Monday, June 23, 2008

Guaranteed Bike Lane, Or how we tried to save cyclists and learned to love illegally parked cars

The plan was simple, a little bit of fun for bike month, yes that thing is still going on and to make sure that cyclists get to work safely. The idea was to meet at the corner of Spadina and College and deploy parking cones around any motorist foolhardy enough to park in a bike lane. The cones would act as a buffer for cyclists and move traffic over as far as the parked car dictated. We were going to meet at the afore mentioned spot at 8am sharp. I was late.

When i arrived I saw a bright neon sign proclaiming “Guaranteed Bike Lane!” and three sad looking ARC members. Martin Reis, Rick “birthday boy” Conroy and Stephen Targett. “Why so glum chums?” I asked. It was already 8:15 and not one car had stopped in the bike lane.

I was shocked, not one car. But this was College and Spadina, this was one of the worst stretches of the city for cars parking in the bike lane and not one had stopped? Had I accidently woken in another city, perhaps Copenhagen or Cornwall? No, there was a Tim Horton's across the street and every once in awhile a TTC street car would trundle by, so this was definitely Toronto.

We waited hopefully for a car to stop we discussed what the possibilities could be. The first one was the most obvious. We were sharing a collective dream in which cars no longer stopped in the bike lane. But if this was a dream would we not have all dreamt that cars did not exist? So there had to be a CAA mole inside ARC, a mole that had warned all car drivers of our blitz.

As we discussed these permutations happy cyclists streamed by in ever increasing numbers, most smiling and waving. I am sure that most of them thought it was us that had saved them from the dangers of cars pared in the bike lane, but we could not take credit. Curse you CAA mole, I will find out who you are for destroying our direct action.

Then the miraculous happened. A cab stopped in the bike lane. We stared at it dumbfounded. What were we doing again. Oh yes, right, deploy the cones, deploy the cones, oh happy day! The cab drove off.

At 9am, Anne an ARC member rolled up and asked how things were progressing. We told her of our depressing action so far. She told us to go to Gerrard and Bay where the bike lane there was filled with drivers flaunting the law.

Hmmm.....Gerrard and Bay, that seemed like a long way to go on the chance that there might be cars parked in the bike lane. It was getting late and we had things to do and I was actually pretty hungry from all the inactivity that we had been doing all morning.

But we relented because we felt bad for Martin because of the pounding that Germany was going to get from Portugal in the Euro cup. So off we went down College street scanning the bike lanes for prey and it wasn't long before we found it.

Perched half way on the sidewalk was a Canada Post truck. This one's for you Darren, we cried out and descended on the vehicle with an almost religious zeal. We deployed our cones and waited happily on the sidewalk for the first cyclist to ride safely by.

It wasn't long for a cyclist to ride by and it wasn't long after that that we realized that we had to put our sign up to tell cyclists why we were there. Cyclist after cyclist rode by and smiled, some waved as they felt the safety of the situation. How ritcheous we felt because we could finally stand proud with our pylons and know that at least for a few minutes we had made the city safe for cyclists.

We marveled at the power of the pylon and how it averted traffic around them. Even a giant dump truck frantically changed lanes as to not feel the wrath of our little cones. We waited for the driver of the postal truck to come out, bikes rode by us on the sidewalk. This action prompted some of us to comment that perhaps next time we should do a guaranteed sidewalk.

The Postal worker came out and looked at his truck surrounded by safety cones. "Where the hell do you want me to park!"

Not in the bike lane, my friend, not in the bike lane.

With our work now done and our tummies growling in displeasure, we rode off west, knowing that we, for at least a small moment in time had made the bike lanes safe for cyclists.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Ford seeks new emergency spare tire

Dearborn, MI (AP)- The Ford Motor Company announced this morning that it is seeking proposals for a new spare tire for its 2009 line of vehicles. The design specifications sought proposals that incorporated two spoked wheels, seat and chain. Confused reporters asked how the requested design would replace the traditional spare tire normally carried in the trunk of the vehicle. They said it appeared that Ford was essentially asking for a bicycle design. Late in the day Ford issued a terse statement stating that, "Ford wants all of its vehicles to remain relevant to its customers even in the event of a prolonged gas shortage". They declined to answer any further questions.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

City encourages drivers to ride their bike on the DVP

A spy camera got this one. The sign reads, "TORONTO BIKE MONTH, JOIN IN AND COMMUTE BY BICYCLE". I guess the City is taking it's cue from CM's ride last month on the Gardiner. No word if bike lanes are planned for the DVP.

Friday, June 06, 2008

O.U.R.S. - Italian style

Here is the Italian version of O.U.R.S. at work during a CM. They have mechanized the process using a bicycle. To read the whole story please visit Chris Carlsson's superb blog.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Help finish Alan’s ride.

On the morning of June 8th, 2007 Alan Tamane left for work. His family was expecting to see him again that evening. They never did. He was killed by a City of Toronto truck while riding his bicycle to work.

Alan’s loss was devastating to his wife Amanda and four children along with being a huge loss to the community. Alan was the epiphany of devotion to family, friends, co-workers and the community.

Alan devoted more time to his family than there was time in a day. When his daughter was diagnosed with Kabuki Syndrome he became an advocate for her and the disabled. He became a soccer team coach when he found out his son wanted to play soccer. During each of his wife’s four pregnancies he gained weight in sympathy. Alan supported his wife in her demanding career as a police officer, together they offered a free Judo program to community children at the Police College. He devoted some of the same energy for his co-workers, becoming a vocal union steward in his workplace. His devotion to anything that he was involved in was apparent to anyone that met him and it made him many friends. When Alan thought about the future for his children he knew he had to work at helping the environment. That is when he decided to ride his bicycle to work year round.

On June 8th, 2008, family, friends and cyclists will ride together to symbolically complete Alan’s final ride. This is both to commemorate Alan’s life and in his spirit bring attention to the risks faced by cyclists on Bayview Ave.

The ride will leave the Bayview Arena (Finch and Bayview) southern most parking lot at 11am and follow what is believed to be Alan’s intended route that day to Sunny Brook. Alan’s employer has arranged for an area for cyclists to gather after the ride where a few words will be said by friends and family. Alan’s 10-year-old daughter Michiko will conclude the ride with a song for her father.


June 8th, 2008. Main ride leaves Bayview Arena (north west corner of Finch and Bayview) southern most parking lot at 11am expecting to arrive at Sunnybrook at approximately 12 noon.

From the Finch Subway station the start location is about a 10 minute ride.

For cyclists riding from the Downtown area we will meet at Spadina and Bloor St for a 915 am departure.

For more info on the ride - Advocacy for Respect for Cyclists - Darren 416-707-4744

For info on Sunnybrook ICES Bicycle Users Group Brandon - 647-887-0633

The ICES BUG is advocating for a Bayview Avenue bikelane from Sheppard to
Eglinton and is actively engaged with Councillor Jenkins as part of the of
the Ward 25 Cycling Advisory Committee.

ARC (Advocacy for Respect for Cyclists) is a group which formalizes the principle of cyclists standing up for each other.