Sunday, August 30, 2009

No helmet? - Maybe there is hope

First Graduating Class of Charlie's Freewheels

Class of 2009. Kids build their own bikes for keeps.
In memory of Charlie Prinsep

Friday, August 28, 2009

New Dandyhorse Magazine On The Way


Photo (left); Publisher and occasional Meter Maid, Tammy Thorne, writing a ticket to a driver parked in the bike lane on College.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Update on Ottawa Cyclists

OTTAWA — Five more criminal charges have been laid against the Ottawa man accused of driving into five cyclists on March Road in Kanata July 19.

Sommit Luangpakham, 45, is to appear in Ottawa court Wednesday on five counts of dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing bodily harm.

Luangpakham had been released on $55,000 bail and several strict conditions after he was initially charged under the Criminal Code with five counts of failing to stop at the scene of an accident causing bodily harm.

Robert Wein, Mark White, Hilary McNamee, Cathy Anderson and Rob Harland were riding in the bike lane on the northbound side of March Road near Solandt Road when they were struck around 8 a.m. that morning.

Wein — the most seriously injured cyclist — was still in hospital, though he had recently been transferred out of the Civic hospital's intensive care unit.

The other cyclists are recovering from their injuries.

Update: The driver was found guilty - (CBC)

A Conflict?

via adbusters

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Courier Always Bites Twice

By David Beckett, Calgary
A real bike courier film.

(Caution: Brief nudity and lotsa swearing) Fun

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Bicycle Film Festival Memories

It's The Design, Stupid!

Lakeshore and Ontario Place.
Don't get me wrong, re-routing the Martin Goodman Trail was a good idea but the design has to be right. Already I am hearing reports of people being cut off by drivers making the dreaded right hand turn on a red light onto Lakeshore. As you can see in the photos there is no signage to yield to pedestrian and/or bicycle traffic.

Not needed?
Yeah, right!

We already know that drivers cause most of the collisions between cyclists, pedestrains and cars, but bad design is also a root cause of the whole mess of infra-structure we find ourselves in.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

VEER - Cool New Film at CineCycle

Want to learn more about the Zoobombers? Sprockettes? Cycling activism in the States? Come have a beer and watch a movie with fellow cyclists, friends, TCAT and it's member groups.

VEER. TCAT (Toronto Coalition for Active Transportation) presents an award winning documentary on cycling activism. Date: Thursday, August 27th, 2009. 8 PM. 8 $. CineCycle, 129 Spadina Avenue.

The Toronto Coalition for Active Transportation is proud to present Veer, a full-length documentary on community based cycling activism through five main protagonists. There will be drinks and expresso available at the bar.

The film has received numerous awards, including Best Documentary at CUFF and a nomination for Best Documentary at the San Joaquin International Film Festival. Cinematographer Jason Turner recalls, “in Feb the film played the Victoria Film Festival where it sold out its first screening, and was the only film to have a second screening added which also sold out with as many people waiting outside as got in to see it”. So, if you want a chance to see Veer in Toronto, line up early for our August 27th screening at CineCycle, at 8 PM.

Thursday Aug 27 2009 | 8 pm
Admission $8
CineCycle Coach House Micro Cinema
129 Spadina Ave
416 971 4273

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

My Near-death Experience - By Kyle G. Brown

(From the Opinion section in the Globe and Mail)
August 11, 2009 | My near-death experience

I lay on the street, disoriented and in shock. The van not only ran me off
my bike, it dragged me 100 metres

Lying dazed on a downtown street, I looked up at the moving clouds. As I
began to focus, I saw a vast, empty road with vague figures in the distance.

I had been riding my bike to do interviews for a pilot radio show. The roads
were dry and the wind was with me. But as I powered ahead, one question kept
nagging me: What is this van doing so close to me?

It was narrowing the already slim space to the curb, leaving me with little
room. Then, after pulling away from an increasingly erratic driver, I turned
to see he was coming straight at me. There was no time to move.

The truck not only ran me over, it dragged me under it – for 100 metres or
so – before finally coming to a stop.

I knew none of this as I lay there, disoriented. I was thinking, “Phew, I'm
not sure what happened there, but I'm probably late now. I'd better find my
bike and get a move on.”

But as I tried to get up, my head bobbed up and down uselessly as my body
remained pasted to the pavement.

The initial shock gave way to the sick, dawning realization that something
horrible had just happened. I tried to move my legs. Nothing. How about my
feet? Not a twitch. Nothing moved. I slipped into a still and silent panic.
Am I paralyzed?

Finally I tested my fingers and watched them type on an imaginary keyboard,
as though they belonged to someone else. My life may be forever altered, but
at least I could write.

So there I lay, in the middle of the street, on my back, typing in the air.

The list of injuries was long. It ranged from the almost comically clinical
“degloving” of one leg – being shorn of skin and flesh – to fractures in the
other. My pelvis, two vertebrae and five ribs were broken. My chest had been
punctured, allowing air to rush into the cavity surrounding my lungs, which
would explain why I was gasping for air when the paramedics came.

As doctors in the intensive-care unit described my injuries, I listened from
deep inside my drugged stupor. I asked for a pen and paper to keep track,
“because,” I said, “we'll probably forget otherwise.”

It was a rare source of amusement for friends who stood around my bed in a
state of collective worry. My dad struggled to contain himself in the corner
of the room.

Some weeks later the doctor paused at the foot of my hospital bed, eyed me
and held out his thumb and forefinger close together. “You came this close
to dying,” he said.

In the ensuing weeks I set aside such thoughts of life and death in favour
of the ephemera that filled the books and newspapers that littered the room.
The mess was a source of wonder and work for the nurses – my nurses, men and
women of awe-inspiring strength, stamina and stoicism; the nurses who
shifted, lifted, carried and cleaned my emaciated body, who dressed my
wounds and brought drugs and water to my fluorescent-lit island.

But they would be complicit in efforts to get me out of bed, too. A rehab
regimen was announced long before I was in the mood to move. I had
everything I needed beside my bed, and yet I was told it would be a good
idea to get up and try dragging myself across the room on a high walker.

As I gained strength I drove more advanced vehicles. Late one morning I
bounced myself to the edge of the bed and into a big black wheelchair. I
rolled down the hall, into the elevators and downstairs, undetected.
Delirious with my newfound freedom, I crossed the street and, in the middle
of the road, the wheels got caught in the streetcar tracks, jolting me to a
sudden halt, almost throwing me from the chair.

To my right, a streetcar was heading straight at me. From out of nowhere, a
man rushed over and pushed me to the other side.

One year on, the driver who ran me over has yet to be tried. If convicted,
he faces a maximum fine of $120 for making an unsafe turn.

But my fury isn't focused on him as much as on a society that honours
pseudo-virtues of comfort and convenience at the altar of the automobile.
It's directed at people who profess a love for the environment while driving
distances a brief bike ride away. My ire is aimed at commentators who
characterize the building of bike lanes as part of the “war on cars.”

A year later, I'm back on my bike and the roads seem every bit as dangerous.
Vehicles career in and out of lanes without seeing or signalling. Where
close calls used to be part of the fun of a real-life video game, they now
trigger visceral fear and rage.

But a thought occurs to me, which is enough to dilute, if not banish, the
bile. Those less lucky than I am lie in graves. Or they're so disfigured as
to be robbed of normal speech, movement or thought. Only a moment of grace
or good luck saved me from a similar fate.

This thought returns as I walk the halls of the hospitals I called home for
two months, and now back at my flat, where therapists help me revivify mind
and body. And yet, I hold back from sharing with them the intense gratitude
that risks reducing me to a puddle of messy emotion.

In the meantime, shorthand words of thanks will have to do.

*Kyle G. Brown lives in Toronto.*

Six Months Ago ...

I 'almost' miss winter ...

Sunday, August 16, 2009


Two cyclists hurt in hit-and-run

The Ottawa Citizen August 16, 2009

OTTAWA — A hit-and-run 20 kilometres north of Gatineau sent two male cyclists to hospital early Sunday morning.

According to MRC des Collines de l'Outaouais police, two Gatineau males, aged 19 and 21, were struck by a red vehicle, possibly a Hyundai Accent, at the intersection of Highways 366 and 307 at 1:20 a.m. Sunday.

The 21-year-old suffered two broken ribs and the 19-year-old is being treated for a broken leg and finger. Neither cyclist’s injuries are life-threatening, said police.
The two cyclists had been on their way to visit a friend, said police.

Ah, Ottawa. You got a real problem, don't you? Better hand out some more tickets to cyclists, eh?
Five cyclists injured in hit & run

I got an idea. How about a zero tolerance policy?
You hit a cyclist or pedestrian you lose your license.
Forever. Period.

Sixth Anniversary of the Blackout Video

Sixth Anniversary Blackout Party Toronto from Tino on Vimeo.

August the 14th, 2009. Torontonians enjoyed a street celebration to commemorate the big blackout of 2003 on Ossington Avenue. The street was filled with happiness and live music. After a procession north to Dundas street, local activist group the Public Squares installed Pra├ža Portugal | Portugal Square in honour of the local Portuguese community.
Then they turned off the street lights and we all danced.

A night to remember. (runtime 15 minutes)

Friday, August 07, 2009

Monday, August 03, 2009

New film by Benny Zenga

The film we shown at the Toronto Bicycle Film Festival ... go see it!

So Stupid It Hurts

(Photo from the US; driver plows into a bike race in progress.)

After the tragic hit-run near Ottawa which left 5 cyclists badly injured and one still in critical condition plus two other cyclists maimed later that week one of which died, Ottawa Police did the logical thing: crack down on cyclists.

The safety campaign, says Sgt. D’Aoust, is intended to prevent future accidents. The tickets were anything from bicycling on sidewalks, rules of the road such as stop signs, red-light-running, going the wrong way on a one-way street, not having a bell, improper bicycle lighting, or for vehicles, opening the door improperly as well as failing to share the road with cyclists, cutting them off,” the sergeant said.

Most of the tickets went to cyclists, he said, but he didn’t have precise numbers available (bullshit!) Sunday.

The campaign started when police received a lot of complaints of cyclists riding on downtown sidewalks and not following rules of the road. But we targeted both cyclists and vehicles. In fact, I was almost hit by a (car) door opening on Tuesday. He gave the driver a ticket for that one."

Translation: Cops and society have no clue what to do about those pesky cyclists dying so let's make all of us feel better by blaming the victim. In a nutshell, you ride a bike and some drunk or distracted driver smacks into you, well, serves you right for riding on the road. And a targeted Police campaign ain't gonna change that especially one aimed at cyclists. Cyclists aren't the problem. Our car-centric society is.

Toronto Police have been trying for years to no effect.