Eastern Ontario Active Transportation Summit – Agenda

The agenda is set for the 4th Annual Eastern Ontario Active Transportation Summit to be held May 31st and June 1st in Carleton Place. Of note in the agenda, which is provided below, are an update on provincial funding programs for municipalities, the provincial cycling network, the provincial cycle tourism strategy, and a presentation by the lead investigator for the public health report prepared for Belleville which showed strong financial incentive for that city’s recent decision to approve further implementation of bike lanes. For registration, see here.

EOATS2017

Ontario 150 – Celebrate By Bike

“Ontario’s 150th anniversary is an opportunity for people to come together and to experience the incredible resources our province offers,” says Eleanor McMahon, Ontario Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport. “Ontario 150: Celebrate by Bike will showcase incredible cycling opportunities and enable people of all ages to connect with their
communities by bike.”

There are three parts to this celebration, including signature events in 15 communities, new online guides to routes, events and resources, and a new cycling education program for 4,000 10 year olds, in partnership with the Canadian Tire Jumpstart Foundation. See the media release below.

Media Release - April 12 - Ontario 150 Celebrate By Bike

Current Summary Of Active Travel Benefits

 

New parking-protected bike lane on Toronto’s Bloor St just prior to completion.

CAPE‘s recently published Active Travel Toolkit contains a concise, current and evidence-based summary of the wide-ranging benefits to be harvested from greater uptake of active mobility, ranging from improved mental and physical health (and lower care costs), to social equity, to the environment, to more resilient communities. This short paper is well worth downloading and understanding.  Download here (pdf).

Rx For Active Mobility

Herkimer bike lane. Barry Gray, The Hamilton Spectator

This article from the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment describes their toolkit: “Prescribing Active Travel for Healthy People and a Healthy Planet: A Toolkit for Health Professionals – to help health professionals become advocates of active transportation and transit with their patients and in their communities. The toolkit is designed with five stand-alone modules so people can focus on the ones of most interest to them. Module 1 describes the health, environmental and social benefits of active travel. Module 2 provides strategies to motivate patients to use active travel. Module 3 explains the links between active transportation and community design. Module 4, designed for health professionals in southern Ontario, focuses on Ontario’s Growth Plan and how it impacts active travel. Module 5 provides strategies for promoting change in one’s community.”
Read the article and download the toolkit here.

Evidence Says We’re All Scofflaws

“According to a certain perspective that seems to hold sway among local newspaper columnists [and writers of letters to editors], bicyclists are reckless daredevils who flout the road rules that everyone else faithfully upholds. But the results of a massive survey published in the Journal of Transport and Land Use point to a different conclusion — everyone breaks traffic laws, and there’s nothing extraordinary about how people behave on bikes.”

This isn’t the first research effort to reach this conclusion, and it likely won’t be the last.

Read the article here, and download the study here (pdf).

Cornwall Gains Bicycle-Friendly Community Designation

Photo: Bill Kingston, Newswatch Group, 2016

Cornwall is the latest Ontario municipality to gain a Bicycle Friendly Community accreditation. Cornwall, along with Cambridge, Collingwood, Temiskaming Shores and Whitby, join 31 other Bike Friendly Communities that are home to nearly 2/3 of Ontarians. Cornwall’s bronze designation recognizes that city’s progress on the “Five E’s”: Engineering, Encouragement, Education, Enforcement and Evaluation/planning.
Read more in the Newswatch article here.

The Bicycle Friendly Community program was launched in Ontario in 2010 by the Share The Road Cycling Coalition, adapted from a similar program run by the Washington-based League of American Bicyclists. The primary program sponsor is the Canadian Automobile Association, and Trek Bicycles is also a sponsor.

Awards are granted after a rigorous application process, judged by a team of industry experts.

In this latest round, Kingston, London and Markham renewed their bronze designation, and Belleville, Essex, Midland and Norfolk County received an honourable mention.

Where’s Brockville? Our city received an honourable mention in 2013 and will apply again when sufficient progress has occurred.

Hamilton Prepares To Learn Licensing Lessons

Conceptual illustration, Pulaski Bridge protected cycle track (Image Credit: Brownstoner Queens)
Conceptual illustration, Claremont protected cycle track (Image Credit: Brownstoner Queens)

As reported many times, the notion of licensing bicycles seldom gains traction. Despite that, most cities have a councilor or two who don’t pay attention to what happens in other cities, or perhaps simply look for a convenient soapbox. From the report in The Hamilton Spectator, we’re about to see a couple of councilors there learn the lesson too.
Read more here.

A Lasting Legacy Of Licensing Losses

cyclingcrowdAcross the land, as active transportation gains steadily restore publicly-funded roads to safer use by the general public, regardless of mode of movement chosen at any given time, someone, somewhere, is asking why licences aren’t required, either for bikes or those who ride them. Over decades, a lasting legacy of articles and council decisions have honed the responses to a simple set.  Many cities do offer bike registration for theft recovery (Brockville being one, thanks to the Kinsmen Club), and some cities have bicycle licensing statutes that are largely ignored by all. However, they are the exception.  Continue reading “A Lasting Legacy Of Licensing Losses”

Funding Of Public Roads – Debunking The Myths

fullcostaccountingIn a followup to an earlier post highlighting just one of many studies examining the funding of public roads and the relative economic efficacy of different road uses, here’s a recent one that explains in simpler language.  While the article describes Toronto’s budgeting process, it’s the same anywhere in Canada (similar article here from Calgary).

On top of that, such reports often fail to do a “full cost accounting”, factoring in health and other societal costs. When this is done, the picture looks like that above, from this Vancouver report.

“So next time someone makes a point about how freeloading cyclists need to start paying for the roads they use, perhaps it’s worth mentioning to him or her that as a cyclist everyone shares in the costs already, and we can instead focus on what moves the most people efficiently.”

The Gentle Advocacy Of The Pool Noodle

poolnoodleTorontonian Warren Huska cycles 18km each way to work and had his share of close calls from irresponsible drivers.  In a story now gone viral, he lit upon the idea of using a pool noodle to demarcate his road space, reminding others of his presence and of Ontario’s safe passing law. Similar devices and flags have been used for years, yet Warren’s story seems to have captured public attention, highlighting the need for everyone to pay attention to road safety. Read more here.
Original Toronto Star article here.

Federal Task Force To Improve Truck, Pedestrian, Cyclist Safety

share-the-road-truck-campaign-poster-801x1024In breaking news this afternoon, Minister of Transport Garneau announced the establishment of a task force aimed at improving safety for cyclists and pedestrians on Canada’s roadways. The focus is on trucks and will examine “cameras, sensor systems, side guards, as well as educational safety and awareness programs.”

Read more here.

CAA Steps Up Again With Road Safety Educational Material

Pic from CAA website
Pic from CAA website

Several years ago the CAA surveyed their members and, no surprise, found that a majority were both drivers and cyclists. That sparked an investment in broader educational materials and a partnership with the Share The Road Coalition.  Today, CAA’s website is richer than ever, with updated educational material that easily surpasses that in MTO’s Drivers Handbook.
Read and learn more here. (Quizzes included for both drivers and cyclists!)

Addressing Objections To Making Cycling Safer

Portland residential protected bike lane
Portland residential protected bike lane

Going well beyond the quick comebacks for mindless rants provided in a recent post, the knowledgeable folks at the Cycling Embassy of Great Britain have compiled a comprehensive list of the often-heard objections to making public streets safer for the cycling public. These are not quick comebacks; rather, they’re well-researched, evidence-based responses to questions and objections ranging from, “cyclists don’t pay for the roads” to “if everyone just shared the road, there wouldn’t be a problem”. They are compiled from a UK perspective, yet they hold for N.A. as well, and many of the cited references are global.
Read more here.

On the lighter side, they also provide some printable “cycling fallacy bingo!” cards you can print and take to your next public meeting to pass the time while the anti-laners drone on.

Quick Deflection Of Anti-Bike Rants

SmilingRideHere’s a blogger commenting on Senator Eaton’s uninformed rants on bikes in Toronto.  He provides some capsule comebacks for the more mindless rants that, like most resistance to positive change with broad public support, are rooted in ignorance and/or fear.
Read more.

Also see this article in the Toronto Star on the senator’s rants. Yet another good reason for an elected senate?

Driving responsibly…

BIKEPEDSAFE3-CHN-102314-HLL.JPG“Rather than contribute to a society where walking and biking around the city can feel like dodging bullets, or where children can’t walk to the neighbor’s house without an adult, be part of the solution. Drive safely, and encourage your friends to do the same. If you don’t, well, you might just kill someone.”  

The paradigm has irrevocably shifted from motorists being rulers of public roads, to an era in which Vision Zero is gaining ground, reverse onus is gaining precedence in civil suits, and speed limits are being reduced to favour more vulnerable road users in residential areas of many larger cities. Against this sea change, several articles have delivered blunt messages to those exhibiting more aggressive road behaviour.  This article is one of the more politely worded ones. Read article here.

[And for those of you whose blood pressure is rising, face is turning red, and are blurting, “But, But, But….”, read this too.]

 

Smart Discussions About Road Safety For All

visionzeroThis article from Toronto applies to all communities.  The conversations around road safety – for all road users in the community, from 8 to 80, have a number of common elements. These are worth knowing and remembering, and quizzing your municipal Council about.  Ask them when we can adopt a Vision Zero program, for instance.  If they don’t know what any of these elements are, they’re not up to date with cities more progressive and attractive. Read more here.

Building Community Through Bike Friendly Planning

Bicycle_Friendly_Community_Sign_02_1This linked article from Toronto’s dandyhorse magazine  takes a closer look at five Bicycle Friendly Communities featured at the recent Ontario Bike Summit. The article provides a good summary of how commitment to the “5E’s” (Engineering, Encouragement, Education, Enforcement and Evaluation/planning), along with good political will, has enriched the communities.  Read the article here.