John Diogenous Cycling safety

Cycling Collisions & What the Bike Community is Saying About Them

In many of my previous blog articles I have touched on the safety hazards that cyclists face each day while riding in Toronto. One of the most feared and dangerous threats posed by our busy city streets is, of course, the collision of a moving vehicle with a cyclist. However, in addition to moving vehicles, “dooring” has also brought down many cyclists in their riding prime. I have spoken about dooring in a previous article, identifying it as a collision caused by drivers opening their doors and cyclists being unable to swerve. When a cyclist hits a car door there can be serious consequences including long-term, debilitating injury or death.

I am constantly researching different biking issues and opportunities that arise in our city. This week was no different, and I found dozens of articles speaking directly to these aforementioned safety hazards. One Toronto cyclist was so put off by the fact that Toronto Police do not record doorings that he decided to create a website where these accidents can be recorded and measured. Thanks to his efforts, is now up and running. This website allows you to report dooring incidents and keep track of them in accordance with their time of occurrence, location and severity. This data is compiled alongside a map that designates where the incident took place.

The creator of is Justin Bull. On Metro Morning, he put forth excellent reasoning behind his decision to create this innovative app. When Ontario redefined what a collision meant, they took dooring incidents right off of the map. The new definition precludes dooring because, despite the severity of the resultant injuries, it is not realized as the collision of two vehicles that are in motion. This exclusion of dooring prevents police officers from having to keep track of the incidents – so Bull is doing that job for them.

Many cyclists are saluting Bull’s efforts. However, the majority acknowledge that this sliver of education is not going to protect cyclists. Although the visibility of the numbers may encourage our community to recognize that dooring is actually a significant issue, this may not be enough to save lives. Therefore, in response to this enthusiastic act, many cyclists have put forth ideas regarding how to lessen the likelihood of such incidents.

Many Torontonian cyclists suggest that the fine for dooring, which is only $85, should be increased to discourage drivers from being so careless. Others argue that the municipality should readdress the issue, reopening it to be considered as a collision and thereby taken more seriously. Toronto’s own Police Chief recognizes that the issue significantly impacts citizens’ commutes each day; however, there is no easy resolution to be found at this time. Therefore, I put it out to all of you: how can we decrease the number of doorings in Toronto? Is there a way that will create more good than harm (in the way of driver/cyclist rivalry)?

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Cycling Safety

Bicycle Bashing or Concerned Citizens About Cycling Safety?

Cycling Safety
When large-scale discussions used to erupt regarding obeying the rules of the road these discourses revolved around driving. Each generation seems to spur a different road safety discussion; from wearing seat belts to drinking and driving, public safety is directly influenced by the behaviour of citizens on the road. However, the millennials are less concerned with hot rods and more concerned with environmentally friendly modes of transportation. In Ontario alone, over 600, 000 citizens ride a bike daily.  So now, the road safety discourse is changing.

Toronto cyclist advocate and CEO of Share the Road Cycling Coalition, believes that the millennial generation’s transportation habits are changing the ways of the road. However, other citizens are not so happy about this transition. Conversation surrounding cycling safety was sparked in Toronto after a TTC Chair was ticketed for rolling through a stop sign on her bicycle. The Chair Tweeted that she refused to pay the ticket due to a citation error and discourse boomed.

An enraged Toronto columnist responded to this news with a scathing article about bikers’ disregard for motorists and basic road safety. The Toronto Star columnist, Judith Timson, wrote about driving home late at night and witnessing a cyclist biking against traffic in the dark nestled in amongst parked cars. Timson states, “I am a motorist, fearful and angry, and I’ve come to the end of silently tolerating cyclists who break the law.”

This prompted a rather anger-filled discussion about cyclists either not knowing or not caring to obey road rules. McMahon responded stating that as we move away from being car-centric, we need to ensure that cyclists understand how to travel safely. However, this is currently an unfair assumption, as the city does not provide any type of cycling education. Motorists just assume cyclists know the best way to manoeuvre throughout Toronto’s busy streets, but that is just not the case.

Motorists have books, classes and courses about how to drive properly. Parents take driver education seriously and there are very few, if any, young motorists that have not gone through months of in-class and in-car training. But what of this new generation that is saying no to cars and yes to eco-friendly, cheap cycling? How will they learn to cycle safely if we do not take the time to teach them?

In various blogs (TORONTO BIKERS BEWARE: & “DOORING” MAJOR DANGER FOR TORONTO CYCLIStS) I have explored the dangers of biking in Toronto. But, what about the dangers that cyclists create for motorists? I can only imagine the emotional turmoil that a motorist who strikes a cyclist must suffer. What can bikers do to keep themselves safer? Beyond wearing a helmet, wear lights at night. Don’t blend into bad lighting and traffic; stand out with noticeable gear and protective headwear. Don’t cut cars off! Do not casually roll through lights or stop signs and certainly do not go against the grain of traffic to save time. I do not agree with biker bashing, but several of these motorists’ claims could have been avoided by safer, smarter biking. Do not shed a negative light on Toronto’s cycling community. Educate yourself or advocate for public cycling education. Let’s keep Toronto’s streets safe for everyone. Stand up for yourself by being safe and continuing to enjoy fast, cheap travel in Toronto.

Too Bad for BIXI – TTC Turns Down Partnership

English: BIXI (a portmanteau word of bicycle a...For those readers who are not familiar with BIXI, it is a bicycle sharing system. Bixi mixes bicycling and taxis to offer environmentally conscious and fitness-friendly citizens the option to cycle instead of drive. Bixi was born in Montreal and began expanding across Canada and around the world.

A complete Bixi station houses bikes and operates with a pay station and bike locks. Bikers use Bixi keys, obtained through a long-term subscription, to access the bicycles. The stations are supposed to be powered by solar panels and can be reconfigured and moved in less than an hour. The rates are extremely reasonable. A subscriber usually enjoys free rides, as the first 45 minutes are included. From there, up to an hour and a half will be covered by $3. Pretty much this is a system that is environmentally and user-friendly with a splash of technological innovation. Sounds great right? Well, not so much to the TTC.

In May, the TTC chair, Karen Stintz, publicly declared the possibility of matching up with Toronto’s Bixi bike-sharing program. However, this idealistic announcement has met a resounding “no way” from other TTC staff. Two major reasons were given for TTC’s dismissal of the marriage. First, the TTC was too nervous about taking on Bixi’s $3.9 million debt. Second, TTC staff feel as though the Bixi program does not align itself with the corporate mission of the TTC. To say the least, Toronto bikers are giving the TTC more than just a raised eyebrow.

I must address the second statement first. How can the TTC say that transporting people safely, quickly and affordably is not part of their mandate? Does a non-motorized vehicle no longer count as Toronto transportation? I am more than slightly confused regarding how this argument can be justified.

The cost argument I can kind of begin to understand; however, the TTC has constantly faced an operational loss for the past decade. Perhaps trying something new is exactly what Toronto needs instead of something that the TTC needs to turn away. So far, the biking community agrees. Many have publicized their outrage on social media and across biking forums. While not everyone supported the TTC takeover, they most certainly do not want to say goodbye to Bixi.

So how can Toronto save this innovative practice that has found so much success in other parts of the world? Use the service. Use it frequently and make sure friends tag along. Instead of complaining about the TTC, celebrate Bixi and ensure that Torontonians understand what the loss of this system will mean for the city. Let’s bring Bixi back to life Toronto. Don’t miss out on fast and affordable transportation that could clear our streets of our world famous traffic jams.

Biking Tips for Toronto Beginners

Biking Tips for Toronto Beginners

Biking Tips for Toronto BeginnersBeginning any exercise can be intimidating; especially when machinery is involved. However, biking is a great sport for any Toronto city slicker to ease into. When beginning your biking journey, keep in mind that some obstacles may be tougher than others. However, no biking skill is impossible to master. If you keep with it you’ll be exploring the entirety of Toronto without the hassle of subways or streetcars before you know it.

Cycling is a great way to burn calories and it is a ton of fun to do by yourself or with friends. It requires very little planning or preparation. However, I will always recommend optimum hydration before you begin your first stint.

Remember, “it’s like riding a bike”? Well, I will admit that sometimes cycling isn’t as easy as that old saying portrays. This is especially true for beginners who have abandoned their wheels for an extended period of time. At first, you may experience a bit of a wabbly feeling. I know – not the most technical term, but once you get started you will know what I mean. The thin tires and lightweight feel of innovative street bikes can test a beginner’s balance. Don’t be shy! Once you get going you’ll feel as sturdy as a rock in motion.

Interval Training is a great way to move from amateur biker to Tour De France competitor. Try descending intervals; start with 2 minutes hard followed by 2 easy minutes. Then, go down to 1 minute of each until you reach a 15 second sprint. Follow this session up with 5 minutes of easy, enjoyable biking and then rev your engines up again.

Don’t Let Yourself Suffer from Biking Boredom. Try out new paths all over Toronto. I have discussed some of the best biking paths in previous blogs. However, just to refresh your memory, I would recommend taking a short trip to the Toronto Islands or exploring the Martin Goodman Trail. You can check out the best biking paths in Toronto at this website

Challenge yourself to create a biking checklist with all of the Toronto paths mentioned in that article. Check off each one as your build up your biking stamina and grow your appreciation for Toronto’s outdoor atmosphere.

Challenge yourself with a Steep Climb. Don’t collapse trying to conquer the CN Tower or anything, but try to find an intimidating hill and pedal by pedal overcome your hesitation. Do not try to sprint up your first mountain. Take it easy and appreciate the burn as you bike up Toronto’s hills. It is better to maintain a sustainable intensity than to burn out and toss your bike.

Last, but certainly not least; enjoy yourself! Put on some sunscreen and fall in love with Toronto’s outdoors. Cheers, and be sure to have a pedal for me!

“Bike to the Bombers” Big Hit with Cyclists - John Diogenous

“Bike to the Bombers” Big Hit with Cyclists

While reading the paper today I found an exciting story about sports fans in Winnipeg. I wanted to share this news with Toronto because I am hopeful this is what the future of our sports fans looks like. While the Argonauts blasted the Bombers in a blowout victory, it was the Bombers’ fans who truly won the greatest victory before and after the game. 

One June 12, the new Investors Group Field was absolutely flooded with….bicycles? That’s right; over 1,200 fans rode their bicycles to the Bombers’ home opener against the Toronto Argonauts. A Winnipeg cycling enthusiast, Anders Swanson, was more than pleasantly surprised to count 1,222 bicycles chained up to anything that could hold a bike lock. As the cyclists poured into the stadium the positive impact of this cycling phenomenon quickly became apparent.

The Bomber’s fan-friendly new stadium offers visitors a complimentary bike valet to encourage fans to leave their cars at home. This idea took off in response to the terrible traffic jams that occurred before and after games. The Bombers had been battling with fan complaints and struggled with a resolution. However, even the Blue Bombers spokesperson, Darren Cameron, could not believe the sea of bikes pouring into the stadium on June 12. Cameron admitted that the old stadium used to only see about 60-70 cyclists. He was thrilled to see people taking advantage of the bike valet service and truly enjoying the outdoors prior to an incredible game.

Cameron hopes that even more fans will convert to cyclists before the season is out. Thousands of fans still stuck in their cars complained about hour-long traffic jams and idling. Therefore, Anders Swanson created a video message to encourage fans to look at traveling to the game a little differently. Swanson video taped the biking bananza at the Investors Group Field and put the footage on Youtube. Already the clip has generated hundreds of visits and “likes” indicating that biking to the Blue Bombers may become a widespread phenomenon.

I am hopeful that Torontonians will adopt the same style of travel the next time they attend a Toronto Argonauts game. Imagine still enjoying your favour Toronto team, but with less traffic and environmental damage? Not to mention getting some much needed exercise before and after a few Toronto Argonauts’ hotdogs. What do you think Toronto, can we beat the Bombers’ biking record? Let’s put on our thinking helmets and discover a way to turn Toronto into a bike-friendly city.

What is next for the Toronto Maple Leafs?

Following what should be classed as a successful season for the NHL team, the Toronto Maple Leafs enter the close season with a number of questions to answer about the future of the playing staff. Building a strong group of defensive players has served the maple Leafs well, but now the addition of quality forward play could be the main factor in determining if the Leafs can kick on next season to improve on their first round play-off loss this season.

In a season shortened by the NHL strike and lockout the form of the Toronto Maple Leafs was not only a surprise for hockey fans and experts, but a welcome return to the big time. Having not made the play-offs for nine years and winning the last of their Stanley Cup’s in 1967 the time must surely be right for Toronto come again as a major hockey force. Despite the strong showing in losing in game seven overtime to the Boston Bruins Toronto gave GM Dave Nonis a number of headaches as the team begin planning for next season.

The Maple Leafs have looked to build a strong defensive grouping with young players forming a powerful group, but questions remain over their ability to perform against the best forwards in the NHL. 22 year old Jake Gardiner was a standout in the comeback from 3-1 down to the Bruins and looks to be able to make the jump to NHL star over the next few seasons. In contrast, captain Dion Phaneuf continues to frustrate fans and surely coaches with errors at important points in big games; the 28 year old Phaneuf has one year left on a $6.5 million per season contract and could be moved on as the Leafs try to attract a high quality forward to Canada. Phaneuf was jeered by fans after mistakes in Games four and seven essentially handed victory to the Bruins.

Before the season experts claimed the weak spots in the Maple Leafs organization were in goal and in the forward line. The form of goaltender James Reimer in the short playoff run showed he has the potential to become a top class goaltender in the coming years. The lack of a high class forward is the major problem the Leafs face during the close season as the possibility of attracting a star player could see some changes in the playing staff. By removing the high salary of Phaneuf space could be created under the salary cap and used to bring in a forward to help improve on this seasons short playoff run.

Top 15 Apps for Cycling

  • Bike Doctor 2 – Available for both Droid and iPhone, Bike Doctor 2 shows you how to repair Cycling Appsyour bike. It also comes with a neat check-list to get that perfect ride.
  • Bike Hub – Blue Hub is a GPS unit for bikes. This little app lets you decide your routes by showing you all your options. It then guides you along the way.
  • BioLogic BikeBrain – This iPhone-only app is a fully functional fully functioning computer complete with GPS, performance monitoring and programmable training modes.
  • Livestrong Calorie Tracker – Calorie Tracker is a mobile training unit. It tracks your exercise regimen, weight and calorie intake. You need this app if you want to become a better rider..
  • Sports Tracker – Sports Tracker is another GPS app for your bike. It monitors your performance and lets you share your skills with the world.
  • Cyclemeter – Cyclemter is another GPS, but only for your iPhone. The app tracks and analyses your speed, distance, and elevation. It then displays your route on top of a Google Map.
  • Cychosis – Cyclosis is a bike computer for the iPhone. It lets you log your trips and then develops charts and spreadsheets from the data.
  • Endomondo – tracks your trip times, average speed and distance, and displays them on top of Google Maps. It also comes with a virtual coach.
  • Google Maps – If you have not used Google Maps, you haven’t lived. This app is available on all mobile devices with web browsers but comes as a standalone app for Android.
  • EveryTrail – EveryTrail is a GPS app that lets you see your entire route on top of a Google Map.. It also comes with its own mapping program called Open Street Maps to save battery life.
  • LiveRider – LiveRider is another performance-tracking iPhone app. However, it comes with its own sensor you attach to your rear wheel for better accuracy.
  • RunKeeper – RunKeeper is a popular and easy-to-use tracking app. While it does not have as many features as the others, RunKeeper has a nice collection of integrated extras.
  • Rendezous – Rendezous is an iPhone app for people who like to ride in groups. More versatile that just using Twitter, this app lets you arrange rides and then invite people.
  • Strava – Strava is another fitness tracking app, but it comes with the most social media features than any other app..
  • Wahoo Fitness ANT+ – The ANT+ combines with the Wahoo Bike Pack to make your bike a complete exercise machine.

These 15 apps are the most popular and more versatile on the market today. The iPhone has more apps of course, but the differences between the iPhone and Droids decrease every day. The same cannot be said about other phones. They are all still playing catch up.

The Toronto Maple Leafs will win the Stanley Cup playoffs

Toronto hockey fans haven’t had much to celebrate in the last decade but that could change this year. The Maple Leafs are back in the play-offs after a 9 year absence, and have a legitimate shot at winning it all. Recent precedent gives Toronto reason to believe they will break the curse and win their first Stanley Cup in almost fifty years.

Last season, the Los Angeles Kings came from nowhere to shock the hockey world to win it all. For the Leafs to do the same, their pathway will likely mimic the Kings run through the play-offs. Last year, the goal-tending from the Kings Jonathan Quick was superb and a big component of their success. The Leafs goalie, James Reimer, has never played in the Stanley Cup play-offs  but don’t expect him to break under the pressure of the post-season  He has risen to become one of Toronto’s most important players and their success will hinge on his continued stingy goalkeeping.
The Kings unexpected championship also relied heavily on their penalty killing success which was over 92%. The Maple Leafs should be looking to do the same with their top five ranked penalty killing unit. If Toronto continues to keep scoring down when in the penalty, it will make for a much easier road to the cup.

The Leafs will definitely need some scoring to back up goalie. Toronto will probably need some scoring from unexpected places, but they’ll rely on goal production from Phil Kessel. Youngster Nazem Kadri will have to hold up to the pressure of the spotlight and play as he has all season. To win as an underdog you need to be approaching your opponents from all angles, and personnel decisions will prove to be a critical piece of the puzzle. Randy Carlyle will need to match line-ups to the Leafs opposition from series to series to exploit weaknesses and shore up vulnerabilities. If Carlyle manages to get his inexperienced squad to take one game at a time, every series should be winnable. With solid goalkeeping and penalty killing, some road victories, and a little bit of luck, the Maple Leafs will bring their first Stanley Cup since 1967 back to Toronto.