Toronto Creates New Committee
by Andrea Bowker
When the provincial government proposed to amalgamate the seven municipal
governments covering the Metro area, the TCCC spoke out against it, as did many other
community activists and advocates. Now that amalgamation is a reality, however, the
existing committees from the former cities within Metro are working together to ensure
that the New City of Toronto continues to improve conditions for cyclists on the streets,
in parks, in schools, at work and everywhere else cyclists transport themselves.
The Toronto City Cycling Committee, the Metro Cycling and Pedestrian Committee and the
North York Cycling and Pedestrian Committee have been meeting together on a regular basis
to out the future activities of a Toronto Cycling Committee. The new TCC has been approved
in principle by Council. In the face of considerable confusion about how the new city is
going to evolve, we are excited about the prospects which are opening for cyclists in the
Metro area as a result of this broader focus.
We are, as always, looking for interested volunteers to work with or join the TCC. In
particular, we are encouraging individuals from areas outside the old City of Toronto to
become involved with the Committee and to flex some new-found political muscle to make
sure that cyclists' interests are represented throughout the new city.
For information concerning the new Toronto Cycling Committee, please call (416) 392-7592.
The Coroner's Report on Cycling Fatalities in Toronto
by Marleen Van Laethem
One of my dreaded moments as a cyclist is hearing of another cyclist's death. We all
know the adrenalin scare of a close call on the road; when we hear of another death,
everybody thinks "that could've been me".
Sparked by the deaths of two cyclists in 1996, when they came into contact with the
rear wheels of large trucks, Dr. W. J. Lucas, the Coroner for Toronto, launched an
investigation of cycling-related fatalities for 1986 - 1996. The review committee included
the Toronto Cycling Committee, Toronto Police, Toronto Transit Commission, Ontario
Trucking Association, Truck Training School Association, Advocacy for Respect for
Cyclists, and the Ontario Trauma Registry.
Dr. Lucas also participated in a CAN BIKE II course in order to better understand the
dynamics of traffic flow from the cyclist's perspective.
The study looked at data from January 1986 until December 1996. In this 11-year study
period, there were 13,475 collisions recorded between motor vehicles and cyclists in
Metropolitan Toronto. Of these, 38 resulted in fatalities. (There were an additional 9
fatalities that involved cyclist-pedestrian crashes or cyclist-alone crashes; these were
not analyzed in this study.)
Fifteen recommendations were made, covering a wide range of issues. Five of the
recommendations deal with better bicycle collision reporting and an annual expert review
of this collision data. Dr. Lucas also recommends collision prevention from an education
as well as an enforcement perspective.
He recommends that various sections of the Ontario Highway Traffic Act should be
amended so that they are more consistent and understandable with respect to cycling.
There are two recommendations regarding road and facilities design. These cover
identifying and improving high frequency accident locations, as well as developing a
comprehensive network of on-street bicycle lanes and routes, and off-street trails.
Finally, Dr. Lucas recommends that large vehicles require 'side guards' to cover part
of the rear wheels. These are a legal requirement in the U.K. and in Europe, and are
designed to reduce the risk of a cyclist or pedestrian being dragged under the rear
The coroner's report is available on-line.
Cyclist Fatalities and Injuries Resulting from Bicycle-Motor Vehicle Collisions, 1986-96
A Friend Remembered
by Shannon Thompson
Former Toronto City Councillor Dan Leckie did not dress up very often.
But there was one night he had to rent a tuxedo for some fancy event. "Do you want me
to arrange a city car?" our administrative assistant asked. The answer was always the same:
"No thanks, I'm going to ride."
Not surprisingly, Dan's choice to use
a bicycle as his mode of transportation led him to put a lot of energy into improving
cycling conditions in the city. Long before he was a city councillor himself, Dan played
an important "behind the scenes" role while Councillors like Jack Layton chaired the Toronto City
Cycling Committee in the 1980s. (Dan was Jack Layton's executive
assistant). While Dan was a city councillor (1994-1997), he co-chaired the TCCC and helped
secure much of the bicycle infrastructure we now enjoy.
Last fall, a cyclist came to our office with a plan. He wanted the city to
buy abandoned railway track to begin a network of cycling paths that would link all of
Metro. Within a month, Dan had a team of city staff working on buying the land, Council
approval to do so, and the cyclist who suggested it was involved and learning how to make
But Dan was much more than just an effective and articulate advocate for
cycling. He was a thinker and visionary who was most interested in what long-term and
structural changes could be made to change the way we build communities. Every cycling
discussion with Dan ended with ideas for the 5-year plan, and although few could keep up
with him, he was already fashioning the 20-year plan in his head.
Those who knew Dan can all remember seeing him riding around town - always
smiling, optimistic and kind. And always planning a project that he'd try to
interest you in. With Dan's death, we have lost a very precious member of our city. Thank you,
Dan, for nurturing the cycling community through its infancy. We will miss you.
Dan Leckie was a Toronto City Councillor who died of a brain aneurysm on
May 30th at age 48. Shannon Thompson is a cyclist and was Dan Leckie's Executive
Contra-Flow Bike Lanes
by Daniel Egan
Toronto City Council approved contra-flow bicycle lanes on two blocks
of Strathcona Av., between Carlaw Ave. and Blake St., as part of the Danforth Bypass
bicycle route. The addition of the contra-flow bicycle lanes enables cyclists to travel in
both directions on Strathcona Ave., a low traffic residential street, while maintaining
the one-way restriction for automobiles. Because of the existing pattern of one-way
streets in this area there is no route which eastbound cyclists can use to bypass Danforth
The design for the block west of Pape puts the contra-flow lane between
curbside parking and the general traffic lane. This design is common in some European
cities, but to my knowledge is found in only one other North American city -- Cambridge,
Masschussetts. If this design proves successful, as it has in other cities, it may assist
in getting bicycle routes into other neighbourhoods where the one-way street pattern
prevents convenient bicycle access.
The proposed Danforth Bypass would provide an alternative route for
cyclists a few blocks south of Danforth Ave. between Broadview and Woodbine Aves. The
section between Broadview Ave. and Jones Ave. was installed in October. The section east
of Jones Ave. and bicycle lanes proposed for Jones Ave. between Danforth Ave. and Queen
St. will be considered by Council following further community consultation. If approved
these could be installed in 1999.
New Trail Corridors
by Daniel Egan
City Council has endorsed in principle creating a network of trails in
rail and hydro corridors across the new city. Planning, parks and transportation will be
working with the Toronto Cycling Committee in the coming year to develop a multi-year
Developing the implementation plan is the second stage of an ambitious
project begun in 1997 when Victor Ford and Associates were hired to investigate over 400
km of corridors for trail potential. Their report, Inventory of Trail Opportunities in
Rail and Hydro Corridors, identified 46 potential trail projects covering approximately
These projects include 23 First Group Projects (124 km) which are
considered to be "relatively easy to implement with standard conditions" and 23 Second
Group Projects (80 km) which are considered to be "more difficult
to implement because of special costs or complications". The candidate
trail projects are fairly evenly distributed across the city and connect with many of the
city's existing trails.
The implementation plan will identify:
- priority trail projects based on overall network objectives and
discussions with the railways and Ontario Hydro;
- a public consultation process for reviewing the proposed network as
well as candidate trail projects;
- annual capital funding requirements for trail development and,
where necessary, property acquisition, funding opportunities and potential partnerships
with other levels of government and private corporations; and
- Official Plan policies for preserving future trail opportunities in
railway and hydro corridors.
The plan for developing rail and hydro corridors will become an integral
part of the city's overall bicycle route network plan. Transportation and Planning
staff have committed to producing a network plan for bicycle lanes and routes on city
streets. The overall network plan would include on-street routes, parks and river valley
routes and rail and hydro corridor routes.
Cycling Ambassadors -- Everywhere
by Barb Wentworth
The 1998 Cycling Ambassador Program has just ended a successful season
of community safety events. They were everywhere across the city - 51 community festivals,
28 O.A.S.I.S. events, 12 S.P.A.C.E. events, 12 school and Kids CAN-BIKE festivals. It was
a great summer to promote cycling and road safety in new areas of Toronto.
Congratulations to a really talented group of cyclists who made up the
1998 Cycling Ambassador Team: Coordinator Sean Wheldrake, Craig Barnes, Ray Breuker,
Christy Contway, Heath Cooper, Abdiel Escobar, Mollie Jacques, Phil Longo, Dave Millard,
Jerry Lee Miller, Jason Roy, Kara Spence, Shawn Springer and CAN-BIKE administrator Dale
We were fortunate to have partners willing to invest in cycling safety
with us. The Cycling Ambassadors relied on their assistance and enthusiasm and would like
to acknowledge these groups as supporters of cycling: City of Toronto; Ontario Neurotrauma
Foundation; Human Resources Development Canada; Toronto Police; On-Site Canada; the
government of Ontario; Insurance Bureau of Canada; Canadian Automobile Association;
Mountain Equipment Co-op; 3M Scotchlite Reflective Material; Bell Mobility and Rack
The Cycling Ambassadors would also like to give special thanks to
merchants at the St. Lawrence Market for donations for special events: Ponesse Foods;
Whitehouse Meats; DiLiso's Meats; Scheffler's Delicatessen; and Olympic Food & Cheese Mart Ltd.
The plans for an expanded Cycling Ambassador Program are underway for
1999. Please contact the CAN-BIKE hotline at 416-392-1142 in March 1999 if you are
interested in applying for a position.
Moving the Economy
by Christine Sharman
More than five hundred participants from sixteen countries attended
the very successful Moving the Economy conference, July 9 -12 in Toronto this year,
surpassing the organizers' expectations.
The conference showcased success stories from Toronto and around the world
where sustainable transportation is spearheading economic benefits.
Cycling featured prominently at the conference which also featured other
aspects of sustainable transportation such as rail, transit and dense urban form.
Jack Becker, Toronto Cycling Committee co-chair, gave a presentation on
Toronto's growing bike trail infrastructure, in a workshop entitled "Connecting the
Green Dots: Building Green Tourism Transportation Infrastructure" , and Daniel
Egan led a roving workshop cycle tour to give participants a 'hands-on' experience of
biking in Toronto.
Organizers are now putting together the framework for the Proceedings,
working on an Economic Action Plan for Toronto and planning an on-line web site for 1999,
spurred on by enthusiastic conference comments like " this was a can
opener for my mind".
Purchasing Mobility Instead of a Car
by Liz Reynolds
Cyclists are very mobile people but sometimes taking the bike just isn't practical - it's either too far
or you have to take too much stuff. However, owning a car for those few occasions isn't practical
Auto Share, Toronto's first car-sharing network, aims to reduce the environmental impact of the private automobile by providing a cost
effective alternative to individual ownership. Car-sharing is essentially time-sharing a
Car-sharing is becoming increasingly popular because it provides a
financial incentive for using transit, bicycling and walking for most city trips. For
those times when a car is the best mode of transportation for a given task, they are
accessible close by, in members' neighbourhoods. This is an effective means of severing the car
ownership bond for those who cannot completely give up the use of a car.
Auto Share is modelled on successful car-sharing organizations in
Europe and elsewhere in Canada. Quebec City, Montreal, Vancouver and Victoria have had
established car-shares for the past two to four years. In Quebec City, car-share members
receive a discount on transit passes as a further incentive to use public transportation
rather than the automobile.
When a car is needed, it is far more cost effective to use Auto Share
than to purchase, insure and maintain a private vehicle. Members pay a small monthly
administration fee to cover their share of the fixed costs of the car. Other than that, a
low hourly and kilometre rate is charged and billed monthly, similar to a utility bill. Auto
Share covers all maintenance, insurance and gas costs. A one-time, refundable fee of
$500 is charged to join, and car sharing is easy to use. Cars are booked with a simple
phone call 24-hours a day.
Auto Share launched in September in the downtown Toronto
neighbourhoods of Riverdale, the Annex and St. Lawrence Market and plans to expand across
the city over the following 12 to 18 months. As air quality issues are one of our main
reasons for starting this initiative, we are actively exploring the use of alternative
fuels vehicles. But beyond this, the ultimate goal is to generally reduce the number of
cars on our city streets, making streets safer for bicyclists and pedestrians.
For further information or to add your name to the mailing list, please
call Liz Reynolds at (416)465-1366, or send e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cyclists Save Money!
by Ron Hart
No kidding! Cyclists save money by not taking public transit or taking
the car. But cyclists have another way to save now. The North York Cycling and Pedestrian
Committee is selling Entertainment '99 Coupon Books for only $32. Those of you who have purchased
Entertainment Books in previous years don't need to be told of the potential to save
hundreds of dollars on dining, recreation, sporting event tickets, and vacation
Every possible dining experience is represented in this book (Chinese to
Cajun, expensive to take-out) and every geographic region in the GTA is represented. You
only need use a few "buy one entree, get one free" coupons to
start saving money on this book.
Please help us to promote cycling issues in North York and beyond. Call
Ron Hart at (416) 633-2733 to order your coupon book or ask questions. Thank you for your
The North York Cycling and Pedestrian
by Ron Hart
I know a lot of readers are wondering just what goes on north of the 'Berlin Wall' , aka Highway
401. Well, let me tell you.
Since our inception on January 14, 1997, as an ad hoc committee, we have
been actively networking with city politicians and bureaucrats to the point where people
have come to us for advice.
We have been monitoring closely the huge Downsview Lands development and
feel we can take some credit for the current plan to keep cars out of the Downsview Greens
Other successes include:
- a stairway to facilitate entering Earl Bales Park from the north
end. Previously, you were required to walk down a long windy unsafe road to enter the
- getting a gate at the Westgate entrance of the park widened so that
bicycles with trailers can ride through it;
- having the official plan for the city centre streetscaping amended
to include the installation of post-and-ring bicycle parking;
- assisting Transportation staff in properly signing a pedestrian
walkway under Yonge St. and the 401.
As you can see, we have been very busy indeed! While there is still much
to be done, you can be rest assured that we are still hard at work, ever vigilant.
Pedalling the Web
by Marleen Van Laethem
Toronto was one of the featured cities in "Two Wheeled
Revolution" in the September/October 1998 issue of Sierra Magazine. Check it out
on-line at www.sierraclub.org
Happy cycling in cyberspace!
4th Annual Ontario Bicycle Conference
The Ontario Cycling Association holds
its annual conference on Saturday, November 21 between 9:00 AM and 4:30 PM at the Royal
Connaught/Howard Johnson Plaza Hotel in Hamilton. The day opens with a plenary session led
by Daniel Egan, City of Toronto Bicycle Planner, on recent developments in cycling. A
selection of workshops provide opportunities to exchange information and discussion about
participants' areas of interest. Morning workshops feature reporting sessions on: cycling
trends, infrastructure, education and enforcement, and advocacy. Extended workshops after
lunch explore cycling fatalities and injuries, cycling in the schools, the Trans-Canada
Trail in Ontario, and cycling clubs. All delegates are invited to share information
through poster displays during the conference. The conference is followed by OCA's Annual General
Meeting at 4:30 PM. An optional dinner at historic Dundurn Castle wraps up this event. For
more details, contact the OCA at (416) 426-7242, or fax them at (416) 426-7349.
Ahead in the Bike Lane
Dec. 10 -- North York Cycling & Pedestrian Committee, 7 pm, Committee Room
4, North York Civic Centre, (416) 633-2733.
Cyclometer Editors: Marleen Van Laethem, Joanna Beyersbergen
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.