Trail Safety Ambassadors
by Nery Sandoval and Caron Cheng
Between May and October 1999, the Road and Trail Safety Ambassadors were busy, busy, busy successfully promoting road and trail fun and safety to cyclists, pedestrians, motorists and in-line skaters throughout the city! Networking with city staff and various community organizations, the Ambassador program functioned like a bicycle wheel - always on the move, the rim embracing the entire city, the spokes representing all partners and the hub symbolising the coming together of all these elements to deliver the program.
Working in small teams, the Ambassadors delivered safety messages at 380 events throughout the City of Toronto. The majority were community events, including Canada Day celebrations, local parades and festivals including the Cabbagetown Street Festival, and East York Canada Day parade, various charitable and sports events and children's activity days. As well, Ambassadors organized events with Toronto Police, Public Health, Parks and Recreation, Works and Emergency Services and the Toronto Parking Authority, reaching thousands of road and trail users.
The Ambassador teams also organized many of their own events at community centers, recreation sites, schools and day camps, including York University campus, Edwards Gardens and the Humber trail. The Ambassadors hosted in-line skate training camps, maintained trails, held Kids CAN-BIKE festivals, S.P.A.C.E. events (Safety, Prevention, Awareness, Courtesy, Education) and O.A.S.I.S. events (Off-road Awareness Safety Information Stop).
The Ambassadors would like to thank the program sponsors, city staff and the communities who welcomed the Ambassadors and their safety messages. Look for the Ambassadors next year! If you have any questions or suggestions, or would like further information about the Ambassadors program, call Sean Wheldrake at 416-392-1143.
The Road and Trail Safety Ambassador Sponsors: 3M Scotchlite, Bell Mobility, The Canadian Automobile Association (CAA), Friends of the Environment Foundation - Canada Trust, Human Resources and Development Canada, The Insurance Bureau of Canada - RSVP Fund, Mountain Equipment Co-op, Osprey Beverages, Parking Authority of Toronto, Rack Attack, Seniors' Secretariat - Ministry of Health
(International Year of the Older Person Project), and the Toronto Police.
North York Update
by Ron Hart
Community Advisory Groups represent the interests of cyclists within communities, focusing on local needs and priorities It's a two-way bike path, as they bring these interests and needs to the TCC while promoting TCC initiatives as they apply in their communities.
The North York Cycling and Pedestrian Committee, a CAG, meets every other month. We effect change by investigating community cycling issues through organized rides, as well as by meeting with city staff and Councillors.
This past year's events included a ride along the Finch Hydro Corridor to promote the Hydro/Rail Corridor Study. Staff are currently favouring the Finch Corridor as the first trail to be built for this project. A second ride took us on a guided tour of the Downsview Lands - a major park being built on the former Armed Forces Base. We have been continually lobbying for cyclists' rights and needs in this area and feel at least partly responsible for the current staff position to keep cars out of the parkland.
Willowdale and Wilmington Avenues might be the first streets to get bike lanes in North York. Willowdale Avenue is the first light east of Yonge St. and runs from Hwy. 401 to Steeles Ave. The Willowdale Ratepayers Association supports a bike lane on this street. Wilmington Ave runs between Sheppard and Finch Avenues, halfway between Bathurst Street and Allen Road. South of Sheppard, it links with Faywood Avenue, another bike-friendly street which goes south to Wilson Avenue. This is
one block east of Wilson subway station. The north end of Wilmington Avenue links up with G. Ross Lord Park. We'll keep you posted as to whether bike lanes do go in on these streets.
We are also eagerly anticipating the installation of 125 post-and-ring bike racks on North York streets such as Yonge St., Bathurst St., and Avenue Rd.
We have been hard at work, but there is still much work to be done! If you would like to get involved with the North York Cycling & Pedestrian Committee, call Clay McFayden at 416-494-6737 or Ron Hart at 416-633-2733.
Dressing for Winter Cycling
by Steve Beiko
Dressing appropriately in the winter months will ensure that you can enjoy your bike year-round. Here are some tips to help you decide what to wear:
Dress in layers so that if it warms slightly, you are not left with the choice of being underdressed or overdressed. Heavy coats leave you a choice of being too warm and sweaty when they are on or too cold if you take them off. The top layer should be a wind shell (Gore-tex or Super Microft are suitable materials). Garments next to the skin should wick perspiration outward (wool or poly-propylene do this). There are fewer hours of daylight in the winter, so try to wear light-coloured, reflective clothing, and remember your bike lights.
Think about your own cycling needs when deciding how many layers to bring. Cycling quickly or uphill will generate a lot of heat and will warm the core of your body after only a few minutes of cycling. Fewer layers will be needed than for a more leisurely ride.
Protection for your hands, feet and head is important regardless of your level of exertion. Gloves are essential to protect your hands from the wind and from the cold metal of your brakes and
frame. But before you set out, make sure that your gloves or mitts allow you to use your brakes and gears effectively! Protect your feet with layers of socks, and always have a dry pair for the ride home.
Protective covers may be purchased to fit over cleated bike shoes. Keep your head warm with a thin cap worn under your helmet (adjust helmet fit if necessary), or cut off the wind coming through the vents in your helmet with a helmet cover.
A visit to your local bike shop or winter sports store will provide you with lots of ideas for making winter cycling more enjoyable.
by Steve Beiko
If you have been thinking of riding your bike in the winter for the first time, remember that riding a bike is usually warmer and more comfortable than standing at a bus or streetcar stop or waiting for a car to warm up. You don't have to make a commitment for the whole winter at once, but instead, decide on one day or one trip at a time. Dressing appropriately and winter maintenance of your bike are obvious
concerns. Lighting is more of an issue as there are more hours of darkness in the winter. You may want to refine your handling skills and your traffic skills in preparation. Taking a CAN-BIKE course is a good way of preparing for your first winter in traffic.
Toronto doesn't usually have too much snow in the winter. In addition to snow removal programs, frequent traffic melts the snow and the water evaporates more quickly in the motorized vehicle lanes than in the bike lanes. Bikes generally aren't heavy enough to melt the snow in the bike lanes. You may choose to cycle in the larger lanes and avoid the bike lanes if they are too icy and snowy. If there is not enough space to share this lane with other vehicles, then the cyclist should take the lane. A bicycle is considered to be a vehicle under the Highway Traffic Act, and is therefore entitled to use whatever part of the roadway is necessary to operate safely.
Don't Slide While You Ride
by Issie Chackowicz
A bicycle tire's traction depends on stickiness and gripping properties of the rubber in its tread. In winter, however, the slush and ice make this difficult. Can cyclists do anything to improve the grip of their tires?
Before you begin studding your tires this winter, know that a tire's grip increases with lower tire air pressures. Softer tires will deform and surround irregularities of the road surface. This surrounding effect increases the contact patch of the tire on the road and what the tire can hold on to. Do not remove too much air or you will feel the rim 'thud' the pavement. An under-inflated tire can also be pulled off the rim when changing course.
Carrying heavier loads in your rear panniers will help to weight the back tire and give you a bit more control. Shifting your weight over the back tire will also help increase traction and control during braking as more rubber fully surrounds the road surface.
Luckily, traction is generally not lost all at once. Slow down to accustom yourself to snow-covered road surfaces, and bike smoothly.
Mississauga Community Bicycle Ride
The Mississauga Cycling Advisory Committee is hosting a Community Bicycle Ride on Saturday, May 13th, 2000. The event will begin on the Waterfront Trail in Jack Darling Park at 10:00 a.m. Displays of
the work done by the MCAC during the 1999-2000 season will be at the park. Committee members will lead a 15K ride that will end with a barbecue for participants. Celebrity guests to be confirmed! For more information, contact Richard Roberts 905-615-4210.
Mississauga Master Trail Plan
Open Houses will be held in March at various locations throughout Mississauga to present and receive public input on Mississauga's Master Trail plan. Contact Richard Roberts 905-615-4210 or e-mail John Sabiston at email@example.com
Education and Safety Sub-Committee
by Issie Chackowicz
The Toronto Cycling Committee's Education and Safety Sub-Committee works with City staff to increase the safety of cyclists throughout Toronto. Everyone who wants to:
* decrease the number and severity of
* increase compliance with traffic laws and co-operation on the roads by all road-users;
tadvise on legislative policy changes that affect cyclists; and
* promote the use of bicycle and other environmentally-friendly modes
is invited to our monthly Education and Safety meetings.
The Safety and Education Sub-Committee is currently investigating the use of signage to educate drivers and cyclists on bike lane use, SMOG issues and getting ready for Bike Week. Please join us at our next meeting. See Ahead in the Bike Lane for details.
Network Planning and Facilities Sub-Committee
by Nina Koskenoja and Clay MacFayden
The Network Planning & Facilities Sub-Committee focuses on the physical infrastructure for cyclists, including on-street bicycle lanes and routes, bicycle parking, and off-street trails.
The NP&FSC has three main working groups:
* Rail-Hydro Corridor. This group's vision is a large, connected network of "bikeroads" in Toronto. These bikeways would serve many recreational users, including joggers, pedestrians, in-line skaters and cyclists. To date, many possible routes using abandoned rail lines and hydro corridors have been identified.
* Cycling Map. A major redesign of the Toronto Cycling Map is underway, with new colour and graphics, more streets, new recommended bike routes and more cycling information.
* Spadina Avenue Bike Lanes. The ambitious goal of this group is to make Spadina Avenue more bike friendly. They are reviewing the recent edge-strip pilot and the possibility of full bike lanes.
The sub-committee meets monthly on the second Wednesday following the Toronto Cycling Committee meeting. All are welcome. Please see Ahead in the Bike Lane for more information.
Communications and Promotions Sub-Committee
By Jannette Porter and Gillian Flower
The new Communications and Promotions Sub-Committee is the result of the merging of the Communications Sub-Committee and the Promotions and Development Sub-Committee. We have joined forces to work together more efficiently on issues such as:
* Planning, editing and printing our newsletter, Cyclometer;
* Helping to co-ordinate the TCC and City booths for the annual Bike Show (March 3-5th, 2000 National Trade Centre, Exhibition Place);
* Promoting cycling throughout the new City by keeping our councillors updated on cycling information and programs;
* Developing and implementing a new look for our web site;
* Collecting articles from Toronto print media around bicycle issues; and
* Assisting in planning for Bike Week 2000 (May 26th-June 4th).
Membership on the Toronto Cycling Committee is NOT required to join one of the sub-committees: they are open to everyone. If you would like to attend one of our meetings, please see Ahead in the Bike Lane for details.
Ahead in the Bike Lane
TCC: Toronto Cycling Committee C&PSC: Communications and Promotions Sub-Committee E&SSC: Education and Safety Sub-Committee NP&FSC: Network Planning and Facilities Sub-Committee NYCPC: North York Cycling and Pedestrian Committee CBN: Community Bicycle Network ARC: Advocacy for Respect For Cyclists MCAC: Mississauga Cycling Advisory Committee
Wednesday, March 1st, 2000, 6:30pm : CBN Meeting1
Friday, March 3rd Sunday, March 5th, 2000, Bike Show8
Monday, March 20th, 2000, 6:30pm: TCC Meeting2
Wednesday, March 22nd, 2000, 7pm: ARC Meeting7
Thursday, March 23rd, 2000, 7pm: C&PSC Meeting3
Wednesday, March 29th, 2000, 7pm: NP&FSC Meeting5
Tuesday, April 4th, 2000, 7pm: E&SSC Meeting4
Wednesday, April 5th, 2000: CBN Meeting 1
April 11th, 2000, 7-9 pm: MCAC meeting, Mississauga City Hall
Monday, April 17th, 2000, 6:30 pm: TCC Meeting2
Thursday, April 20th, 2000, 7pm: C&PSC Meeting3. Note location change below.
Thursday, April 20th, 2000, 7pm: ARC Meeting7
Wednesday, April 26th, 2000, 7pm: NP&FSC Meeting5
Tuesday, May 2nd, 2000, 7pm: E&SSC Meeting4
Wednesday, May 3rd, 2000: CBN Meeting1
May 9th, 2000, 7-9 pm: MCAC meeting, Mississauga City Hall
Saturday, May 13th, MCAC Bicycle Ride6
Thursday, May 18th, 2000, 7pm: C&PSC Meeting3
Wednesday, May 23rd, 2000, 7pm: ARC Meeting7
Wednesday, May 23rd, 2000, 7pm: NP&FSC Meeting5
Friday, May 26th -Sunday, June 4th, 2000: Bike Week. Events calendar TBA
1 All CBN meetings are held at 6:30pm at 761 Queen Street West, Suite 101. RSVP to Marty
Collier 416-504-2918 or go to firstname.lastname@example.org
2 All TCC meetings (March-May) are held at 6:30pm in Committee Room 2, 2nd floor, City Hall.
Beginning in June, meetings will start at 7pm.
3 All C&PSC meetings are held at 7pm in Committee Room 3, 2nd Floor, City Hall unless
otherwise indicated (April 20th- Meeting Room C, 2nd Floor, City Hall)
4 All E&SSC Meetings are held at 7pm, 500 University Ave., 8th Floor.
5 All NP&FSC meetings are held at 7pm in Metro Hall. Room TBA. Please call 416-392-7592
6 See article on this page 5 for information
7 All ARC Meetings are held at 7p.m. at 761 Queen St. W., #101. Please call 416-504-2918 X1
for information or go to www.web.net/~detour/arc
8 The 2000 Bike Show will be held at the National Trade Centre, Hall B, Exhibition Place.
Times: Friday: 12pm-9pm; Saturday, 10am-8pm; Sunday, 10am-6pm.
9 Contact Richard Roberts 905-615-4210 or e-mail John Sabiston at email@example.com for more information about the Mississauga Cycling Advisory Committee.
Bike Week 2000 - May 26-June 4 - 416-392-7592
Who We Are
The Toronto Cycling Committee is a special committee of City Council whose mandate is to initiate programs to increase the quantity and quality of bicycle trips in the City of Toronto. Cyclometer is produced for the Toronto Cycling Committee by the City of
Toronto Urban Development Services, Communications and Publishing Section. It is available on-line at the Toronto home page: www.toronto.ca/cycling/cyclometer/index.htm