Tuesday, April 26, 2011

A dreadful accident, a wake-up call on street safety

It was a horrible, horrible accident.

A 17-year-old high-school student got off an STM bus near the corner of Rachel and Frontenac Sts., got on his skateboard in the Rachel bike path, and, on a green light, proceeded straight through the Rachel-Frontenac intersection. At exactly the same time, the bus he'd just got off turned at the same intersection, and they collided. The young man was killed, and the driver utterly (and understandably) traumatized.

City of Waterloo Adopts Canada's First Complete Streets Policy

On April 18, 2011, Council for the City of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada approved in principle the Transportation Master Plan that includes a Complete Streets policy. We understand it to be the first in Ontario and believe it makes Waterloo the first municipality in Canada to adopt a Complete Streets policy making active transportation an integral part of their municipal transportation system.

The Federal Election and Cycling

[I]t is not particularly surprising that the platforms of the Liberal and Conservative parties do not mention cycling.

The Green Party platform includes funding for cycling infrasture and promotion, a GST exemption for bicycles and bicycle gear, a tax rebate for companies who provide facilities for commuter cycling and free access to National Parks for people who arrive by bicycle.

The Federal NDP platform for BC includes making employer-provided benefits for cycle commuting tax-free.

Still, elections are great opportunities to talk to politicians about cycling or even get to know them and their supporters better by helping them out by volunteering on their campaigns. Their web sites are great places to find out more about their platforms, how to get involved and who your local candidates are.
Conservatives - http://www.conservative.ca/
Bloc Québécois - http://www.blocquebecois.org/
Greens - http://greenparty.ca/
Liberals - http://www.liberal.ca/
NDP - http://www.ndp.ca/

Skateboarding has many benefits

In recent years, skateboarding has grown into one of the most popular youth activities in the United States. When practiced safely and correctly, skateboarding can be a vehicle in the development of building essential skills, both mentally and physically. These are skills that will help children in future successes and in facing everyday challenges. Self-esteem, satisfaction, coordination, cardiovascular endurance, team building, communication, problem solving and overcoming fears are only a few of the benefits of skateboarding participation.

2011 Complete Streets Forum

On Thursday April 28th, over 200 transportation experts, practitioners, and stakeholders from governments, businesses, and non-profits from across the region and around the world will meet at the University of Toronto's Hart House to discuss how to make Toronto’s streets safer and more inviting for people of all ages, abilities, and choice of transportation.

Ottawa - Protest planned at Rideau and King Edward Tuesday Afternoon

“After years of broken promises from the city of Ottawa, residents have had enough,” says a statement from the King Edward Task Force, made up of residents of Lowertown and Sandy Hill. “The truck route problem is not being solved. A bridge has not been built and the protest is a response to the city’s latest failure to fix King Edward Avenue after a lane reductions study indicated that the street could be reconfigured to four lanes without significant impact on traffic flows ... Instead of following the recommendations of an independent consulting company hired by the city, and strong support from residents and local community associations, councillors on the Transportation Committee decided to ignore the study’s findings.”

Ottawa - Work begins on downtown bike lane

Construction has begun on Ottawa's first segregated bike lane. Work that began Monday will affect Laurier Avenue from Bronson Avenue to Lyon Street, while plans call for the path for cyclists to run the length of Laurier from Bronson to Elgin Street. Construction is scheduled to wrap up by the end of the summer.

Ottawa - Electric Bicycles Public consultation

Join [the National Capital Commission] for a public consultation on the proposed new rules regarding the use of electric bikes and other electric-powered vehicles on the pathways and parkways managed by the National Capital Commission (NCC).

Visit the NCC website at canadascapital.gc.ca/electric-bicycle to learn more about the proposed rules and to share your comments (by May 18, 2011).

Study - Electric Bikes as a New Active Transportation Modality to Promote Health

Electrically assisted bicycles (EAB) are an emerging transportation modality favoured for environmental reasons. Some physical effort is required to activate the supporting engine, making it a potential active commuting option.

Study - Evaluation of Safety, Design, and Operation of Shared-Use Paths

Six shared-use paths around the country were evaluated in terms of their safety and usability. The level of service, rated from A to F, is quantitatively related to trail width and the number of users per hour.

"We're teaching elderly people how to use London Cycle Hire"

Children naturally grab lots of attention. They’re new, they’re noisy, and they usually have a parent or parents with money to spend on them. Consequently, we hear a lot about getting children on bikes, and rightly so, for they will ideally have many years of cycling ahead of them. But with an aging population – there are now more over-60s than under-16s, fact fans – a huge chunk of the population is in danger of being overlooked.

Now, thanks to the London Cycle Campaign, the older potential cyclist is being catered for through the Agewell on Wheels initiative.

AA to distribute free bicycle helmets in London

Ostensibly, the 5000 helmets – and 5000 hi-vis vests – are meant to be handed to those hiring ‘Boris bikes’, the majority of whom don’t wear bicycle helmets. However, any cyclist will be given the helmet and vest at two locations in London [on April 15].

The helmets and vests will be handed out by AA president Edmund King and a crew of AA staffers. King is a keen cyclist, riding in cities on his Brompton and at home on his Whyte mountain bike.

Montreal - Traffic-calming plan gets warm reception

If you live in or drive through the eastern part of the Plateau Mont Royal borough, you can expect some changes in the neighbourhood over the next few years. The borough council has "favourably received" an in-depth urban planning report, which, if fully implemented, would make the neighbourhood much more accessible and pleasant for pedestrians and cyclists and a little less so for motorists just passing through.

Walking the Walk" by National Building Museum curator Susan Piedmont-Palladino

Only 40 years ago almost half of our children walked or biked to elementary school. Now, just 13% do. Half of the remaining 87% are driven to school in a car.

Double Digit Growth for US Bicycle Market

In 2010 the US bicycle imports came close to setting a record for units entering the country. It did set a record for total FOB value of bicycle imports. Last year a total of 19,876,313 bicycles were imported in the US, an increase of no less than 33.2% related to 2009.

Guerilla Urbanism: North Oak Cliff residents create their own Complete Street

Go Oak Cliff finally wrapped-up the video outlining the Better Block event and posted to their site. View it to see how the new non-profit along with residents and members of BFOC took a street that was dominated by cars, and converted it to a place for pedestrians, bicyclists, and cafes.

Benefit of cycle helmet downgraded by study

Contentious new research concludes that cycle helmets do not protect riders from injuries as much as previously thought, but a New Zealand expert urges cyclists to keep their lids on.

State of the Art Bikeway Design, or is it?

An association of transportation experts of 15 major US cities (NACTO) recently published new guidelines for bicycle infrastructure. They claim they are ‘innovative’ and ‘state of the art’ and based on ‘an extensive survey of expert knowledge, [and] existing guidelines from countries and cities around the world’.

But looking at the new NACTO guidelines we doubt they have too.

Video - Riding in the Netherlands

Bikes Belong Netherlands Transportation Study Trip: Notes from the world's best bicycling cities.

Seoul City to provide cyclists with subsidies

Citizens cycling to subway stations will receive subsidies as part of Seoul City’s effort to encourage bicycle use. To boost bike use, the city plans to give about 200-300 won subsidies to people who ride between their homes and subway stations, starting August. Free bike rentals will also be available by making use of abandoned bicycles.