A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘biking

[URBAN NOTE] “Cough Up, Cyclists: Sydney Fines Soar in World’s Toughest Regime”

Angus Whitley of Bloomberg describes a strict regime for cycling in Sydney that I actually think is defensible if flawed. You?

Australia’s newest piece of criminal legislation is among the toughest in the world. The target: cyclists.

In a week, riders in Sydney and the rest of New South Wales state will be subject to a package of new laws aimed at cutting deaths and the more than 1,000 serious injuries a year among cyclists.

The penalty for cycling without a helmet more than quadruples to A$319 ($229), stiffer than many speeding fines for drivers, and riders jumping a red light will get a A$425 fine. Adult riders will have to carry identification, or face a A$106 penalty from March 2017.

Cycling advocates say the crackdown will deter people from saddling up and worsen motorized congestion that’s already grinding down Australia’s biggest cities. Without better planning, the economic cost each year of such gridlock will quadruple to A$53 billion by 2031, according to government agency Infrastructure Australia.

“This legislation is reaching new lows,” said Chris Rissel, a professor at the University of Sydney’s school of public health who has researched the benefits of cycling for 15 years. “There are many things that could be done to make cycling safer and to encourage more people to ride. These things are not it.”

Tougher rules, which come into force March 1, are needed because on average 11 cyclists die and 1,500 are seriously injured each year in New South Wales, said Bernard Carlon, executive director of the government’s Centre for Road Safety.

Written by Randy McDonald

February 22, 2016 at 12:34 pm

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

  • Antipope Charlie Stross takes down the flawed universe-building of fantasy fiction.
  • Anthropology.net notes that apparently, continents without agriculture saw their populations grow as much as continents with agriculture.
  • Centauri Dreams considers Wolf 1061c.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes that the Puebloans took part in long-distance trade, as noted by their food.
  • The Extremo Files notes a new effort to map the badly underexplored oceans of our world.
  • Joe. My. God. notes the five-year anniversary of the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes Mexico’s lawsuit against BP for Deepwater Horizon’s spill.
  • Personal Reflections’ Jim Belshaw is critical of New South Wales’ new regulation of cyclists. (I personally think much of it should be copied in Ontario.)
  • The Planetary Society Blog’s Emily Lakdawalla notes satellite observations of Earth changing through the seasons.
  • Spacing reviews Ladders, an exciting-sounding book about urban development.
  • Window on Eurasia notes a poll suggesting three-quarters of Russians blame the West for their country’s economic problems.

[BLOG] Some Friday links

  • blogTO notes the various subway stations scheduled to get upgrades.
  • Crooked Timber considers the ethics of wealth inequality.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze notes the apparent detection of signals from disrupted hot Jupiters in nearby galaxies.
  • Joe. My. God. notes a lawsuit lodged by people in a New York City parish who allege the church was covering up their priest’s theft of a million dollars for a S&M dungeon master, and notes one instance of Greek Orthodox homophobia.
  • Language Hat notes how Irish Gaelic nobility tried to Anglicize their names, dropping their Macs and O’s.
  • Savage Minds considers the ethnography of the urban wilderness.
  • Spacing Toronto considers biking plans in Scarborough.
  • Torontoist notes the effects of the Fort York bridge, looks at funding for the Toronto Public Library, and examines the greenbelt.
  • Understanding Society contrasts historical and sociological explanations of events.
  • Window on Eurasia notes Russian concerns about the infrastructural vulnerability of Kaliningrad.

[URBAN NOTE] “How about food bikes?”

Spacing Toronto’s Dylan Reid writes about the idea of food bikes in Toronto.

This spring, I was fortunate to be able to spend a few days in Paris. The city is in the midst of trying to reclaim the banks of the Seine river as public space (rather than abandoned industrial or vehicle traffic space). On one low-lying outcropping the city had built a simple park with chairs (awesome chairs — see photo below) — and in that park was a food bike, selling fantastic sandwiches.

My thought, of course, was, could we have food bikes in Toronto? Apart from the wow factor, the concept has several advantages. They are temporary, emissions-free, and mobile. Bikes can reach places vehicles would have a hard time with: the Paris park was only accessible by a ramp, more easily maneouvered by a bike than a vehicle. The park was a bit out of the way, but a food bike has lower overhead than a truck or a full food stand, so doesn’t have to sell as much to make money. And a food bike is temporary, so it doesn’t even have to open at times when no-one will be around, or can go to different locations depending on demand. It doesn’t need to run a motor, so its emissions are far lower than a food truck, and lower too than a food stand that has to be brought in and out by motor vehicle.

Written by Randy McDonald

December 9, 2015 at 3:14 pm

[URBAN NOTE] “Cyclist killed in Toronto accident lived for the outdoors”

The Toronto Star‘s Marco Chown was one author of several profiling the life of Toronto cyclist Adam Excell, killed in a road accident on the 13th of June.

Adam Excell’s grey Chevy sat unused most days. Even in the blowing snow or pelting rain, the outdoor enthusiast would suit up and walk or bike so he could steal a few extra moments under the sky.

When Halifax was hit with a record blizzard last winter, he pulled on his yellow hooded jacket, strapped on a pair of goggles and snowboarded down historic Citadel Hill.

“He lived for that kind of thing,” said lifelong friend Kevin Reid. “The world was his playground, with limitless new sights to see and adventures to have … You could just see the happiness radiating from him.”

The 26-year-old was on his bike Saturday night, heading home from his latest camping trip in Pennsylvania, when he was struck and killed in a hit-and-run at the intersection of Avenue Rd. and Davenport Rd.

Despite being an adventurer, Excell was not a risk taker, say those who knew him best. He was wearing a helmet and had lights on at the time of the accident.

Written by Randy McDonald

June 18, 2015 at 10:47 pm

[BLOG] Some Tuesday links

  • blogTO examines the nature of Toronto’s abundant consumption of electricity.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to a study of the atmosphere of Wasp 80b.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes that Russian rocket manufacturer Energomash may go out of business as a result not of sanctions but of threatened sanctions.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money does not approve of Kenya’s plan to deport Somali refugees.
  • Mark MacKinnon shares an old 2003 article of his from Iraq.
  • The Planetary Society Blog looks at the new Vulcan rocket.
  • pollotenchegg maps, by province, the proportion of Ukrainians claiming Russian as their mother language.
  • Registan argues that NATO and Russia might be misinterpreting
  • Spacing Toronto shares a screed on cyclists.
  • Towleroad notes that Chile now has same-sex civil unions.
  • Transit Toronto notes that the TTC has hired an external corporation to manage the problematic Spadina subway extension.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy argues that libertarians do exist as a distinguishable political demographic.
  • Window on Eurasia examines turmoil in Karelia and terrorism in Dagestan.

[URBAN NOTE] “BIKE THINK TANK: Ridership numbers continue to grow”

Spacing shares a report arguing that biking is really taking off in Toronto, especially in some downtown neighbourhoods. (Some are close to mine, even.)

Although we don’t know exactly who has started to bike in the last few years, we do know just how much things have changed. And they have changed a great deal: Our first hint came when the Toronto Cycling survey released in 2011 by the city’s Transportation Department showed that 29 percent of Torontonians were utilitarian cyclists. Next, Toronto Centre for Active Transportation and Share the Road released their 2013 survey results, showing that 5.7 percent of Torontonians cycle regularly. Most recently, in September of 2013, Cycle Toronto, working with the Toronto Cycling Think and Do Tank, measured the number of cars and cyclists using College St. at Spadina during afternoon rush hour. What we found was extraordinary: approximately equal numbers of cars and bikes used College at this time on the two study days – though the bikes used only a fraction of the road space, of course. That’s a 74 percent cycling increase on this street in just three years.

Finally, an analysis of the National Household Survey data from 2011 shows astonishing figures for cycling mode share in some census tracts – nearly 20 percent in Seaton Village near Christie Pits and in Dufferin Grove, with other areas of the west end following closely. These figures are for work and school trips only, so the total share of cycling trips might be even higher.

So now we know for certain – Torontonians are getting on their bikes in unprecedented numbers. These increases seem even more significant considering the poor curbside conditions, general lack of separated lanes, meager painted bike routes, and shortage of bike parking, especially back in 2011 and 2012 when most of these data were collected. Way to go, Torontonians – we know that the more of us who cycle, the safer it gets, and so we expect collision rates to be declining and emissions and commercial vacancies to be going down, while fitness, disposable income and business revenues increase.

Written by Randy McDonald

March 3, 2015 at 11:27 pm


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