Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Time to stop giving bicyclists a free ride? (National Post)

Actually, the National Post today got it backwards.

High time to stop giving motorists a free ride.

If the columnist had done their research as Todd Litman did for the Victoria Transportation Policy Institute ...
... he would have discovered that cyclists pay more than their fair share to use public roads, which are paid through general taxes regardless of their travel habits.

My Bike Lane


Monday, September 28, 2009

BLD was a year early Your Honour.

BLD readers were way ahead of everybody else. They knew back in January of last year that Mayor Miller would be toast.


Toronto Bikes 2008

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

Images from Bike Month 2008. Looking back now this was my favourite bike month ever.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Right Down The Middle (NYC)

Pedal Power on the CBC - Excellent!!!

Got to see it and all I can say it's brilliant!

Pedal Power on CBC's Doc Zone
Thursday September 24, 2009 at 8 pm on CBC-TV
Repeating: Friday September 25, 2009 at 10 pm ET/PT on CBC Newsworld

It's an exploration of the sudden importance of cycling in the city. From Toronto to Vancouver, Montreal, New York, Paris and Amsterdam, what's happening with bike lanes, bike security, cyclist safety and the phenomenon of public bicycle systems. All wrapped around the strange case of Igor Kenk, the infamous Bike King of Queen Street, and accused "biggest bike thief in the world".

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Please help Darcy Allan Sheppard's Family - Updated

The Toronto Bike Messenger Association has established a memorial fund for funeral arrangements and to give support to his children. Donations are being accepted at tobma.com via Paypal and in person at any TD Canada Trust location. 

Please reference Darcy Alllan Sheppard and/or account number 06906676860 to donate in person.

There will be a fundraising event on Saturday, September 26th 2009
Doors open at 9pm $10 or pay what you can at Sneaky Dee's
431 College (College & Bathurst)

More information: We are going to have silent auction and Karoke. 
T-shirts, stickers, pins, and spoke cards will be for sale. 
The door will be ten dollar or pay what you can. 
Great Lakes will be helping us out with beer. 

Hope to see you there, 
Check tobma.com for updated information or join this Facebook event http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=125621767851 to get an update. You are all invited, please come if you can

Thank you,
members of the tobma

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Hit & Run

Hit & Run, originalmente cargada por Tal Bright.

Says it all!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Car Free Day Events Sept. 20 & Sept. 22

Tuesday September 22, 11am to 4pm,  Carfree Hart House Circle (the usual fun) part of Earthcycle Environment week at UofT ------then ---- 5pm gather at South Gates of Trinity Bellwoods Park with Samba Elegua and the Kensington Horns ---- 6pm, 5th annual Parade down Queen St.

or 6pm Critical Mass bike ride, starting from the usual spot at Bloor and Spadina, then joining the Parade on Queen West.

Update: PHOTOS

Car Free Day Critical Mass Tuesday

This Tuesday (Sept. 22)
Bloor and Spadina

Artwork by Mona Caron, SF

Friday, September 18, 2009

Making Cycling Irresistible (by John Pucher and Ralph Buehler)

Another fine article by these two Rutgers scholars.

I wonder if Obama is listening.

Falling Far Far Behind ... Since Being Number One In 1995

Bicycling Magazine Names Toronto the Best Cycling City In North America (1995)
By Daniel Egan, Barb Wentworth and Sue Zielinski - CyclometerWow! Bicycling Magazine chose our city as the best cycling city in North America. In their November-December issue, Scott Martin writes, ‘The blend of programs, ridership and natural amenities sets Toronto apart from the other surveyed cities.’ He also attributes our success to the city’s vibrant mix of business and neighbourhoods, a progressive local government, the 20-year-old City Cycling Committee and a dynamic, diverse cycling community.
We’d like to emphasize this last point - Toronto’s dynamic, diverse cycling community. Toronto cyclists can take credit for winning this award. In the words of Andy Clarke of the Bicycle Federation of America who visited in April this year, ‘there are a hell of a lot of people riding bikes.’ And a hell of a lot of you have worked hard to make this a cycling city. Thanks to all of you who have organized in your communities and workplaces; who have encouraged your City Councillors to support cycling programs; and who lead by example by transporting yourselves (and lots of other things) by bike.
Ironically, Bicycling touts Toronto’s BUG network as an example of our non-hierarchical approach to getting things done, yet in the same breath suggest that our submission to them was prepared by Daniel Egan and his staff. In fact, we too work in a non-hierarchical fashion, as a team of equals, each with our own areas of responsibility. That’s always been one of our strengths. We work together, and we work for you, the cyclists of Toronto.
We have come a long way in the past decade and we are proud of Bicycling Magazine’s recognition. But we’re still a long way from our destination. There is so much more to do. We look forward to working with all of you to get there - to a truly bike friendly city.

Top 10 Cycling Cities in North America:
2. Portland, Oregon
3. Tucson, Arizona
4. Madison, Wisconsin
5. Seattle, Washington
6. Denver, Colorado
7. Eugene, Oregon
8. Ottawa, Ontario
9. Phoenix, Arizona
10. Vancouver, B.C.
Source; http://www.toronto.ca/cycling/cyclometer/cyclometerNovDec_1995.htm#1

As of 2009, Toronto no longer even makes the list: http://www.good.is/post/sorry-portland/.
The article doesn't even mention Vancouver ... Plus an update from down south

The Etch-A-Sketch Bike Map of Toronto


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Marcos Valle 'Bicicleta' (1984)

Vintage Bicycle Video Cheese. This was hit in Brasil, really.

Sixty-two Miles Of Separated Bike Lanes for Buenos Aires by 2011

That's about the same as all the bike lanes in Toronto right now.

Well, lets hope this kid will see that sort of commitment to cycling in his lifetime in Toronto.

The news appeared on Treehugger

Photo by Yvonne Bambrick from the 2009 Contact Exhibition
'DIY - The Revolution starts with you'

Bob Mionske In Bicycling Writes About Darcy Allan Sheppard

An excellent article appeared in Bicycling about the killing of Allan Sheppard ... Read here
Image 'Bike Path' by Henri Duhamel

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Meanwhile in Copenhagen

Bicycle Commuter Superhighways in Copenhagen

The City of Copenhagen is currently planning to expand the existing, extensive network of bike lanes to extend farther out into the suburbs. A network of 13 high-class routes - 'bicycle superhighways' if you will - dedicated to bicycle commuters and aimed at encouraging more to cycle to work. Currently 55% of the citizens in central Copenhagen ride a bicycle daily and the number is 37% for Greater Copenhagen. 
The routes will be developed on the existing bike lanes but they will have a number of improved features, according to the City's vision: Smooth, even surfaces free of leaves, ice and snow. As direct as possible with no detours. Homogenous visual expression, for example, with signage and the trademark blue bike lanes through larger intersections. 'Service stations' with air and tools along the routes. Possibility to maintain a high speed and with sufficient width to overtake other cyclists.


A dose of sanity from BBC Radio in response to mandatory bike helmet legislation ...

IMPROVING BICYCLE SAFETY without making helmet-use compulsory

The European Cyclists Federation published this article a while back which is quite useful as to why helmets are not mandatory for all cyclists in most parts of Europe

Bicycle Bicycle Bicycle

via Janet Bike Girl

Another Idea: Give Every Cyclists Gets Five bucks!

Peter Kuitenbrouwer (National Post)
"The television sets of reporters in the City Hall Press Gallery yesterday were all tuned to a grim spectacle going on in Committee Room 1: councillor upon councillor going mano a mano with Yvonne Bambrick of the Toronto Cyclists Union. They called cyclists every name in the book while debating two resolutions by Councillor Michael Walker to regulate and control cyclists: one to force them to wear helmets (an idea that is laughable in the cycling-friendly countries of the world) and one to license them.

The tone of the proceeding mystified me. Why do councillors want to attack cyclists? Cyclists don't pollute, and they save our health care system millions by remaining fit and healthy. They take up perhaps a tenth the space of a motorist, meaning the more cyclists there are, the less gridlock on our streets. The motorists who remain have more space and more parking. Bikes don't wear out roads or bridges or make potholes bigger. When cyclists run into pedestrians, they don't pose a fraction of the threat of an automobile hitting someone.

I have a better idea for a city program. I think the city should hire people to stand on College Street or Harbord Street, or Dundas Street East -- routes crowded with thousands of cycling commuters -- and, as the cyclists wait at a red light, hand each of them a $5 bill."


Note: ARC did this for Bike Week back in 2001 although we had to limit ourselves to a loonie and a thank you card. Now, that's what I call respect!

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Toronto Star Gets It Right!

Nice article in The Star about cyclist's rights

Good reminder.

Photo by Hamish Wilson.

Then a couple days later they get it wrong asking in an editorial that all cyclists must wear bike helmets by law. Oh, well.

Bike Lane Diary on Twitter

After several friends suggested it, BLD is on on Twitter.
See you there ...

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Baby Dreams

via Bike Refugee


Car Culture

Andrew Cash in NOW Magazine, September 2009
"Car culture is voracious in its appetite: oil, roads, parking lots, police intervention, court resources, health care for broken bodies, bailouts. It’s relentless and will stop at nothing, not even a little bike lane on Bloor."

Friday, September 11, 2009

The Tour de France Prank

Le Depart Video Stills & Video

We need more cyclists not more car drivers

Laura Robinson, Special to The Province | September 7, 2009
How do we share the road? It's a question we must seriously address in the wake of an incident in Toronto this week that left cyclist Darcy Allan Sheppard dead and former Ontario attorney general Michael Bryant charged with criminal negligence causing death and dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death.
If there is enough evidence that a crime has occurred, the Ministry of the Attorney General is involved, which is why this story is emblematic for cyclists of the long road we still must ride. If the person who was until recently responsible for the protection of cyclists' rights to a safe environment under the Ontario Highway Safety Act can end up in this situation, what does it say about how cycling is understood at the top of the decision-making food chain?
We mourn the needless death of Darcy Allan Sheppard, who died of severe head injuries after witnesses say he was slammed into a mailbox and run over. We know Sheppard had been drinking and was so belligerent at his girlfriend's home that the police were called. She says she wanted the police to drive him home, but they sent him on his bike. Bryant has stated he is innocent.
The Ontario Highway Traffic Act clearly states that bicycles are vehicles, and cyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as automobile drivers. It is up to the justice system to find guilt.
But the essential dialogue and debate around why roads and public space must be shared, and how we design our environment in ways that embrace other forms of transportation beyond those propelled by the combustion engine, is in its infancy.
The car is just over 100 years old, yet we design cities as if it is fundamental to human existence, and of far greater importance than the human body. If there is anything to be gained by this tragedy, it will be the impetus for real legislative changes, not just in transportation law, but mainly in municipal planning.
In 1992 I wrote virtually these exact words after London cyclist and renowned artist Greg Curnoe was killed and others seriously injured when a pick-up truck drove through a pack of cyclists on a clear November day on an empty road. But nothing happened after Greg's death, except that London became a far more dangerous place to ride a bike.
I wish North America was ready for real discussions on what is essentially the right of human beings to be able to move through time and public space propelled without metal, glass and an engine surrounding us, but with a deep and sensual understanding of the beautiful ways in which bodies can move with strength and speed.
The automobile has long been a vehicle in which male egos play out their assumed worth. Cars are the perfect substitute for all a man, and to a lesser extent a woman, imagines he or she is lacking; this manufactured insecurity is why cars sell so well. And anyone who has observed countless men on bicycles will know that this insecurity has simply been transferred onto a bike for many two-wheeled devotees. Like others who ride their bikes daily, I am amazed that I am still alive given how many times a motorized vehicle has had me in its crosshairs.
On the other hand, with several decades of experience as a cyclist in Toronto, I can't count the times a male cyclist, whom I have just passed, felt the need to run a red light, or commit some other dangerous act just so he can pretend he wasn't passed by "a girl."
The upcoming Bicycle Summit in Waterloo will bring together those of us who care deeply about the quality of our lives as human beings who transport our bodies by pedal power, with politicians and decision-makers. The latter must understand that we need to provide opportunities to everyone to be very physically active. Choosing to ride a 40-kilometre commute daily should be fun, not impossible. That way we create new cyclists, not new car drivers.
Robinson is a former member of the national cycling team

ARC Memorial For Harold Donald Biledeau, 66

Created with flickrSLiDR.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Ghost Bike For Allan Sheppard

Installed by ARC (Advocacy for Respect for Cyclists) September 7, 2009

More photos

ARC Memorial for Harold Donald Bilodeau, 66

Meet Thursday Sept 10 at 7 pm, parkette at the corner of Spadina and Bloor, for a brief ride south to the crash site, departing by 7:15. Flowers will be laid and

and there will a minute of silence in his memory.

Wrong Mr. Perischilli (by Wayne Scott)

Wayne's response to a dumb article in the The Star

(Part A)

#1 - The horrific events of last week should not be centered around what you call the "Bryant incident" but rather "the tragic death of Darcy Allan Sheppard". #2 - Maybe the reason your priorities are so skewed is that all the people within your sphere of contact react to this horrific event by "talking about their own road experiences and the difficulties they've had in dealing with the increasing aggressiveness of some cyclists". Perhaps you need more contact with the real world, not just the contrived one viewed by your peers mainly through a windshield. #3 - "The car pollutes and the car is big." These are relative facts, not as you suggest, perceptions. #4 - Cyclists are correct in thinking they own the roads, because they do. Just as much as motorists. In fact, when our streets were first built, there were no cars. And when Toronto's streets were first paved, it was to aid cyclists, as there were still no cars.

Part B

#5 - "They (bikes) slow down the traffic because it's hard to pass them on a narrow street and if you dare to swerve to avoid a pothole or a cat..." Cyclists are not only entitled to "take the lane" on narrow streets, they are even encouraged to do so by CAN-BIKE, the nation's and Toronto's official safe-riding instruction program for cyclists. That they might move slower than an automobile may just be a fact of life that you should get used to. There is no minimum speed limit, eh? And motorists should not be "swerving" for any reason. If a driver wants to avoid undercarriage "pothole" damage and/or avoid killing cats, SLOW DOWN so that you are better able to control your vehicle when confronted by such unexpected, yet still commonplace situations. Much of our "road-rage" problem stems from pompous, ill-informed citizens believing that they are in the right, when they really have no idea what they are talking about. But thanks, Angelo, for helping to illustrate this phenomenon so publicly.Submitted by scunny at 2:30 PM Sunday, September 06 2009

Monday, September 07, 2009

Have you seen this bike?

Well, not likely. I have been told it's the only one like it in Toronto. And ironically, it has been swiped from the store called SWIPE in 401 Richmond West.
So, if you have any more info follow this link or if it shows up on Craigslist you'll know it's all too good to be true. In fact, it's a crime.

Memorial Tree For Canadian Cyclists

Sunnyside Beach, Toronto.
More information

ARC Memorial For Allan Sheppard Monday Sept. 7

ARC - Advocacy for Respect for Cyclists
will be organizing a memorial for the Darcy Allan Sheppard next week. ARC has organized memorials for all Toronto cyclists killed in traffic since 1996.

Memorial Information Updated:
Monday, September 7th
7:00 PM Bloor and Spadina

Another Memorial will be held at the Native Canadian Center of Toronto Located at:
Monday, SEPTEMBER 7TH, 2009

Darcy photo source
Bike Photo

Annotated Video of Allan Sheppard's Collision

Also: Eye-witness testimony video

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Toronto Cyclists Seek Asylum in Quebec

Photo: One of several separated bike lanes in Montreal

Montreal (CP)
After a week that saw several cyclists on Toronto's mean streets badly injured and two cyclists killed, the Province of Quebec has granted asylum to several cyclists from Toronto. They were welcomed by Velo Quebec officials at the Gare Centrale in Montreal and enjoyed a peaceful ride along the new separated bike lane on Maisonneuve in downtown Montreal.

They were later joined by Montreal cyclists for a reception with local beers and fine Quebecois cheese.

The Blue Bike

Friday, September 04, 2009

Newsflash: Senior citizen cyclist dies in Toronto!

Cyclist was struck by a streetcar on Tuesday at Spadina and Nassau and has since died of his injuries. Male, 66 years. old. Too much. My thoughts go out to his family.

Bike Art Studio Sale

More information

Toronto Police: Cyclists Entitled To Whole Lane

Star Article (A good one)
Sgt. Hugh Smith says so but we all know what will happen if we do, right?
I stopped taking the whole lane for years now. I simply got tired of the violent abuse and verbal threats hurled at me. I only take the full lane when I have it to myself ...
My friend Todd still does thuogh. He has done so for 10 years at least. He has been rear-ended with injuries four times.
Another friend of mine just flips the bird. Gutsy.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

I Am Dylan. I Ride A Bike ...

Let me live.

Tory Zimmerman posted an excellent video report about the memorial on the Globe and Mail website. Thank you, Tory.

Art Cycle 3 - Vienna, Austria

Featuring bicycle art by Janet Attard and yours truly. Exciting to be part of this show.

New Comments Policy

Due to several recent hateful and anti-cyclist comments on this blog only resgistered users will be able to post comments for now. I will make it more accessible in future again when things cool off.


The City of Toronto and Mayor Miller have remained silent about Al Sheppard's death and the daily carnage on Bloor Street.


They prefer to have 30,000 cars a day along Bloor in Yorkville choke the lungs and endanger the lives of cyclists rather than do the right thing. Shame.

Toronto, the city that hates bicycles. They just don't get it.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Huge Memorial Ride For Allan Sheppard

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.
A thousand cyclists (Toronto Star estimate) rode in the memory of Allan Sheppard and to celebrate his life.

Safe passage on Toronto streets for all cyclists and Justice For Al!

Memorial For Al Sheppard Today (Wednesday)

Memorial gathering for Al tomorrow
(Wednesday) at 5 pm.
Meet at Bay and Bloor ride to Avenue and Bloor.
Lay down bikes.
5 minutes of silence.

In heaven, everyone rides a bicycle.

You can remember Darcy Allan Sheppard here as well

Fundraiser Announcement:
"This is a fundraiser to help pay for the burial costs of Darcy Allan Sheppard who was tragically killed Monday August 31, 2009 at Bloor St West and Avenue Road. Details have yet to be confirmed as to location of this event but the date is firm which is September 19th.
Please come out." Facebook Link

A Google Map - Dearly Departed Toronto Cyclists

View Dearly Departed Toronto Cyclists in a larger map

The memorial oak tree for our dearly departed cyclists was kindly donated by Wendy Lucas. See the above map for more information.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

The Bitter Truth About Cycling On Bloor: It's Not Safe.

Article in National Post

Bloor and Major 2PM. While the media was busy at Bloor just east of Avenue Road,
I took this photo today (Sept. 1)
The cyclist was transported to hospital and though in bad shape should be okay. (Eventually)

Sept. 1 - Al Sheppard Memorial and Rally

Description by a friend of mine who was there before me.
"Lots of media were already set up - CBC, City, Global and a whack of photographers. I hung around waiting, starting to suspect that I had mixed things up.

At about 5:30 PM some couriers started turning up and took over the street. I debated joining them, but decided against it since I recognized nobody, and also because I didn't want my boss to see my face on TV.

More couriers soon showed up; there must have been about 30 to 40 at the peak of the protest. Bikes were laid in the street. People sat or lay down. Several people spoke, and there were a few overlapping messages, mainly:
- grief and outrage at the death
- anger that couriers are given no respect
- demands for justice
- a lot of anger directed at office types, especially lawyers

Someone vowed that: "We will be heard. We'll come back every day if we have to" - people were really PO-ed and angry. A courier then came with sunflowers. Sheppard's girlfriend brought a potted plant. She was crying. There were hugs and tears all round. Things were very emotional.

Most of the motorists were pretty good about waiting although I did see quite a few one finger salutes flying in both directions amid honking, jeers and the blasts of a whistle. Towards the end, the couriers started chanting "murderer".

Bike cops showed up, followed by a cruiser shortly after, and the cops were pretty good about things. I don't know what was said, but suddenly there were cheers from the couriers. And they picked up their bikes and rode East.

The street was clear again by 6:10/6:15 PM. The whole thing took about 45 mins.

I spoke to some people in the small sidewalk crowd and most people were sympathetic and shocked that a former AG could have acted so violently. Some people felt that this was a good way of keeping the pressure on the case. Only one young man poo-poohed the protest as being ineffectual."

Flowers for Darcy Allan Sheppard, 33

More photos ...

Charges have been laid by Police this afternoon

The view from New York (NY Times)

Safe Pasage On Bloor Now!

"At least since 1992 cyclists have repeatedly identified Bloor Street as THE TOP priority for bike lanes. Bloor Street downtown is especially gnarly with all the traffic and now the construction, which incidentally is not incorporating space for bikes into its re-design. As long a bike safety isn't built into our road networks, we'll continue to see conflict between cyclists and motorists."
Angela Bischoff, Take The Tooker

Cyclist dies trying to stop dangerous driver

Photo illustrations by Rick Conroy.

"Bloor Street is safe for cyclists." (Gary Welsh, 2008)
Quote comes from a meeting with Gary Welsh, The General Manager of Transportation Services, City of Toronto when I met with him as a member of the Safe Cycling Coalition which went on to sue the city over its failure to include a bike lane in its redesign of Bloor Street.
Safe, eh? I wonder. But I think we all know that it is not so.
Google News Search Link

Updates 7:30AM (CP24)
Sgt.Tim Burrows was just interviewed on CP-24. According to him:
- no one has yet been charged
- much of the incident is on surveillance video.
- the suspect is comfortable!!! And waiting for his lawyer to arrive.
Updates 8:00
The driver may have been Former Ontario attorney general Michael Bryant. He has been arrested. Charges pending Police investigation.

Witness report (via Globe Article)
"The guy hanging on to the car hit the mailbox, hit the road, and the car ran over him with the back tires. The guy bounced, and the car sped off and the person that he ran over was there just bleeding," witness Manual Machado told CTV."

(Graphic by National Post)

Drivers error the cause in 90% of crashes involving cyclists

You can read the study here:


Photo: Memorial for Galen Kuellmer Dupont
& Dundas