December 28, 2015

Twelve Days of Bicycles - Seven Pots A Planting

Being involved with cycling advocacy requires keeping up with the latest urban planning jargon such as mid-rise buildings, cycle tracks, protected intersections, walkable communities, and transit-oriented development. Among these topics, there is another which unites them all and is currently being reviewed by the City of Toronto (and elsewhere) known as Complete Streets.
avenue Thiers in Bordeaux

December 21, 2015

Twelve Days of Bicycles - Eight Curbs A Calming

Originally developed in the Netherlands, protected intersections – consisting of four traffic islands and forward stop lines to guide cyclists safely – have recently started to gain ground in North American cities as a complement to separated bike lanes. While not yet introduced in Toronto, local cyclists there are already calling for protected intersections and Mobycon hosted an intersection design workshop on October 2, 2015. To get a Toronto perspective on protected intersections, I interviewed George Liu, MES (Pl), a Statistics Research Assistant with the Toronto Cycling Think & Do Tank and Masters Candidate in Human Factors Engineering who attended the workshop.
A simple sketch of what a protected intersection looks like

December 19, 2015

Twelve Days of Bicycles - Six Noodles Swaying

If there is one reason why cyclists should never be underestimated, it is for their creativity. One such instance occurred when the Ontario government approved Bill 31, a part of the first #CycleON action plan. The changes included increased fines for distracted driving and dooring cyclists, legalizing paved shoulders and contraflow bike lanes, and requiring drivers to give at least one metre of space when passing cyclists.[1] The last item was advocated by Parkdale High Park MPP Cheri DiNovo since 2010 and was a recommendation in the June 2012 Ontario Coroner’s Report.

December 17, 2015

Twelve Days of Bicycles - Five Flashing Lights

Critical Mass – a large group ride where cyclists take over public roads – began in San Francisco in 1992 and has been done in over 300 cities around the world.[1] In recent years, Critical Mass has been on the decline in Toronto given its maturing cycling culture; reflected by numerous other group rides available, infrastructure improvements, and other bike related programs. One ride I attended last year saw only 20 – 30 people take part, while hundreds were reported to have attended in the past. As a way to keep the idea alive, the Cycle Toronto Ward 14 Advocacy Group started a series of “Mini Mass” rides. 
Mini Mass gathered on Roncesvalles Avenue

December 14, 2015

Twelve Days of Bicycles - Three Book Rides

For Toronto’s cyclists, there is no shortage of group rides to choose from; ranging from Bells on Bloor rallies with 1500 cyclists to smaller food rides. There is one group ride which stands out and combines my two favourite activities – cycling and reading – which is called The Reading Line.
Ribbon cutting at Book City

December 08, 2015

Twelve Days of Bicycles - Four Lake Shore Spans

From my building in Liberty Village to where the Martin Goodman Trail ends at Norris Crescent, I pass or cross four cycling bridges at Jameson, Roncesvalles, Humber River, and Park Lawn. From Norris to where the trail resumes at First Street, cyclists have to use Lake Shore Boulevard; a busy arterial road not appealing to most recreational users. To remedy this issue, there are plans to install a 1.4 kilometre bi-directional cycle track on the south side of Lake Shore. A public consultation was held this evening at the New Toronto Library with city staff available to answer residents’ concerns.

December 04, 2015

Twelve Days of Bicycles - Two Legal Friends

Among Toronto’s cycling community, there are two prominent lawyers you should get to know. The first is Albert Koehl, who helped start the annual Bells on Bloor rides and was a past Toronto city council candidate. The second is Patrick Brown, whom I interviewed for this post. He is a partner with McLeish Orlando - a Toronto critical injury law firm - and offers legal advice to cyclists and their families involved in bicycle-vehicle collisions.
Patrick Brown at the 2015 Skill Swap (SOURCE: Cycle Toronto)

December 02, 2015

Twelve Days of Bicycles - A Bike Lane on Bloor Street

With the Christmas season here, it’s time to get out the eggnog and carol books! It also means the end of another exciting year for Toronto’s cycling community. So how can one pay tribute to this vibrant community while in a festive mood? When a fellow advocate (Peter) recently sent me some information on Vision Zero, it gave me an idea. With one of my favourite Christmas carols being “The Twelve Days of Christmas”, I present to you “The Twelve Days of Bicycles” and the first verse … a bike lane on Bloor Street!