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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, www.Doored.ca 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 Doored.ca 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)?

Related Articles;

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.

https://johndiogenous.wordpress.com/2013/07/19/dooring-major-danger-for-toronto-cyclists/

“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.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bea25a_HZuI

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.

Bike Ride in the Grass


Images inspired by a bike ride in the grass in Toronto – photographs by John Diogenous on a spring day.

Cycling to see the city of Toronto

Are you a cycling enthusiast currently living in Toronto or with plans to visit the city?

If the answer is yes, then you should treat yourself with an adventure of a lifetime while in the city.  Cycling has a lot of positive health benefits but more importantly, it gives one the opportunity to experience the amazing sounds and city of the city of Toronto.  Unlike other forms of touring the city, cycling enables one to travel deeper into areas that would otherwise be inaccessible when using other means of transport like buses and at the same time, making it more convenient to make stops at places that you wish.

John Diogenous bike path photoCycling tours in Toronto could be three way:  One may opt to sign up for group touring where a couple of other cycling enthusiasts also join in.  This type of group is usually accompanied by an expert to guide them through various landmark and lighthouse attractions within and around the city.  The same too applies for private tours especially for people with special interests and who wish to focus more on certain attractions.  The third alternative is touring the city while cycling solo.  This only applies if one is well knowledgeable of the area and its surrounding though it’s not recommended for a first time tourist of the city.

Examples of remarkable places to tour while cycling around the city include the Toronto islands; the harbourfront that is home to Toronto’s best theatres, art galleries and restaurants; the Wonderland Park; Toronto Zoo; Casa Loma; Yorkville; the Rogers Centre; CN Tower which was nominated as one of the seven Wonders of the modern world and other several attractions including hotels, shopping malls and markets.  While cycling through these attractions, one can slow down if need be to enable them connect more with these attractions and learn more about them.

Various touring agencies offer bicycles for rental while the tourist is still in the city.  Although the rates charged on bicycles vary, they are much affordable compared to all the other forms of transportation.  Bicycling is in the same way more convenient since one doesn’t have to pay for packing and neither do they have to worry about dealing with heavy traffic.  Moreover, since many people assume that taking a vacation is all about relaxing, by you opting to cycle will keep fit and healthy hence give you a sense of pride in what you will have accomplished.