Posts Tagged ‘bike’

Heads Up!

September 17, 2008

Normally speaking, drivers aren’t held accountable for the traffic-related nonsense that I witness on a daily basis. And that’s very frustrating when you realize that putting more traffic officers out on the street, or photo radar, or red light cameras, would make a big difference.

Sometimes though, police do happen to be in the right place at the right time.

While I was engaged in conversation with a traffic officer in front of the Commissioners/Adelaide plaza earlier this afternoon, a bicyclist traveling in a westward direction along the south bike path got very lucky when a vehicle that was exiting the plaza pulled out over the sidewalk directly in front of him.

Bicyclist and driver were both obviously guilty of inattention, and it was only the officer’s quick verbal alert to the bicyclist (CLICK TO LISTEN) which allowed him to escape a nasty collision (and perhaps injury).

Bike Racks on LTC Buses

September 6, 2008

Spotted in this week’s CAPS agenda, in a letter to the committee. Subject to final approval of it’s 2009 budget, the LTC “will operate a one-year project, providing for the installation of bike racks on forty (40) buses.01 As currently planned, the pilot project will be limited to the #10/14 (Wonderland/Highbury), #16 (Adelaide), and #17 (Oxford West) routes.

01. 2008/09/08 – City London: CAPS Agenda item #2

What to do with $33M ?

August 26, 2008

The $33M windfall that London will receive from the $1.1-billion provincial infrastructure package is somewhat smaller than Hamilton’s $48M, but it’s still a nice lump of cash to squabble over. The question is, who will be allowed to squabble over it?

Will Roger Caranci succeed in having the Lion’s share diverted into the questionably-intelligent Hale/Trafalgar overpass project? Will Tom Gosnell be able to finagle enough of it into some downtown parking garages? Will politicians opt to widen more roads and build new ones, increasing future maintenance costs without worrying about how those will be paid for?

Most interesting to me, how much of that money will be spent to improve things for London’s pedestrians and bicyclists?

Will I finally get a response from City Hall with respect to the dangerous Commissioners Rd. E. arterial? Or will they continue to ignore the situation until pedestrians start to die?

Will we see significantly increased funding for the walkways lighting program? Or will they continue to ignore that situation until more women are raped?

A review of London’s Transportation Master Plan is set to get underway. Let’s hope that none of this money will be earmarked for anything until that process is complete. And let’s hope that the TMP review will be comprehensive and seriously consider our alternative transportation needs instead of simply giving us more political rhetoric.

It’s the Wrong Message

August 25, 2008

It seems that City Hall recently allowed the Canadian Egg Marketing Agency to stencil advertising on bike paths. Today’s LFP describes the ad campaign (“First ads to crack city bike paths get easy ride“; Jenni Dunning).

How did that escape me? Could it be that they rolled it out quietly so that nobody would be the wiser? A quick look on the city website using it’s own search tool failed to turn up any mention of this ‘initiative.’

Scott Stafford (the city’s parks and recreation division manager) is quoted as saying that “we thought it was a way to try something new to get some interest in our pathways.”

It’s a shame that they had to pervert Candy Chang’s idea which I promoted in my 2008/04/25 post.

If the City cares about the health of Londoners, physical and mental, it should immediately rethink this short-sighted strategy of wasting public easels to assault us with more commercial advertising. Inspirational messages and public service announcements would be a much better use of this valuable resource.

Proposal for LTC Bike Racks

June 21, 2008

fowgre avatarAccording to Peter Marks (member of a local cycling umbrella group),

“A proposal for bike racks on buses will be tabled at the London Transit Commission meeting on Wednesday, June 25 at 4:30 p.m. The meeting is open to the public if you would like to attend – 450 Highbury Avenue N. TEL: (519) 451-1340

The proposal calls for racks on every bus on three very long routes starting in May 2009: #17 Oxford West, #16 Adelaide and #10/#14 Wonderland/Highbury. Forty racks are required. The initial cost would be $65,000 with $10,000 of that for marketing and education. The annual maintenance/operating cost would be an additional $5,000.”

This seems like pretty much of a no-brainer to me, which LTC should approve without much angst. However, things that make perfect sense often don’t get done in London. So I’m encouraging everybody to pick up the phone or write or email the LTC and indicate your support of this. And it probably wouldn’t hurt to call your ward Councillor either.

Cycling as a positive.

June 21, 2008

KevBo avatarMonday is a short bike video featuring Mike Bentham set to “Always For You” by The Album Leaf.

Positive messages, rather then the often caustic method of promoting a cycling culture, can benefit more from videos like this then all the critical mass demonstrations.

This video captures the joy of riding, making you want to go grab the bike, and making it fun and cool at the same time. It doesn’t look down on you for owning a car, and it doesn’t try to disrupt your commute; it’s positive and gets a the point across without being a jerk about it.

Paul Berton’s ‘Road Sharing’ Half-Truths

May 18, 2008

With respect to Paul Berton’s recent Point Of View column…

The LFP editor asks “how disturbing…to hear about hit-and-runs involving cars and cyclists like one over the weekend on Exeter Road”? He asks some questions about interaction between motorists/biyclists/pedestrians and he cites some stats (presumably obtained from the police, although he doesn’t say so).

Since Mr. Berton generally just ignores my posts to the LFP website, I’ll put it here as well, and you can comment about it if you like:

It’s About Time
Greg Fowler (

How long have I been trying to interest you in pedestrian rights/safety issues? Nice of you to finally get around to writing something. Too bad though that you didn’t think to pick up the phone and talk to me. Are pedestrians using crosswalks? Who’s determined to be at fault, numbers of tickets issued, etc? Did you think to ask any questions about those stats, Paul? Did you think to ask Tom O’Brien why only 30% of auto operators are being ticketed for striking pedestrians? When you want to give this serious issue the attention that it deserves, you let me know.

Bikes Don’t Belong on the Sidewalk

May 17, 2008

Over on London Topic, Dan O’Neil has written an article in which he describes his wife’s collision with a vehicle while riding her bicycle on the sidewalk, and he tries to make a case for why such behaviour should be allowed.

Sorry Dan, but that’s completely wrong.

I agree that riding bicycles on this city’s roads is hazardous, and that something ought to be done about that. But putting pedestrians at risk by allowing bicycles to share sidewalks with us is unfair to pedestrians, and completely contrary to the widely accepted concept of a transportation hierarchy that places pedestrians at the top.

We are all pedestrians, to some degree or other. We were all born pedestrians, and walking is a ‘natural right.’ As opposed to other forms of transportation, which are simply artificial constructs.

Dan writes that he has “never been able to find a case of a fatality resulting from a bike striking a pedestrian.” It took me about 5 seconds to find THIS ARTICLE. And I have no doubt that I could find more.

I’m sorry that Mr. O’Neils wife was hurt, and I hope that she recovers quickly. And London needs people who are willing to advocate for bicycling. For that, I commend Mr. O’Neil.

But we also need strong advocates for pedestrians and public transit.

And we need a police force that does a better job of enforcing the rules of the road than what I see day in and day out.

We need to elect people who can recognize the imbalance between automobile transportation and other forms, and the terrible price that our society and the environment are paying beause of our reliance on cars. People who are prepared to say so, and mean it.

Only in England? Pity ):

February 15, 2008

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Staid, conservative, old London in England is up to some pretty progressive things these days. In fact, they downright put London in Canada to shame.


Activists Of Interest

February 2, 2008

I have no reservation about using this blog to profile an individual, a group, or even another (competitor?) blog that has done something that I respect.

“I have a lot of respect for activists. If it were not for them, we would not have had a civil rights movement or same sex marriage. The words Fair Trade would not be part of our vocabulary. Activists made known many of our objections to the Iraq War and continue to work hard to see that the environment remains a priority, poverty one days becomes obsolete, and that women be treated as equals in all ways. I have several friends who are activists and they always have the best intentions in their hearts and always look to see that people, especially those in their community, get a fair shake and that profits aren’t always put before people. Despite some claims to the contrary, we are all better off as a result of social justice and environmental activism.”
Here in London, there’s been considerable talk in our recent history about ‘communities of interest,’ a perspective that I personally find attractive. Over on Dodosville, there’s an interesting post about activists (which I consider myself to be) and whether they might not have more success if they were to unite.

Over on my London Commons blog, I’ve already suggested that same thing. That perhaps what needs to be done here in London is a concerted effort by pedestrian, bicycle and public transit activists in order to achieve some parity with the large, vociferous community of SOV adherents.

I would be most grateful if you would have a look at the discussion that’s taking place there and give it your thoughtful consideration. Because we all occupy this space, and we all have a vested interest in it’s future.

Would You Pedal for the Sally Ann?

January 28, 2008

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The Salvation Army’s shelter on Jarvis Street in Toronto plans to launch it’s WeloBike Project 2008/02/12. The initiative will depend upon volunteers to pedal old exercise bikes that have been retrofitted to allow generated energy to be stored in attached battery packs. That reserve of energy will then be used to light the shelter’s rooms.


Saying ‘No’ to Montreal Parking Spots

December 8, 2007

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Private automobile use is said to be outpacing Montreal’s population growth by a multiple of at least 3.

Speeding on residential streets has become an increased problem as drivers use them as shortcuts and/or in order to avoid main arteries.

Representing approx. 42 community groups and at least 10,000 Montrealers, the Coalition for the Reduction of Montreal Traffic is trying to make it more difficult for people to bring cars into the city by advocating for a reduction in the number of all-day parking spots.

As is happening in many urban centres, calls are being heard for the creation of an environment that encourages alternate transportation modes like walking and biking. And “an increase in the frequency, reach, comfort and reliability of public transit.”

2007/12/07 – Gazette: Clamp down on cars, coalition urges city
2007/12/07 – SpacingMontreal: Community groups want…

A Driver’s Tips for Cyclists

December 5, 2007

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Thanks to Jeff over on London Commons for posting the link to this video.

One suggestion for all you bicyclists out there. Don’t forget to take along your buns and condiments next time you go travelling, for all those flying burgers! 😉

Walkway Bicyclist Nailed Twice

November 30, 2007

Just reported by A-Channel‘s supper newscast. It seems that a bicyclist was struck by a vehicle this afternoon at Commissioners/Wortley and subsequently charged for “riding in the pedestrian walkway.” More details when they become available…

Green Transportation Hierarchy

April 29, 2007

The green transportation hierarchy is the basic concept behind transportation reform groups all over the world. The hierarchy puts city-friendly cyclists and pedestrians first. It rewards their low cost, space efficiency, and zero environmental impact. Trucks are not last because they perform vital commercial functions in cities. An important part of the green transportation hierarchy is that trucks get priority over personal automobiles for scarce curbside parking.