Welcome to Cyclometer, a monthly newsletter to keep cyclists informed about cycling issues and programs in the City of Toronto.
1) Cyclists Ticket Cars Parked in Bike Lanes
by Nancy Smith-Lea
It was a rainy night during Bike to Work Week as a handful of us embarked on our first bike lane patrol, handing out fake tickets to drivers parked illegally in the bike lanes. It felt like a real mission - our roles falling somewhere between cops and crusaders. Drivers were a bit puzzled by us. As we were handing a ticket to one driver she began explaining in a cajoling voice her reasons for parking in the bike lane. She then stopped mid-sentence, looked more carefully at the ticket and asked, ‘Who are you guys anyway?’
These tickets have been quite popular with cyclists. It may be that cyclists are interested in these tickets as a way to vent some of that anger which is inevitable due to the fact that the few bike lanes we have in Toronto are constantly blocked by cars. My own personal goal for this project was to try to diffuse that situation rather than intensify it. Not only for the sake of keeping my cool, but also to try to find a solution which works. Drivers seem to have pretty thick skins and are apparently unfazed by angry cyclists.
As the cyclist in the True Traffic Tales comic demonstrates, being idiotically polite might be worth a try. Of course, it’s much easier if the driver is not in the car but if (s)he is, this approach might work. Say ‘Hello’ in as pleasant a voice as possible. Hand the driver the ticket and say, ‘You’re parked in the bike lane. I’d appreciate it if you’d read this.’ Then, unless they want to talk, move on.
(If you would like us to send you some tickets leave a message with your name and full address at 392-7592.)
2) Sherbourne St. Bike Lanes
On June 10, City Council approved the proposed Sherbourne Street bike lanes. The matter comes back to City Services Committee for the statutory hearing on July 3, and to Council for final approval in mid-August. If approved the new bike lanes could be installed by the end of summer.
The Sherbourne Street design will be similar to Beverley Street. There will be parking on one side, a bike lane next to parking, two general traffic lanes, and a bike lane at the curb on the other side. The City will also install transit priority traffic signals at five intersections to minimize delays to buses under the new design.
3) Ontario Bicycle Conference - November 1996
by Will Wallace
The Second Ontario Bicycle Conference will be held at Toronto City Hall on Saturday, November 23, 1996, in conjunction with the Ontario Cycling Association’s Annual General Meeting. The OCA appreciates the support of its co-hosts, the Toronto City Cycling Committee, the Metro Cycling Committee and the Toronto Bicycle Network. Call the OCA at (416) 426-7244 for information. If you have a workshop idea, please submit a one page summary, including the names and contact info of speakers, by September 4 to the OCA (fax: 416-426-7349). Early registration before October 11 is $30 for OCA members and $40 for non-members. Hear what cyclists in other communities are getting excited about. Help launch new initiatives. Come be a part of building cycling in Ontario.
4) Intersection Has Moved!
Home of the CBN, T.O., TCAT, and Detour Publications, the Intersection has a hot new Bloor St. location, at 836 Bloor St.W., just two blocks east of Ossington. We are sharing space with the DEC Bookroom. Office hours for the summer are Wednesday to Saturday, 11 am to 6 pm. Call us for more info at 536-7999. The Community Bicycle Network will be holding mechanics training sessions for new and established volunteers every Wednesday 5-7 pm throughout July and August. Call Ashraf, Gillian or Maggie at 536-7999 for more information on how you can get involved.
5) Reflections on Bike To Work Week 1996
by Leslie Wood
It’s over. What a comedown! What do I do with my life now? What did I used to be interested in? These thoughts drift around my brain now that Bike To Work Week is over. It was good, I met lots of people and I think everyone had fun. Images come to mind of a middle aged man telling me proudly that he had ridden to work for the first time that week. Of kids on bikes, cyclists doing the Virginia Reel in the beautiful Toronto Historical Board and of the masses of choir members and commuters streaming into the shady green space of Trinity Square.
Some stories are only rumours ... rumours of seventy (70!!) people showing up for the Chinese Canadian Family Ride on the Sunday, and of the two teachers from Scarborough who rode 300 km to work, of beer kegs drained and television specials and radio spots I missed.
I feel a mix of relief and self criticism - ‘It would have been bigger/better if I had done...’ I suppose it is always this way, each year we learn and change. Any suggestions would be appreciated. But first the thank yous.
Thanks to all of you who came out and helped schlepp muffins, jugs of water, posters and flyers. Thanks to those who organized, gave us stuff, spoke, sang, came and played. You made the week exciting and new - for the seventh time! Bike To Work Week is about all of us celebrating a cyclist friendly city, and this year - province. Each of the twenty-nine events this Bike to Work Week/Bike Week brought the us one step closer to this dream. Congratulations.
6) The Workplace Sustainable Transportation Programme
by Daniel Cossarin
The Workplace Sustainable Transportation Programme helps individuals and work-places become more aware of what they can do to promote sustainable commuter options. These range from walking to in-line skating to cycling to transit to car pooling to telecommuting.
The Programme came into existence after a meeting last winter that brought together organizations and individuals concerned with sustainable commuter options. A network was formed and those involved identified the need for a coordinator to further the work of those in the network, through promotions, resources, information, networking and action. A newsletter is one of the initial resources to be offered, to be followed by a workplace guidebook, and a three-step customized workplace visit.
To find out more about the Programme, and to help your workplace make a change, call me at 392-1560(ext 85824).
7) Bikes Deliver
This summer, instead of spending your Saturday mornings circling the supermarket parking lot looking for a spot, or lugging home groceries under the hot sun, why not let yourself and the whole community breathe a little easier by walking or riding your bike to the supermarket, buying your groceries, and have them delivered to your door by a new bike delivery service? The Greenest City Bike Delivery Service, which will be available by the beginning of July at various supermarkets and businesses in the Annex, delivers groceries and other bulk items by bicycle. The service provides low cost and reliable delivery for Annex residents and at the same time cuts down on air pollution. Look for it where you shop or call us at 960-0026 for more information!
8) Sidewalk Riding
by Veronica Duczek
I’ve recently begun a new job, and invariably once my co-workers discover I’m an avid cyclist, I start to hear the lament, ‘It really bothers me when cyclists...’. Riding on the sidewalk always comes up.
Most cyclists know this act is illegal (unless your wheel size is 24 inches or smaller) but many continue to do it for whatever reason. I’d like to put forth some good reasons for getting off the sidewalk and getting back onto the road.
- There’s the fine. If you get caught you can expect to shell out $90 (City of Toronto Municipal Code, Chapter 400).
- Bike lanes. They were created especially for you.
- Pedestrians are incredibly unpredictable. You never know when they’re going to stop or change direction (and then they don’t even signal). Cars and other cyclists follow a traffic pattern and signal their intentions (most of the time).
- Because you’re not dodging pedestrians, you can go a lot faster on the road.
- You will be creating a positive image for cyclists by riding where you are supposed to.
- You will avoid confrontation with pedestrians who will encourage you not to ride on the sidewalk. I’ve been known to do a bit of ‘encouraging’ myself.
If you want to stop riding on the side-walk, but are a bit shy about riding on the road, then I heartily recommend a CAN-BIKE course to get you out on the road. Contact CAN-BIKE at 392-1311.
9) ReinCARnate Your Old Car
by Martin Collier
The Recycling Council of Ontario (RCO) is turning its sights on the environmental impacts associated with the disposal of 400,000 cars each year. Only 30% of all cars removed from Ontario roads are properly dismantled, reused or recycled. As a result, corroded steel, decaying rubber and 20 litres of operating fluids per car are contaminating the environment in which they are stored.
Approximately 75% of an automobile’s content by weight can be reused or recycled. Many working automotive components are refurbished and sold back to the public, auto garages or body shops at 20 to 50% off the price of a similar new part. Operating fluids are re-refined while other materials can be recycled into new products such as lawn mowers, backpacks, rubber boots and insulation. Call (416) 960-1025 or 1-888 CAR DIED outside of Metro.
10) Bicycles Exempt!
by Daniel Egan
The Department of Public Works and the Environment has recommended to Council that cyclists be exempted from right turn prohibitions, entry prohibitions and compulsory turn regulations at 85 locations within the city. The Commissioner states in his May 22, 1996 report that the intent of many of these traffic regulations ‘is to prevent infiltration into residential neighbourhoods by ‘motorized’ vehicular traffic. Cyclists, being subject to these prohibitions, are often unnecessarily prohibited from accessing many streets that are safe routes for them to travel along.’ This report which goes to Council on July 2, is in response to a request by the City Cycling Committee.
If approved by Council, ‘Bicycles Excepted’ tabs will be added to approxi-
mately 300 signs in the City. Public Works is also recommending that Metro Council be requested to exempt cyclists at an additional 37 locations on Metro arterials located within the City.
11) St. George Street Transformation
It will be a summer of disruption on St. George Street, but the end result will be well worth it. The street is being ripped up and rebuilt narrower, with wider sidewalks, many more trees and new pedestrian spaces. Here is how John Barber described the project in his June 11 Globe & Mail article.
- Some might remember St. George when it was a four-lane road. But when the city installed bike lanes there a few years back, it removed two full lanes of motor traffic by simply repainting the asphalt.
- ‘That was the real crunch’, city engineer John Niedra said. ‘That was done with paint, and it seems to work. Most people actually respect those lines.’
- In other words, removing half of the street’s theoretical capacity had little effect on motorists. ‘The speeds went down a bit, but the road carries about the same volumes’, Mr. Niedra said.
- The coming narrowing won’t hurt, either. It will simply force drivers to slow down and take care. Whatever minor inconvenience drivers experience will be offset by a much-improved view and huge gains for pedestrians.
- And this is what we call radical. Those who propose such measures are labelled ‘anti-car zealots’ who refuse to inhabit the ‘real world.’
- But once you make the effort, you discover it isn’t radical at all. You achieve major gain with negligible pain, and you begin to wonder why cities don’t leap at every chance to make similar gestures - to narrow roads, abolish one-way systems, make more bike lanes, relax parking standards, widen sidewalks and plant trees.
- Indeed, you end up realizing that the real radicals are the ones who insist on traffic capacity above all else. They’ve been in charge for so long they seem conventional. But the more established they become, the more radical their demands.
- By contrast, the St. George job represents a very modest attempt ‘to bring back a balance between cars and pedestrians,’ said James Brown, one of the architects helping to design the new streetscape.
- Balance, moderation, civility. Somehow, it still seems radical.’
12) For Cyclists and Pedestrians Only
by Daniel Egan
Metro Transportation Department will be installing a new traffic signal at the Oriole Parkway-Kilbarry Rd. intersection which will enable pedestrians and cyclists to cross Oriole Parkway while blocking through passage to automobiles. A centre median on Oriole Parkway will force drivers on Kilbarry Rd. to turn right onto Oriole Parkway. The traffic signal will be triggered by the presence of cyclists in the bike lane and/or by pedestrians pushing the pedestrian button.
The new signal is intended to improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists at this crossing and will assist in creating a more direct north-south route for cyclists from north Toronto to downtown. The innovative intersection design is in response to community concerns that a traffic signal would make it easier for unwanted traffic to cut through the neighbourhood on Kilbarry Rd. The new signal and redesigned intersection will likely be installed this fall.
13) Workshop on Wheels Summer Program
Catch the CBN’s Workshop on Wheels at outdoor events throughout the summer! CBN will be offering basic bike mechanics help, safety tips and info. Confirmed dates are July 14 and August 15 in Regent Park, but there will be many more. Call 323-0897 ext.1 for a schedule of events.
14) Toronto Bicycling Network
by Ed Clark
Can a recreational cycling club accommodate both beginners and hard riding high-mileage junkies? Can seasoned tourists find happiness in the same club as those who like short, leisurely rides with plenty of after ride socializing? In the Toronto Bicycling Network (TBN) the answer is yes!
TBN appeals to a wide variety of cyclists because they emphasize participation over performance, and fun above all else. For example, on Sundays the club often offers six different rides. Rides vary greatly in distance, speed, and attitude. They cover the range from short, leisurely jaunts to a picnic lunch to 160 kilometre high speed ‘hammers’. Many TBN rides start from downtown locations, or at the end of the subway lines. Other rides allow cyclists to enjoy the countryside while pedalling along quieter back roads.
TBN’s large membership, about 800, proves that the format works. A totally volunteer-run network since 1983, TBN encourages its members to organize rides, weekend cycling trips, social events, and other activities in addition to the long list of regular events. Events include rides, clinics and information nights covering topics such as: advanced riding skills, tour leading, changing flats, bike main-tenance, safety and defensive riding. Seasonal non-cycling activities include in-line skating, hiking, ice skating and cross-country skiing.
Interested in learning more about the Toronto Bicycling Network? Call the Hot Line (416) 760-3909, check out our web site at http://www.pathcom.com/~ricks/tbn.htm, or pick up a brochure in a bicycle store.
15) Peace Ride ’96
Peace Ride ‘96, organized by Artists Against Racism, will raise money for anti-racist groups across Canada and people caught in the crossfire of the conflict in Bosnia-Herze-govina through the work of CARE Canada. Scott Justasen and Vikash Bagla left Vancouver on July 1 intending to arrive in Newfoundland on August 29th, stopping at communities along the route to promote anti-racism. Come out and welcome them to Toronto as they roll into Nathan Phillips Square around August 1st. For more information about Peace Ride ‘96, call Lori Cherniak of Artists Against Racism at (416) 410-5631 or check out their web site at http://www.vrx.net/aar.
16) Tour d’Yonge Extends the Street Party
by Will Wallace
Thousands of people came to Yonge Street in Toronto on Saturday, June 8 to celebrate the BiCentennial of the world’s longest street. Now you can be a part of the extended street party by participating in the Tour d’Yonge. Communities the length of Yonge Street are set to welcome us. The 18-day tour leaves from Rainy River on Aug. 15 and the 6-day tour from Kirkland Lake on Aug. 27, converging on Toronto on Sept. 1. The registration deadline for the last day ride along Simcoe’s original road from Barrie to Toronto is August 16. The $50 fee includes transportation to Barrie for you and your bike, box lunch, T-shirt, insurance and end of ride reception. Call (416) 426-7242 for more information.
10) Gravy Dogs Host CMWC ‘96
14) See You at the Show
Cyclometer - April/May 1997
ResponseHelp from our Corporate FriendsCourtesy - Gone to the Dogs!Help from our Corporate FriendsResponseFatalities Draw Attention to Cycling IssuesSecond Annual Ontario Bicycle Conference Coming to City hall in NovemberBicycle Commuter Programme Plans for 1997 and 5 Years BeyondHealthy City Week ‘96S.P.A.C.E. Programme in Ward 14Police Bicycle Patrol Co-ordinator ReinstatedCity Hall Reacts to Cyclist FatalitiesThere's No Business Like Bike BusinessCyclometer - February/March 1997
1) New Bike Lanes!
Ahead in the Bike LaneTour d’Yonge Extends the Street PartyPeace Ride ’96Toronto Bicycling NetworkWorkshop on Wheels Summer ProgramFor Cyclists and Pedestrians OnlySt. George Street TransformationBicycles Exempt!ReinCARnate Your Old CarBikes DeliverThe Workplace Sustainable Transportation ProgrammeReflections on Bike To Work Week 1996Intersection Has Moved!Ontario Bicycle Conference - November 1996Sherbourne St. Bike LanesCyclists Ticket Cars Parked in Bike Lanes10) Bicycles Exempt!
Cyclometer - September/October 1996
17) Ahead in the Bike Lane
Every Monday, Song Cycles - rehearsal of the Choir On Bikes, 6:30 pm at 40 Oak St., 392-1556.
NightRiders, Rides on first Tuesday and third Wednesday of each month, call 210-0538 and then enter 538-8864 for ride info.
Jul 16, Education & Enforcement Subcommittee, 6:30 pm, Committee Room 1, City Hall
July 26, Critical Mass Ride, 5:30 pm., meet on Temperance St., 2 blocks south of Queen between Bay and Yonge.
Aug. 14, Metro Cycling and Pedestrian Committee, 6:30 pm, Metro Hall, 55 John St.
Aug. 19, Metro Cycling Security/Safety Education Sub-Committee, 7:00 pm, Metro Hall.
Aug. 21, Metro Cycling Network Planning Sub-Committee, 7:00 pm, Room 313, Metro Hall.
Aug. 30, Critical Mass Ride, 5:30 pm., same location as July 26 above.
Sep. 10, City Cycling Committee meeting, 7:00 pm, City Hall, Committee Room 5.
CAN-BIKE Hotline: 392-1311
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