Bike Spotting for Bikeability in Toronto Part Four

Bike Spotting for Bikeability in Toronto Pt. IV: Safety Issue #10 out now!

dandyhorse’s Safety Issue is on newsstands!

For this Bike Spotting series we talked to cyclists at Bayview and Blythwood, Dupont Triangle, Queen and Cameron, York University, the Danforth and Chester, Regent Park and Queen and Dufferin, to hear some of the safety concerns cyclists throughout the city have.

We asked: Do you feel safe biking here? What would you to to make it safer?

Also see our roundup of the Best of Bike Spotting with Safety in Focus.

Interviews by Sarah Greene and Amelia Brown

 

Talia (Cameron and Queen) Photo by Yvonne Bambrick

I sometimes feel unsafe here. It’s not that bad, but I’m pretty brave. I drive an SUV and also bike, and I say this to everybody: The only way you don’t piss off drivers and bikers is by installing bike lanes. But not painted—separated bike lanes. We just need, essentially, someone in City Hall who supports it and can push it through. I don’t think Mayor Ford is that person.

 

Karey Iron (Sunnybrook Hospital, Bayview and Blythwood) Photo by Tammy Thorne

From St Clair and Christie, where I live, I have two choices in the final stretch towards my destination of Sunnybrook Hospital on Bayview:

1. Bayview: a north/south fast-moving thoroughfare

2. Blythwood: an east/west tree-lined gulley side street that runs right from Mount Pleasant into Sunnybrook Hospital

Which is safer? The obvious choice seems to be Blythwood. But, what appears benign and pretty on the surface may sometimes be fraught with peril upon closer inspection. There are steep hills no matter which way you go, deep potholes and broken road (scary on the downhill), parked cars and impatient taxi drivers going to and from the hospital, mini-buses and trucks with very wide mirrors.

Blythwood needs to get fit! Fix the tired concrete, get rid of parking during rush hour and get a brighter streetscape.  With these small improvements, I will fully appreciate the sweet sounds and smell of ravine twice a day as I enter the gulley.

 

Jo-Ann McArthur (The Big Carrot, Chester and The Danforth) Photo by Yvonne Bambrick

I feel very safe biking on the Danforth. Of course, bike lanes would be great. There were some for a while – I think artists did them or people were spray painting the bikes lanes on themselves, and that was good. I know I’m the anomaly here, and most people feel less than safe biking in Toronto, but I love biking in Toronto. I bike in Calcutta, I bike in lots of other cities, so this is a breeze compared to other places.

 

Morgan Hicks and Amanda Hamilton (York University, The Pond and Sentinel) Photo by Heather Reid

MF-In this area? Yeah, for sure.

AH-During the day…

MF-It’s not a very safe area at night

AH-It’s not safe in general, whether you’re biking or not.

MF- I’m not too sure how they could even improve safety in the evenings.

AH- I would just say a lot more lighting everywhere

MF- I’ve never had a bad incident in particular…not yet

AH- You just hear rumours, a lot of things happen around here

MF- You get a lot of security bulletins and police emails about things that are taking place. But as far as biking on the street with cars goes, I’ve never felt in danger or that they were speeding too much.

 

Laurence Lue (The Dupont Triangle, Dupont and Dundas) Photo by Vic Gedris

It’s a confusing intersection. One, two, three, four, five streets sort of converge here, the lights are in a weird sequence, it’s just not your normal four-way intersection.

The bike lanes are helping, the left turn onto Annette is a little bit frustrating because it seems like you have to wait longer than you need to to make it across.

 

Emily Harris-McLeod (Regent Park) Photo by Yvonne Bambrick

That’s crazy, I was just thinking about how incredibly unsafe I felt. When the cars are trying to pass the streetcars it just feels like they’re about to run you over. My half-hour commute is largely on bike lanes and sometimes there’s absolutely no way you can get from one bike lane to another. So I get to experience both being on a bike lane and not. And it really makes a difference in terms of how safe you feel, how much you feel like you’ll disrupt traffic. It’s just scary. You always feel like you could get hurt at any second. I feel much safer on bike paths, especially the raised one. I was just on Sherbourne and that was really nice, but I hate biking on this stretch of Dundas

 

 

Special thanks to Vic Gedris, Heather Reid and Yvonne Bambrick. If you’d like to see more of their beautiful photos, buy the Safety issue of dandyhorse.

More Bike Spotting coming to the dandyBLOG soon!

More in the Safety issue, pre-purchase it here!

See previous dandyhorse Bike Spotting

 

Related on the dandyBLOG

Best of Bike Spotting Safety in Focus

Bike Spotting for Bikeability

Bike Spotting for Bikeability Part Two

Bike Spotting for Bikeability Part Three

Bike Spotting for Bikeability Part Five

 

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Bike Spotting for Bikeability in Toronto Part Three

Bike Spotting for Bikeability in Toronto Pt. III: Promo for Safety Issue

dandyhorse’s Safety Issue isn’t due out until later this month, but here’s a sneak peek to tide you over until then.

For this Bike Spotting series we talked to cyclists at Bayview and Blythwood, Dupont Triangle, Queen and Cameron, York University, the Danforth and Chester, Regent Park and Queen and Dufferin, to hear some of the safety concerns cyclists throughout the city have.

We asked: Do you feel safe biking here? What would you to to make it safer?

These Bike Spottings were done to compliment original research by U of T on bikeable neighbourhoods in the city, which will be featured in our new issue.

Also see our roundup of the Best of Bike Spotting with Safety in Focus.

Interviews by Sarah Greene and Amelia Brown

Chenelle Atkinson (The Big Carrot, Chester and The Danforth) Photo by Yvonne Bambrick

Whether or not I feel safe depends a lot on the traffic. Maybe if the cars weren’t driving so close to me. We just need a little more room for the bikers please. I think cycling should really be considered more important in the grand scheme of things.

 

Jill Connell (The Dupont Triangle, Dupont and Dundas) Photo by Vic Gedris

Yeah, this intersection is okay, I mean I’ve never had trouble at this intersection. I live close to here. I find Dundas and College more problematic because people don’t obey the stop sign there. I guess maybe a traffic light would help. When you’re cycling in Toronto, it sometimes seems like nobody’s really paying attention, drivers or cyclists. There’s a lot of people disobeying the infrastructure it seems.

 

Peter Low (Sunnybrook Hospital, Bayview and Blythwood) Photo by Tammy Thorne

The lanes are far too narrow here, and it’s a speed zone as you can plainly see. If I’m going home tonight, I will have to fight this traffic. I will not ride on the sidewalk because it’s illegal, but I don’t feel safe cycling on Bayview.

We need to start with education, it’s probably not going to happen in our lifetime, but for the next generation, cycling safety should be made part of the curriculum in schools.

This area is completely car-centric. I’ve lived here for 27 years and there’s been no change. I know that the local councillor is a believer in complete streets. If anything, they have to stop talking and start acting. Start doing something we can see, whether it be bike lanes or sharrows or enforcement of lower traffic speeds. But again it’s not going to happen, we’ll just be talking till the cows come home.

 

Debbie Courchene (Regent Park) Photo by Yvonne Bambrick

It’s alright. There are a lot of jerks who don’t pay attention to pedestrian signs around here, and that’s kind of frustrating. A lot of people blow right past this intersection, people are inconsiderate or in too much of a rush. That’s the only real issue I have. The roads are mostly clear and I go up through Cabbagetown and it’s quite calm.

 

Josh Cross (Scarborough, Victoria Park Ave. and the Gatineau Hydro Bikeway Corridor) Photo by Heather Reid

Yeah, I think it’s alright, the only threat to my safety is myself, right? I mean it’s not really anybody else’s fault if I get into a crash or anything like that when I’m riding on the sidewalk. I think it’s pretty safe though. I never really bike on the roads, I think that would be a lot more dangerous. I do notice a lot of people biking around here though.

 

Juan Hernandez (York University, The Pond and Sentinel) Photo by Heather Reid

Yeah, I absolutely feel safe. It’s the first time I’ve been around here with my bicycle and you have cycling lanes on some streets. Otherwise, the traffic is not to bad.

 

Jamie Hand (York University, The Pond and Sentinel) Photo by Heather Reid

No, I don’t feel safe because of all the construction with the new subway that’s coming to the university. If anybody wants to ride on Steeles from Jane anywhere up to Keele, you’re close to traffic and you feel like you’re being squeezed like a pancake. Because of the construction a lot of the bike lanes have been cut back until the subway has been built and that could be another two years.

I think they should put more bike lanes in, that should be the number one priority. It’s been a big problem because the city hasn’t had that much infrastructure for many years.

 

 

Special thanks to Vic Gedris, Heather Reid and Yvonne Bambrick. If you’d like to see more of their beautiful photos, buy the Safety issue of dandyhorse.

More Bike Spotting coming to the dandyBLOG soon!

More in the Safety issue, pre-purchase it here!

See previous dandyhorse Bike Spotting

 

Related on the dandyBLOG

Best of Bike Spotting Safety in Focus

Bike Spotting for Bikeability

Bike Spotting for Bikeability Part Two

Bike Spotting for Bikeability Part Four

Bike Spotting for Bikeability Part Five

 

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Bike Spotting for Bikeability in Toronto Part Two

Bike Spotting for Bikeability in Toronto Pt. II: Promo for Safety Issue

dandyhorse’s Safety Issue isn’t due out until later this month, but here’s a sneak peek to tide you over until then.

For this Bike Spotting series we talked to cyclists at Bayview and Blythwood, in the Junction Triangle, Queen and Cameron, York University, the Danforth and Chester, Regent Park and Queen and Dufferin, to hear some of the safety concerns cyclists throughout the city have.

We asked: Do you feel safe biking here? What would you to to make it safer?

These Bike Spottings were done to compliment original research by U of T on bikeable neighbourhoods in the city, which will be featured in our new issue.

Also see our roundup of the Best of Bike Spotting with Safety in Focus.

Interviews by Sarah Greene and Amelia Brown

 

Anthony Bloch (Sunnybrook Hospital, Bayview and Blythwood) Photo by Tammy Thorne

Yes, I feel safe here. There are worse places like downtown and York Mills and Yonge. I like it here because it’s flat, there are no crazy uphills or downhills. I actually live in Thornhill and I prefer taking Bayview. To make it safer they could put bike lanes everywhere, otherwise it’s fine.

 

Allar Vii (The Big Carrot, Chester and The Danforth) Photo by Yvonne Bambrick

I’ve been riding here for 57 years. But of course, bike paths are the best. I don’t see how you can put one on the Danforth, but anything’s possible. You’d have to lose a lane of traffic and then lose parking, and then everybody’s upset.

 

Alex Killoch (The Junction Triangle, Dupont and Dundas) Photo by Vic Gedris

This intersection is alright, it’s controlled. If you do what you’re supposed to you’re okay. Most people don’t do what they’re supposed to though. I don’t think they can make it safer for cyclists. I think the cyclists need to be changed. I see lots of people, even cyclists, running the lights here.

 

Damion Ketchum (Regent Park) Photo by Yvonne Bambrick

I feel fairly safe, I’ve been biking along this corridor for six or seven years, so I’m used to it. I probably helped to trail blaze a lot of the awareness about biking down this corridor. I live in Scarborough. This is part of my commute. Of my commute, this is probably medium risk. The least risky is east of here, where we have bike lanes on Dundas east of the Don. Then I start going up Kingston Road, which goes uphill and is a little more dangerous.

 

Anthony Dineen (York University, The Pond and Sentinel) Photo by Heather Reid

On campus it’s fine because I’m usually the one who’s going to be hitting another person. I’ve only been hit once by a car, but that was on Steeles when there was no bike lane. When I’m travelling on Sentinel with the bike lane it’s fine, as long as you’re aware of the idiots on the road, essentially. But yeah, I generally feel safe.

I’d say more bike lanes on major routes would probably be the simplest way to make it safer.

 

Christopher Yarnell (Sunnybrook Hospital, Bayview and Blythwood) Photo by Tammy Thorne

At this time of day on Bayview it’s a little harried. There’s a lot of traffic, and cars are sometimes reluctant to leave you very much room when they pass you. When there’s construction happening, the way they put the cones at the edge of the lane, is such that you’re forced into a one-lane situation on Bayview, even though there’s pavement that’s not being used by the construction workers -which you could easily bike in, that wouldn’t push you into the flow of traffic. I think in general it reflects an attitude of prioritizing cars over bikes. Like somehow when push comes to shove the bike is the one that doesn’t belong, which I think is not reasonable.

It would be nice to have bike lanes on Bayview. It would be nice to have bike lanes everywhere. There’s really no legitimate north-south bike lane route in this area of the city.

 

Special thanks to Vic Gedris, Heather Reid and Yvonne Bambrick. If you’d like to see more of their beautiful photos, buy the Safety issue of dandyhorse.

More Bike Spotting coming to the dandyBLOG soon!

More in the Safety issue, pre-purchase it here!

See previous dandyhorse Bike Spotting

 

Related on the dandyBLOG

Best of Bike Spotting Safety in Focus

Bike Spotting for Bikeability

Bike Spotting for Bikeability Part Three

Bike Spotting for Bikeability Part Four

Bike Spotting for Bikeability Part Five

 

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Bike Spotting Rob Ford Out

Our Bike Spotting team went down to the Rob Ford Out of office protest at City Hall on June 1 and asked:

What do you want in a mayor?

Photos by Amelia Brown.

Alice Ormiston:

Integrity. Vision. Commitment to equality. Diversity. Experience. Education. Ford should get out.

 

Michael Miller:

I’d like to see a mayor that thinks cities are a great place to be. A mayor that supports density and walkability, and a city where getting around by bike trumps getting around by car.

 

Rob Higgins:

A mayor that cares about the city and the people that live and work in it.

 

A few hundred people showed up to send a message to Rob Ford to resign from his position of mayor of Toronto.

 

Photos by Amelia Brown.

Related on the dandyBLOG:

Bike Spotting for Bikeability

Other Cities Like Bikes

Are the Ford follies coming to an end? Illustration by CTON from the FOOD issue.

Subscribe for our safety issue now.

 

 

 

 

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Mechanical Bike Spotting: The Chain (in Kensington Market)

Augusta and Baldwin

We asked: When was the last time you cleaned your chain and do you do anything special to keep it nice?

Photographs by Yvonne Bambrick and interviews by Sarah Greene

This month, dandyhorse started a new column focused on learning a bit more about the mechanics of specific bike parts and how to take care of them. The first part to be featured was the chain.

So we asked some cyclists in Kensington Market a few questions about their chains, and discovered that a) not all bikes have chains and b) for many riders, Friday March 8 (because it was a lovely afternoon) was their first ride of the season! Because it’s been in the news lately — its building is being listed for rent — we shot in front of Casa Acoreana, at the corner of Augusta and Baldwin.

My recommended musical accompaniment: Chains

Selina Martin

Wait a sec, I think I know you: are you Selina Martin?

Yeah. I just took my bike out. It was hanging in my apartment.

Your chain looks pretty good, is there anything you do to keep it nice?

I oiled it when I put it away a month ago and then I just got it out today. I clean my chain, but not very regularly, and I WD40 it and oil it. I’ve taken my bike to car washes where they use power washes, but I’ve since heard that doing that can mess up your chain, so I haven’t done that in a while. I’ve had it for 25 years and my brother-in-law had it before that for five years.

Christian St. Pierre

You were saying your chain is new?

I bought this chain in November and assembled the whole bike myself from parts – old pieces and new pieces – this is a brand new chain I got off a guy on College. It works pretty good. I rode it through the winter.

What do you do to take care of your chain?

I put oil on it a few times during the winter, but as you can see the sand and the salt [get in there]. I’m just going to have to de-oil it with a degreaser and then re-oil it and clean all the parts around it. Tip: Got to keep your pants away from your chain after you oil it.

Jim Gardiner

So you don’t have a chain — what is that?

Instead of a chain on this single-speed bike I’ve got a Kevlar belt, which I was attracted to because I thought it would mean less winter maintenance — and it has, absolutely. There’s no lubricant on it and it just runs dry and it’s been no problem so far and I ran it all this winter very hard.

It only could work on a single speed because you wouldn’t be able to use it with a traditional derailleur; you could use it with an internal hub.

All you have to do is keep tension on it, which is adjusted back here with these screws at the back and I haven’t even had to adjust it yet.

I bought it at MEC – no one else sold anything else like it. I checked every other bike shop in town.

Peter Brown

This is your first ride of the year?

Yes, my bike has been locked on my front porch since the first snowfall so this is the first day back on the bike. There’s rust in a few places, but my chain seems to be surviving.

Do you do anything to keep your chain nice?

I do clean it maybe once a year with grease, with oil, and I lube it up every now and again.

Lindsey Tighe

Do you remember the last time that you cleaned your chain?

It’s been a couple years, for sure. My bike has been away for the winter — I just pulled it off the balcony because it’s so beautiful.

Is there anything that you do to keep your chain nice?

No, I just ride it. Honestly. When I put the seat on a couple years ago, [the mechanic] did a whole tune-up thing, but since then … I know that’s bad (not putting oil on it).

Katie Nicholson

When was the last time that you cleaned your chain?

I actually just picked it up this morning from the shop – from Bikes On Wheels – they cleaned it for me and tuned it up.

Is there something that you do at home to take care of your chain?

No, but I probably should. It was a new bike, so I haven’t had to yet, but I will definitely keep it oiled. I got it last summer so this was my first tune up.

**

So what should you do to take care of your chain? Read out first ever dandyMechanics column: the Chain to find out.

Related on the dandyBlog:

dandyMechanics Part One: The Chain

Bike Spotting homepage

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