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A Toronto Cyclist's Top 10 Complaints

Posted by Derek Flack / November 25, 2009

Toronto CyclistToronto cyclists have much to complain about and generally aren't shy about airing their discontent. Whether it be the scarcity of bike lanes, the abundance of potholes or simply the fact that our climate makes year-round riding nearly impossible, I think it's only fair to provide a little two-wheeled perspective on the heels of Toronto traffic safety officer Tim Burrow's recently compiled Top 10 list of motorist complaints.

# 10 - The close pass
Having seen a friend's elbow shattered by a van "passing" altogether too closely, it gives me the jitters whenever vehicles don't afford myself and other cyclists adequate space. Granted this isn't always their fault -- roads are, after all, only so wide -- but it's still a common threat cyclists face. I'm not asking for the insanely wide berth some drivers give, but it's a little scary when a passing car brushes me with its wind trail.

# 9 - Lack of bike lanes
Directly related to #10, the lack of bike lanes on major streets throughout the city is an obvious pet peeve that many cyclists share. But it's not just an issue for cyclists; the scarcity of bike lanes is also a pain for drivers who are forced to share the road with those on two wheels. I know it's not so easy as just snapping one's fingers and putting them in, but it's obvious that we need a more comprehensive vision for encouraging the safe use of bicycles in this city.

# 8 - Cars parked in bike lanes
Boneheaded moves like this are getting a little more attention after the Toronto Sun spotted a cop car parked in the bike lane on Annette St. for 20 minutes the other day. The officer's gotten a bunch of flak for his parking job, but the reality is that this happens all the time. Normally it's not a huge deal, but when another vehicle and a cyclist inevitably try to pass the improperly parked car at the same time, the situation can get pretty tricky.

# 7 - Potholes
Most common during spring, potholes rank pretty high up on the list of hazards that face Toronto cyclists and are particularly dangerous for those who whip around town on superlight road bikes like me. Ever flown over the handlebars and wrecked your nice STI shifters because you weren't paying quite close enough attention? I have. And while I accept blame for not noticing the hazard, it still pisses me off that the hole was there, perfectly placed by the curb, in the first place.

# 6 - Winter
Ok, this might be pushing it. But, whenever I talk to friends who live in warmer climates, I bemoan the fact that the riding season is really only seven or eight months 'round these parts. Although the sight of die hard commuters braving snowstorms is pretty common, I'm too much of a wuss to try this. Instead I find myself relying on a car for my transportation needs and an indoor trainer for my "rides," during which I have to damage my ears with blaring music in the hopes that I might distract myself from the pain welling up in my backside.

# 5 - Other cyclists
I might not make any friends with this complaint, but when you ride relatively fast on city streets, other cyclists become a significant and often dangerous obstacle. I often wonder how it's possible to ride at less than 15kph, but somehow loads of commuters manage it. Over and above these slowpokes, also annoying are those riding brake-less fixies, couriers who disregard every rule of the road, and other egomaniac roadies like me.

# 4 - Car doors
In my years of riding, I've seen at least ten people felled by oblivious drivers opening their doors at the exact moment that a cyclist is passing. Always a nasty sight, most roads with on-street parking present a catch-22 scenario: if you want to avoid being suddenly greeted by a car door, it's necessary to drift over into the traffic lane, but this puts you at increased risk of being hit by a moving vehicle, not to mention the wrath of passing motorists.

# 3 - Streetcar tracks
This complaint is a bit like your standard NIMBY argument. As great as streetcars are for moving people around the city, when I'm on my bike, their tracks make for some pretty poor riding conditions. A scary but common scenario involves riding along a streetcar route and the sudden encounter of my #4 complaint, the dreaded car door. Where do you go? If you swerve too hastily, you might find yourself caught in the tracks (and shortly on the deck). Those who know how to bunny hop are served well in this situation.

# 2 - Oblivious pedestrians
I can't count the number of near-misses I've had with pedestrians. Lost in thought or their iPod, the propensity to wander off the sidewalk into bike lanes (or at least the edge of the road) is flabbergasting. I know bikes and their riders don't make much noise, but we're still pretty visible, aren't we?

# 1 - Sudden right turns (without signaling)
My number one pet peeve and the most dangerous thing that I regularly encounter is the last second cut off. If you're lucky you can come to a stop before crashing into the side of the car. If not, get ready for some pain. While it's crucial to be a defensive rider, the average motorist's disregard for the presence of cyclists is, in a word, shocking.

Honourable mentions: jerks who bypass the line of cyclists at red lights, slow e-bikes that need to be passed (but that can be nice to draft!), riding north from downtown (it's all uphill), and the constant threat of bike theft.

Photo by wvs, member of the blogTO Flickr pool.

Discussion

175 Comments

Nick / November 25, 2009 at 12:05 pm
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2manylullzzz.

Complaining about streetcar tracks? Slow bike riders? Seriously? I've always thought cyclists in Toronto have insane entitlement issues, and this article doesn't prove me wrong.
Elizabeth replying to a comment from Nick / November 25, 2009 at 12:17 pm
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Aren't cyclists AND drivers both "entitled" to use the road? WTF?!?
lindsay / November 25, 2009 at 12:18 pm
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Being a driver, have you never made ONE comment about a slow driver? Or maybe your tires getting into the streetcar tracks & making it awkward to drive?

Thought so.

It isn't entitlement, our bikes are our cars.
Suzie / November 25, 2009 at 12:19 pm
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I like how pedestrians are also an issue for cyclists. Yeah, it must be hard to avoid us, crossing streets on red lights or at a crosswalk is sure a boneheaded move for us. Who knew that our right of way is actually stolen from cyclists?

Just like you expect cars to respect you because you're smaller and more vulnerable, you should have the same attitude to pedestrians. It's your job to avoid us, not our job to keep a careful watch for a bike running a red or driving on a sidewalk.
Brian Gilham replying to a comment from Nick / November 25, 2009 at 12:19 pm
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Yeah, because feeling like you are entitled to a safe ride in the city is SO outrageous. The fact is, lots of things have the potential to be dangerous when you aren't riding in a 4,000-pound vehicle.
Mark / November 25, 2009 at 12:22 pm
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Not everyone tools around in a "superlight road bike". Some of us have clunky, squeaky hybrids that date to Pauly Shore's heyday. Others just can't ride that fast or choose not to in order to be careful and safe. Feel free to zip past any slow cyclists where there's room. It's really not a big deal.

If streetcar tracks are that much of a pain, don't ride on streetcar routes, or ride slower. Then you increase your chances of stopping before hitting a door

And if the author's as avid a cyclist as he seems, winter riding should be a breeze if you dress properly. I'm giving it a shot for the first time this year.

I don't mean to be overly critical. Just wanted to put a couple of the complaints into a bit of perspective. The road can't be reserved solely for speedy cyclists and there are plenty of streets in the city that don't have streetcar tracks.
Brian Gilham replying to a comment from Suzie / November 25, 2009 at 12:22 pm
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The article isn't referring to perfectly legal behavior from pedestrians -- and I think that's obvious. It's talking about those who step out into the street at random points. Anyone who has ridden along King Street in the downtown core knows exactly what Derek is referring to.
Hamish Grant / November 25, 2009 at 12:27 pm
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I'll add one to the complaint list for drivers: whiny cyclists.

A lot of these complaints seem to have a lot to do with a style of cycling that is clearly too quick to take in one's surroundings and react appropriately. God knows how many times I've had near-misses with cyclists barreling along not looking around themselves, OR simply going too fast to be able to course correct in time. Cyclists are some of the most maneuverable vehicles on the road - they are also the most vulnerable and they should ride accordingly.

Kevin / November 25, 2009 at 12:28 pm
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Perhaps rather than 'complaints' this should be titled 'grievances'?

While we know we can't change many of these (streetcar tracks, winter), they definitely do provide the obstacle to the cyclist.

Good list!
Becky / November 25, 2009 at 12:30 pm
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Do we get a Top Ten Pedestrian Complaints tomorrow?

I've been known to take the bus one stop in order to avoid the chance being plowed down by a cyclist on the sidewalk. And the number of motorists who stop in the middle of the crosswalk for a light is staggering. As for other pedestrians, stay to the right!

But I think that most of the complaints on these lists could be easily handled if everyone would just wake up and pay attention to their surroundings.
Francie / November 25, 2009 at 12:32 pm
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I got hit (and seriously injured, and my bike totaled) by a driver I was unable to see turning through traffic a few weeks ago. My life was saved by my helmet, and so I would like to add to the complaint list "cyclists who ride without helmets". It makes me cringe. I know I'll catch some flak for this, but I ride six days out of seven year-round and when you add up the above hazards, why wouldn't you? It's scary out there.
cyclistANDdriverANDpedestrian / November 25, 2009 at 12:38 pm
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Many of these complaints lead me to this one conclusion: this guy is cycling too fast.
Joel M / November 25, 2009 at 12:44 pm
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Because bikes don't make noise, pedestrians walking in front of us is a serious hazard. On some streets they don't even look at all, usually have their eyes on their blackberries as they walk into traffic suddenly, forcing us to swerve or slam on our brakes. It seems if they don't hear a car, then nothing can be there. I don't mind slowing for people that want to cross the street illegally, just look both ways first and give me some warning!

If this continues, when electric cars come out pedestrians are going to get mowed down like crazy. People have gone from looking both ways to just listening, and with no engines drivers of electric cars are going to have the same problem as bikes I imagine.

So people please, remember kindergarten: look both ways, even if you don't hear anything.
Gloria / November 25, 2009 at 12:44 pm
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Is there any reason so many cyclists don't invest in some mirrors? Does it throw off the balance of your bike? Is there a legitimate safety reason (because a cyclist once told me he just "didn't want to look")? Honest question; I just want to know why.

It *freaks me out* watching some cyclists blissfully change lanes without checking their blind spot.
justSOMEguy / November 25, 2009 at 12:45 pm
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Top 4 complaints about cyclists:

4. Wear a helmet.
If you bust your head on the pavement should my tax dollars be paying for your hospital stay? Wear a helmet. Same as wearing a seat belt. It's just something you should do.

3. You are not a pedestrian.
Walk your bike through a cross walk. If you don't, you are not a pedestrian, you are a moving vehicle.

2. Follow the rules of the road.
You want to be treated like a vehicle on the road, you still have to follow the rules. Stop at stop signs. SIGNAL your turns. Straight arm for a left, Bent are for a right. It ain't that hard.

1. Ninjas in the dark.
If you want to ride your bike at night, that's great. Wear something other than black. Get a light for the front and back of your bike (reflectors don't always work). It gets dark super early in the winter. People are flying around like stealth bombers out there, and are going to cause accidents and get hurt.
B. Hoo / November 25, 2009 at 12:46 pm
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8: boo hoo
7: boo hoo
6: boo hoo
5: boo hoo
3: boo hoo
2: boo hoo

boo hoo.
Ugh / November 25, 2009 at 12:47 pm
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Oh great, lets give cyclists another avenue to complain.
Surprised #1 wasnt "Former Attorney Generals".
keven replying to a comment from Joel M / November 25, 2009 at 12:49 pm
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Isn't it illegal to bike without a bell?
G Smith replying to a comment from justSOMEguy / November 25, 2009 at 12:54 pm
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"3. You are not a pedestrian."

I am this close to a policy of always, always confronting cyclists who ride through pedestrian crossings -- especially busy ones. Dickish and dangerous.
Michael / November 25, 2009 at 12:54 pm
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Cycling is my main mode of transportation and I'd like to second 'complaint' #5 -- we always hear about how lousy the cycling infrastructure is (because it is) and how threatening cars are (because they are) but I don't hear enough said by cyclists about the behaviour of our fellow cyclists. I'm often forced into traffic by cyclists riding side-by-side so they can talk in the bike lane, and slowpokes. Not to mention the annoyance of rude queue-jumpers at red lights (as mentioned in the article), red-light and stop-sign runners (if you can't obey the rules, why should you expect car drivers to do so?), and those arrogant jerks who think it's cool to ride the wrong way down the street -- either coming at me head-on, or forcing cars to swerve to the right on one-way streets, into my bike path.
Sandra replying to a comment from Hamish Grant / November 25, 2009 at 12:55 pm
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I don't think this article reads as "whiny" at all. If anything, the writer/rider makes a number of concessions regarding the need to share the road and his riding style.

My complaint: cyclists who ride on the sidewalk. They give us all a bad name, and it's actually way more dangerous than riding on the road!
Darcy McGee replying to a comment from G Smith / November 25, 2009 at 12:57 pm
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Busy ones are a problem to be sure. On the other hand at busy INTERSECTIONS it may be safer for cyclists to use crosswalks than the left turn lane.

Still...crosswalks are pedestrian territory, and bicycles should behave as if this is so.
G Smith / November 25, 2009 at 12:58 pm
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"slow e-bikes that need to be passed (but that can be nice to draft!)"

This makes no sense -- how can an e-bike going so slow that you need to pass it be worth drafting?
Vic / November 25, 2009 at 12:58 pm
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"# 10 - The close pass [snip] Granted this isn't always their fault -- roads are, after all, only so wide [snip]"

Ummm...yes, it is always their fault. If a motorist can't pass safely, they are required to stay back until there's enough room.
Derek replying to a comment from G Smith / November 25, 2009 at 01:01 pm
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Yeah, that's not entirely clear. They're annoying when they're going so slow that they need to be passed, but a real joy to draft when they're up at their top speeds.
Colin / November 25, 2009 at 01:05 pm
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How about a list of pedestrian complaints? #1 on that list: cyclists. Can't count the number of time I've nearly been clipped by idiots who don't think stop signs or red lights apply to them. Any time I see one of these guys get slammed by a car simply because they don't give a crap about traffic signals, I smile a little....
HellsYa! replying to a comment from Colin / November 25, 2009 at 01:08 pm
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I smile A LOT :)
SSSasky replying to a comment from Colin / November 25, 2009 at 01:11 pm
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You smile about someone getting 'slammed by a car'? That's pretty harsh, man. No matter what someone has done to me, I wouldn't want wish them serious physical injury.

Will you smile a little when it's you/your mom/your son? I doubt it...
Smarter replying to a comment from SSSasky / November 25, 2009 at 01:21 pm
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Im guessing him/his mom/and son are brighter and know how to obey the rules properly.
m / November 25, 2009 at 01:25 pm
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Flats tires?

Utility companies cutting the concrete exactly where bikes ride for block after block and doing a horrible job patching it.

Outrageous prices prices in Canada <a href="http://ibiketo.ca/blog/2009/11/04/mecs-new-bike-line-happy-customers-angry-bike-shops#comment-10971";>(Blame the distributors)</a>.

E.g. $500, $550 for a Sram Dual Drive at Urbane, SweetPetes (respectively) while in the US
<a href="http://www.niagaracycle.com/product_info.php?products_id=414679"; rel="nofollow">$273</a>,
<a href="http://www.jensonusa.com/store/product/HU407C05-Sram+Dual+Drive+Hub+06.aspx"; rel="nofollow">$302</a>
while in the UK <a href="http://www.langsettcycles.co.uk/products.php?plid=m2b79s259p3965&;tbv=SRAM_Dual_Drive_Hub_(Hub_Only)_ACCESSORIES_Gears_-_Hub_Gears" rel="nofollow">$314</a> (All prices in CAD). On a percentage basis 83% more in urbane than across the border (Niagara Falls NY).

Last time I checked Cervelos are cheaper in Chicago than Toronto, even though they're made here.
JJ Gites / November 25, 2009 at 01:30 pm
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My complaints:

Douchebag drivers
Douchebag cyclists
Douchebag pedestrians

It's everybody's city. They're everybody's roads.

Share, like they told you to do on Romper Room
Frank replying to a comment from Colin / November 25, 2009 at 01:32 pm
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Comments like this are a crass demonstration of how far the relationship between drivers/cyclists has degraded. That's brutal, dude. Smarten up...
DS / November 25, 2009 at 01:32 pm
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We should rename this website to ComplaintBlogTO.
Matthew / November 25, 2009 at 01:32 pm
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Shouldn't Michael Bryant be at the top of this list?
Haha replying to a comment from Matthew / November 25, 2009 at 01:34 pm
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I believe someone mentioned him:

Ugh on November 25, 2009 at 12:47 PM

Oh great, lets give cyclists another avenue to complain.
Surprised #1 wasnt "Former Attorney Generals".
Brian! / November 25, 2009 at 01:36 pm
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This is a pretty ball-sy article. Why open up such a debate that we all know is prevalent and will never be solved?

Was this story posted for letting people air their grievances or a discussion starter.

Let the comment wars begin!
HowAbout? replying to a comment from DS / November 25, 2009 at 01:36 pm
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Or even better...
"WhereCyclistsGotoVentBecauseNoOneCaresWhatTheySayBlogTo.com"
Amanda / November 25, 2009 at 01:41 pm
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A few cents:

I often bike along College west of Bathurst, and find pedestrians to be my major hazard. Cyclists tend to stick to the small portion of the lane used for parking, and often pedestrians will step out into it without paying attention. If you're going to cross the street somewhere other than a crosswalk, at least make sure you're being respectful of fellow road users.

Cyclists on the sidewalk give us all a bad name. A bike is a vehicle – if you're too afraid to use it on the road, then walk.

A helmet is better than nothing, but in most encounters with a car, it won't save you. The injuries you receive from auto accidents tend to be of the broken body type, and most helmets don't extend far enough down the temples to be of any major help in a serious accident. Calling for more helmet use isn't really solving anything – it's a bandaid on a much larger problem.
sweaty / November 25, 2009 at 01:41 pm
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I bike to work slow so I don't have to arrive all sweaty, its the crazy fast ones that annoy me- there are lights at every intersection downtown- its gunna take time, just relax and have an easy ride.
Miss Moneypenny replying to a comment from Amanda / November 25, 2009 at 01:47 pm
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2 more cents

99.99% of cyclists along College ignore the eastbound and westbound red light at Borden, the westbound light at Augusta and the westbound red light by Kalendar.
Derek / November 25, 2009 at 01:58 pm
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@Brian (but also @DS and @HowAbout?)

I'm not sure that those two options are mutually exclusive -- nor do I agree that there's no possibility of ever making any headway in solving the problems outlined above. I'm a cyclist and a driver, and I see both do idiotic things all the time (including myself once in a while), so I don't think this reads as a completely one-sided rant beckoning others to join in the hate-fest. Sure these are complaints, but sometimes (and where appropriate) complaining can usher in the force of change.
Ian / November 25, 2009 at 02:08 pm
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We need a "Get Out of Your Car and Hug a Cyclist Day"?
To make peace.
scott d / November 25, 2009 at 02:08 pm
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Pauly Shore had a heyday?
Pine replying to a comment from Ian / November 25, 2009 at 02:10 pm
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Sounds like most cyclists prefer to hug trees.
dirk replying to a comment from Miss Moneypenny / November 25, 2009 at 02:13 pm
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Very true. I am a cyclist and I seem to be one of the few who stops at these lights mentioned and it does piss me off.

However, I'd like to add that 99.9% of car drivers don't stop at 100% of stop signs. And as a pedestrian, the instances where a reckless cyclist has endangered me are almost nil, whereas I have to watch my ass every day when crossing (on the lights) because people in cars value their own personal time more than human life.

I work near Queen and Spadina and EVERY day I see some car making the right to go north on Spadina when the light goes green and ignoring the 25 people crossing in a large group. 1 person in a car feels that their time and their life is more important than that of 25 other people. That's what happens to your math when you get behind the wheel.
Ryan / November 25, 2009 at 02:17 pm
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The only slow cyclists that annoy me are the ones that don't stop at red lights. I've passed people three or four times on one stretch of road because I stop at lights and they putter through.

And pedestrians seem to keep getting more and more inattentive. The closest I've ever come to hitting anyone on my bike was when a man - leading his three kids - darted out in front of me on Broadview.
Begbie / November 25, 2009 at 02:18 pm
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Cyclists...please stop when streetcar doors open.

You're a vehicle too and have to abide by the same rules as cars.

Thanks.
JC / November 25, 2009 at 02:18 pm
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it should be a law that Cyclists must have insurance and a license... they cause WAY more accidents the cars..

also they should also have to obey the rules of the road if they wand motorists to obey the rules as well.
Ryan replying to a comment from JC / November 25, 2009 at 02:26 pm
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"they should also have to obey the rules of the road if they wand motorists to obey the rules as well."

Does that mean we DON'T have to follow the rules of the road when we see drivers ignore them, too?

Perhaps I should start a new accounting system: Whenever I see a driver break a rule, I'll entitle myself to break one, too.
John / November 25, 2009 at 02:29 pm
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I almost got into a fight with a cyclist on Friday night. Waiting for the streetcar at Queen & Bay, and as I walked onto Queen street as the streetcar was stopping, I looked to my left and this guy was barreling down Queen ringing his bell...and didn't stop, just rode right in front of us.

As soon as I heard the bell I started yelling at him, because I've had that happen to me before with a female cyclist at Queen & Dufferin....streetcar came to a stop I stepped onto Queen street and she started ringing her bell with no intention of stopping.

I understand there are idiots who drive, walk and ride their bike, but if you do ride a bike, you have to stop just like a car when the streetcar stops.

His response was great...."I don't have to stop until the doors open". Haven't heard that one before, probably because its incorrect.


curious123 / November 25, 2009 at 02:33 pm
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With respect to the close pass, I've always wondered, isn't it technically illegal--that is, don't cars technically have to give you a whole lane when passing, as in passing any other vehicle? I know that's not realistic, but it can help make your argument a little stronger when you're at the next stop light 'having a word with' the driver of the car that nearly killed you while passing you (only to be stuck at the same red light that he/she would have been waiting at anyway, if he/she hadn't decided to risk your life by passing you close).
Timetospeak.. / November 25, 2009 at 02:35 pm
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In response to "JC" remarks about insurance and licenses...
I work as an assistant, albeit it a very low level one, for a prominent city councillor here at City Hall. For the past 6-10 months or so now, as cyclist/driver debates have become increasingly more frequent and with the city falling more and more in debt, there has been quite a few hush-hush meetings in regards to figuring out a way to tax cyclists. Nothing has been decided on or even close to coming to furition. But the idea is out here at City Hall and it sure sounds like it is gaining steam.
Please dont shoot the messenger...but i thought it was time to say something after reading the posts yesterday and today.
Colin replying to a comment from John / November 25, 2009 at 02:41 pm
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That's happened to me before too. It's happened crossing the street with the lights too, when a cyclist will try to blows through their red.

My response, if I'm quick enough, is to shoot out an elbow and knock the cyclist off balance. They tend to get the message then.
Yvonne replying to a comment from Suzie / November 25, 2009 at 02:43 pm
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While cyclists are definitely responsible for giving right of way to pedestrians at cross-walks, intersections, driveways and other places where peds can be expected to be on the road, i believe the 'complaint' was specific to those folks who enter the roadway in unexpected places and at inappropriate times - stepping or running out from between two parked cars mid block in the path of an oncoming cyclist for example. Having a cell phone or earbuds in your ears certainly makes it harder to hear my 'Head's Up' bell ringing...
sarah / November 25, 2009 at 02:55 pm
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Not quite 'fair' - complaints about cyclists sneaked into the list once yesterday, with an 'I wouldn't include it but you made me' proviso. Not so here. I'm a cyclist and I still think the attitude of most cyclists in Toronto leaves a huge amount to be desired.
joe / November 25, 2009 at 03:06 pm
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Wow... I can't believe how fast this post has gotten to 50+ comments.

You know what that means? Love cyclists or hate cyclists... everyone is talking about biking in toronto... and that's great for biking in toronto. :)

<a href="http://www.bikingtoronto.com";>BikingToronto.com</a>
Ok replying to a comment from joe / November 25, 2009 at 03:10 pm
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Bikers Suck!
Happy?
joe replying to a comment from Ok / November 25, 2009 at 03:26 pm
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Yes... because you have an opinion about cycling in our city. Even your eloquent two-word opinion counts as people talking about bikes. Keep going!!!
Oda / November 25, 2009 at 03:28 pm
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I am new to Toronto. I'm a paraplegic -- so I'm confined to a wheel-chair. I gotta tell you, a lot of these complaints are valid for me, too! I've been in a wheel-chair for almost 10 years and ever since moving to Toronto I JUST started FALLING OUT of my chair! due to potholes, cracks in the sidewalk, street-car tracks and much more. I'm quite disappointed, to be honest.

My biggest complaint is the oblivious people who are so far into their own world they are IN THE WAY. MOVE.
jack / November 25, 2009 at 04:00 pm
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unless cyclists carry insurance like a real automobile, they don't have any rights to complain..
Dave / November 25, 2009 at 04:07 pm
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So drivers are allowed to complain about bad cyclists, but we aren't allowed to complain about bad drivers?

To all the cyclists reading this; wear a helmet, don't bike on the sidewalks, stop at red lights and stop signs. You can't bike on the road and then pick and choose which road laws you want to follow.

To the drivers; all we want is to get where we're going without dying. If you hit us, your car will be dented, and we'll be seriously injured or killed. We're aware of that fact constantly, and it would be nice if you were too.
Duncan(BikingToronto) / November 25, 2009 at 04:12 pm
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My #1 complaint about cycling in Toronto?

Not enough cyclists!

We have thousands upon thousands who do bike. Let's get that up to a million.
Gloria / November 25, 2009 at 04:17 pm
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I'm actually one of those TTC streetcar commuters who doesn't mind if you cycle by me while I try to board a streetcar. I get that it's annoying to stop and go a lot, especially for a cyclist.

BUT

You still need to slow down. You don't have to stop if there's tooooons of room for you to comfortably cycle by; just slow down in case I drop something, need to pick it up, just suddenly fall down, whatever, so you don't bike over my head.

Of course, if there's a big crowd of people, you have to stop -- don't just barrel through and make us scatter.
You'reBatSh*tCrazy replying to a comment from Duncan(BikingToronto) / November 25, 2009 at 04:29 pm
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Ha ya. Thats all we need. God help us all!
jameson / November 25, 2009 at 04:31 pm
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does the person that wrote this article even bike?

taxis taxis taxis! cruising for parking spots! looking for fares instead of watching the road! pulling u-turns! letting passengers off at improper spots! once you've gotten doored by someone getting out in the left lane, you'll understand.

the city should be restricting the number of licenses they grant and forcing people without vehicles to take public transit!
joe replying to a comment from jack / November 25, 2009 at 04:33 pm
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Really? You're making a case for a "right" to complain? I think it's already a widely-established human right, judging by how many people like to do it.

As for your "insurance begets complaining rights" argument... I guess you only complain about things you have insurance for? So... just your car, your house, and your life?

<a href="http://www.bikingtoronto.com";>BikingToronto</a>
Jackie / November 25, 2009 at 04:34 pm
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I try to be a conscientious rider, and I err on the side of safety most of the time. When I have gone to Europe in the past, and even Montreal, cycling is treated as a bona fide way of travel, not a nuisance for motorists to treat with disdain. For example, in Zurich, 3ft walls are sometimes in place, with bike lanes on the right of the wall so there is no way to get a "door prize" and you are not in competition with motorists for the road. I wish city planners could have more foresight. Cities should be planned according to the facilitation of movement, all kinds of movement.
Rob replying to a comment from Jackie / November 25, 2009 at 04:41 pm
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So, Montreal aside, you advocate a city roadways being overhauled and reduced to make room for a method of transport which is only viable to the majority of the public 5-6 months a year?
Peter K replying to a comment from Dave / November 25, 2009 at 04:43 pm
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All we hear is cyclists bitch. They blame drivers, and very rarely, admit their own portion of the responsibility for the dangerous situation on the roads.
joe replying to a comment from You'reBatSh*tCrazy / November 25, 2009 at 04:45 pm
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Yes, that IS exactly what we need. Then traffic wouldn't be stopped in Toronto all the time. 1 million bikes take up a ton less room than 1 million cars.

If we can fit more people onto our roads, that means more economic activity for businesses too.
Rob replying to a comment from Peter K / November 25, 2009 at 04:46 pm
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Though they shouldn't "have to" (in a perfect world), bicyclists and pedestrians need to realize that they are going to lose a confrontation with a car 100% of the time and CONDUCT THEMSELVES ACCORDINGLY. There's not much point in being "dead right".
John / November 25, 2009 at 04:57 pm
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I am tired of cyclists complaining. Often times they are at fault for the accidents that they are in. I have been witness to cyclists riding with headphones on, riding way too fast, ignoring red lights and stop signs, hitting pedestrians, not paying attention to cars turning, riding into open car doors when the car door was clearly open long before they hit it. Or what about cyclists riding road bikes without brakes, or cyclist riding without helmets.

lmackintosh / November 25, 2009 at 05:01 pm
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A cyclist is only a cyclist until the light is red.
Run them over! replying to a comment from Colin / November 25, 2009 at 05:05 pm
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Here here... we would be a lot happier of a city if we all smiled when bikers got run over because they don't follow the rules of the road
joe replying to a comment from John / November 25, 2009 at 05:24 pm
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Good points John, but I bet you could also say you've seen drivers who run red lights, don't stop (or just slow down) at stop signs, talk on their cell phones while driving, txt msg while driving, eat while driving, not pay attention to their surroundings while driving...

<a href="http://www.bikingtoronto.com";>BikingToronto</a>
joe replying to a comment from Rob / November 25, 2009 at 05:25 pm
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Rob... using your logic, everyone should drive around in Hummers, and no one should walk or bike. That way, we are all on an "even playing field" as there would be no winners or losers in a collision.

<a href="http://www.bikingtoronto.com";>BikingToronto</a>
Colin replying to a comment from SSSasky / November 25, 2009 at 05:27 pm
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Neither myself, my mom, nor my son are idiots, so that would never be the case. Accidentally getting hit by a car is one thing, but getting hit by a car because you ignore traffic signals is another thing. Another, much funnier thing.
Colin replying to a comment from Run them over! / November 25, 2009 at 05:36 pm
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Damn straight. And you can bet they'll be much more careful when they get out of the hospital. Look, I'm not wishing them dead, just to learn a painful lesson (that they will fully recover from). It's like watching some idiot on YouTube exploding a lit firecracker in his mouth and then crying as he stumbles off to the dentist. Part of me thinks: 'Well what did he THINK would happen?', and another (smiling) part of me thinks, 'I bet he won't be doing that again.' If getting hit by a car is the only way someone will learn not to be a moron and possibly endanger the lives of others, then so be it.
dnr / November 25, 2009 at 05:46 pm
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Cyclists are theeee biggest crybabies.
Colin replying to a comment from joe / November 25, 2009 at 05:51 pm
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I don't think you understand what Rob's implying at all. There are idiot drivers, idiot cyclists and idiot pedestrians all over the city. He's saying that when you're in the latter two categories, you have to be EXTRA cautious of those in the first category because of the extraordinary amount of damage their vehicles can cause.
Martin replying to a comment from John / November 25, 2009 at 05:53 pm
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From the TTC website;

Did you know:

Customers who enter the roadway before the streetcar has stopped and opened its doors can be fined $28.00

So John feel free to yell at cyclists who ride by the stopped streetcar w/open doors, but wait on the curb until the doors open and let all the traffic pass, cars & bikes.

http://www3.ttc.ca/Riding_the_TTC/Safety_and_Security/Streetcar_Watch.jsp
jamesmallon / November 25, 2009 at 05:54 pm
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Cyclists, pedestrians, transit-riders, drivers all: Torontonians are whiny bitches. I've done them all in this city, and Torontonians manage to suck the fun out of any of them.
GI Poo / November 25, 2009 at 06:10 pm
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A cycling tax wouldn't be at all necessary if the police enforced any of the laws we see broken many times every day. If police actually patrolled bike lanes and gave out tickets that would raise some money. If police actually ticketed cyclists for riding on the sidewalk that would bring in some money.

The City's official plan actually says they want to encourage active transportation like cycling. A tax would be contrary to the official plan.

Tell your councillor to drop the bike tax idea and pressure the police to enforce the law. Hey, they could even do what Joe Mihevic does and start group rides from a point in the ward to downtown.
Jeremy / November 25, 2009 at 07:50 pm
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I'm a driver, and let me tell you - there are SO many horrible, selfish and generally unaware drivers on Toronto streets. I do feel for cyclists because I've seen way too many cars change lanes without considering a bike beside them, especially on streets that happen to have street cars on them. I can see why many cyclists get upset.

At the same time, I pass through a lot of four-way stops on my way to work in the mornings, and I'd say at least once a day I see a cyclist disregard these stop signs entirely. Doesn't really seem smart to me, and I'd also call it a pretty selfish move as well.

My point? Citizens arrests and lots of 'em! Boo yah!
James / November 25, 2009 at 07:59 pm
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To address a few of the comments here:
- Cyclists are actually subsidizing our city streets for drivers [1]
- It's unhelpful to suggest that cyclists are riding too slow - we all need to slow down a little (drivers, cyclists and pedestrians). Everything would be a bit more civil if we weren't in such a hurry - go to Copenhagen to see how relaxed people are on their bikes.
- Cycling in Toronto is comfortable for 9-10 months of of the year
and anyone who says the weather only allows cycling 6 months of the year is probably living in Thunder Bay or Nunavut.
- Anyone who thinks helmets should be mandatory for cyclists in the city should also support pedestrian helmets and driving helmets.
- Bicycle helmets haven't been scientifically proven to save lives, so comparing it to a seatbelt is like comparing apples to oranges.
- People who complain about cyclists not coming to a complete stop at 4-way stops.. have you ever seen a car come to a "complete" stop at a 4-way stop when there are no other cars there??
- People who suggest that cyclists have no rights because some of them don't obey the rules need to get their head of their ass. I've never heard someone say that drivers have no rights because some of them disobey the law - it's a ridiculous statement.
- Cycling insurance/tax/licensing is a ludicrous idea. Cyclists already pay taxes and rogue cyclists are only putting their own lives on the line - unlike automobiles who have a greater responsibility because of the damage they can cause to the more vulnerable users of the road.
- The police do give out tickets to cyclists
- If I'm not mistaken by law drivers must pass cyclists with at least 1 meter of space

[1] http://www.theurbancountry.com/2009/10/cyclists-paving-way-for-ungrateful.html
Andrew replying to a comment from Elizabeth / November 25, 2009 at 08:19 pm
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Nope. Cycling on the road should be illegal
Andrew / November 25, 2009 at 08:31 pm
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Cyclists are NOT entitled to use the road and this is why:

1. Not safe: Bikes do not offer any of the protections required in cars by LAW! i.e. steel cage, airbags, etc. If cars need them for safety by LAW, then how can it possibly be legal for cyclists to go without them.
2. Bikes can't keep up with traffic. <40kmh cars are illegal for a reason: they hold up traffic and are unsafe for all involved. It seems that bikes are even worse. How can cyclists be allowed to pass cars IN THE SAME LANE?! Anyone who believes this is legal or safe is an idi*t.
3. Cyclists do not pay gas taxes to maintain roads, do not pay insurance (have no liability for anything) and waste our health care money when they inevitably get hit!!
mr hate / November 25, 2009 at 08:39 pm
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The comment system on BlogTO sucks bal*s.

"replying to a comment by" is completely useless.

Number the comments and make it "replying to comment # X by blabla".

Or at the very least if the comments are numbered we can put "Hey comment #7 you crazy."

You guys must be happy with the increased traffic and participation on the site over the past few weeks now make the site work better.
Tee / November 25, 2009 at 08:41 pm
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I have to say I'm baffled by how many times, as a cyclist, I've been almost spat on by pedestrians who spit into the street. Yet another reason to keep your loogies to yourself.
mr hate / November 25, 2009 at 08:46 pm
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Tee:

That topic is tommorow.

I have dodged the spit too.
GC / November 25, 2009 at 08:49 pm
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Re: # 4 - Car doors
In my experience with cyclists, the ones that DO NOT wear anything relflective or have any reflective or illumination on their bodies or bikes and cycle AT NIGHT create this problem (of invisibility) themselves. Just like defensive driving - you should be defensive cycling. Think about visibility, not cover-of-night, please. Mirror and blind spot checks aren't going to catch you if you're ALL BLACK at night.
James / November 25, 2009 at 08:51 pm
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Cyclists do pay taxes to pay for roads. The gas tax primarily pays for highways, of which cyclists aren't generally allowed to ride on anyway. A 2004 study by the Victoria Transport Policy Institute found that cyclists pay more than their fair share of the roads and are actually subsidizing the roads for drivers.

Cycling has a benefit to our society because it is healthy, it reduces obesity, reduces carbon emissions. The benefits it has on our health care far exceeds the cost of the rare instances where a cyclist is hit.

James / www.theurbancountry.com
Andrew replying to a comment from Andrew / November 25, 2009 at 09:12 pm
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Also, what gives a cyclist the right to pass a motorist on the road - and in the same lane to boot??! And if the driver hits them when they're cruising by it's their fault?! That's utterly ridiculous! It's like charging the subway operator if someone jumps in front of his train. <40kmh electric vehicles are not allowed on the roads so why are bikes?

James: There are tons of ways to stay healthy (why must cycling to work be the only one?), and you can cut emissions by taking transit.

I have no problem with cycling per se - and I would probably cycle to work provided there was a bike path isolated from the road on every major street in Toronto. I just think that having cars and cyclists on the same road (and in the same lane!) is a complete joke! And I can't see why something that is so blatantly dangerous is permitted by the law, except to save the city some road-expansion dough.

Besides this stuff, I don't have any solid facts about the health care cost of cyclists - except that anecdotally, 11 out of 14 people I know who cycle have had some sort of serious injury caused by a collision with a motorist.
James / November 25, 2009 at 09:16 pm
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Andrew, there is no reason why cyclists and cars can't ride on the same roads except for grossly ignorant attitudes that cars have to drive dangerously and can't respect and share the road with cyclists.

Watch this video - it's a good example of how cars and cyclists can get along on the same streets: http://hembrow.blogspot.com/2009/11/den-bosch-at-high-speed.html

It's our attitudes that need to change...
cocoa / November 25, 2009 at 09:19 pm
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Out of curiousity, is this sort of cyclist vs driver/pedestrian/municipal planning agitation common in other cities as well?

It's always struck me as odd for Toronto, considering the number of cyclists drops significantly for half the year. You all are well organized and very vocal.
Andrew / November 25, 2009 at 09:23 pm
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James: Thanks for the video. I think that if Toronto streets looked like that we could definitely pull it off (and probably get ourselves on a ton more postcards). However, I think we can both agree that we have a lot more cars on our roadways (i.e. >5 at rush hour) owing to our population and the design of our city.
James / November 25, 2009 at 09:34 pm
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Agreed Andrew. But the only way to change that is to get more people on their bicycles. It's great for everyone, even drivers because it reduces gridlock, pollution, and it's healthy.

Here's another good video of Copenhagen during rush hour - lots of cars, but WAY MORE bicycles: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OYajXN4pPHI

If we maintain the attitude that bikes can't co-exist with cars, we'll never get there and we'll drive ourselves to death.
James / November 25, 2009 at 09:38 pm
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PS: Population isn't an impediment to achieving this, but I agree that the design of our city has a long way to go. But the only way to speed that up is to get more people cycling!
James / November 25, 2009 at 09:42 pm
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cocoa - in my experience, the agitation between cyclists/drivers/pedestrians/municipal planning does happen in other cities - but I would say more so here in Toronto. I would say drivers and cyclists both have a sense of entitlement that creates friction. I think the solution is for everyone (drivers, cyclists and pedestrians) to slow down a bit, take a deep breath and have a bit more patience and respect. On my bike I try to wave to drivers who give me space, in my car I try to give cyclists space or slow down when passing them.

I would disagree about people only cycling half the year. It's almost December and there are still a lot of us out there every day cycling.
Andrew replying to a comment from James / November 25, 2009 at 09:43 pm
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James: And what happens 50 feet later when the bike lane ends, or a truck is pulled over making a delivery, or at the very next intersection when cars are trying to make a right turn and cyclists don't bother stopping at the light, or the bus stops and people want to get off... I don't even want to know. That is one hardcore cycling mob they're got in that video.
James / November 25, 2009 at 09:51 pm
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Andrew: The difference is in Copenhagen the drivers are more aware of the cyclists because there are so many of them and there is generally a lot more respect between drivers and cyclists. Plus the cycle lanes don't end in Copenhagen ;)

Cyclists also have their own lights, and cyclists always have the right of way over the automobiles. The cycle lights are actually timed to keep the bicycle traffic flowing.

But all of that didn't happen overnight. It took a lot of political will and investment by the Copenhagen government.

It can happen here too...
David / November 25, 2009 at 10:21 pm
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I've been biking in Toronto for nearly 30 years and I worry about:
Drivers turning right without signalling
Drivers turning left who don't see bicycles
Drivers opening doors without looking for cyclists
Pedestrians who carefully look both ways and step out in front of me

And I'm embarrased by cyclists who:
Ride on sidewalks
Ride the wrong way on a one way street or on the wrong side of the road
Cycle through cross walks
Don't stop for streetcars

There's a T intersection at Wellesley and Ontario with a red light. It is often busy with kids going to Winchester School. The solution for some cyclists is not to stop at the red light, but to go up onto the sidewalk at one side of the intersection and back onto the street on the other side. I don't understand.
David / November 25, 2009 at 10:53 pm
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I think all of this can be resolved by people following the laws. That goes for cyclists, drivers and pedestrians. There are a lot of terrible drivers out there and not one person can argue against that. What I am tired is the self ritgeous attitude cyclists have that they are always in the right. I'd say 9 out 10 cyclist don't signal. Don't argue with me you know it is true. Good on you to those who do signal. Thank you. Far too many cyclist pick and chose whether or not they are driving in pedestrian sections of the street and riding section. It is illegal for a cyclist to cross the street by riding into the pedestrian foot path at lights. If you want to turn left wait for your light, signal and wait like the rest of us. Please recognize that those intentionally looking to hit a cyclist are few and far between. Drivers can't always see you. I ride a motorcycle and I realize, as all cyclist, that bitching about the safety of the road and bad drivers isn't going to keep me safe. Only I can keep me safe. If that means I have to yield even though it is my right to go so be it. I for one like the use of my legs.
TIM / November 25, 2009 at 10:58 pm
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I just got a 454 dropped into my Chevelle. Got a mild cam and Dual Headers.. THRUUUSHHH
David / November 25, 2009 at 11:03 pm
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"- Cycling insurance/tax/licensing is a ludicrous idea. Cyclists already pay taxes and rogue cyclists are only putting their own lives on the line - unlike automobiles who have a greater responsibility because of the damage they can cause to the more vulnerable users of the road."

Are you high? That's like saying that bad drivers are only putting their own lives on the line so they shouldn't have to pay for insurance if they do not want. What about the cyclists who hit pedestrians for riding on the sidewalk? I can think of two case where a cyclist has killed a pedestrian in the last year alone. Who is to compensate those families or the medical bills of someone who has had their leg broken when hit byt a cyclist? A drivers insurance is less about insuring themselves than the other people involved. Yes, a car can cause more damage. No shit. What recourse does everyone else have when a cyclist does the damage?
James / November 25, 2009 at 11:16 pm
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David, in that case, why not mandate that joggers be insured? There have been situations where joggers have accidentally hurt pedestrians. Who is going to compensate those families or the medical bills of someone who has had their leg broken when hit by a jogger?

Maybe pedestrians should be insured and taxed too. They get their own roadways (sidewalks) all over the city. What right do they have to walk on a sidewalk without paying taxes and insurance?

Mothers with strollers should pay extra taxes, because they take up more space and they are a menace to everybody.

What about roller bladers? Why do they get a free skate? Why not create a new department in our government to license roller bladers. License plates, stickers, insurance, the whole bit.

Skateboarders should have a minimum of $1 million in liability insurance.
NS / November 25, 2009 at 11:37 pm
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I don't mind cyclists...just so long as they stay on the sidewalk.
Joel M replying to a comment from keven / November 25, 2009 at 11:53 pm
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Yep, and I have a bell, and I use it all the time. However many people just dart out in front of me without warning and I have no time to ring it because I'm trying to stop on a dime without flying over the handlebars or swerving into the path of a truck. I guess I could ring it as I'm plowing over them. There is honestly no warning sometimes, its the worst on side streets when they figure there is no traffic coming.

I don't think asking people to look both ways is that bad of a request. I try to be a responsible cyclist, I don't ride on the sidewalk, stop for lights and streetcars. I know there's a lot of idiots out there, but all I'm asking you is to not walk in front of me without looking when I'm half a foot away from you.


TL / November 26, 2009 at 12:12 am
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I really want to see a cyclist stop at an intersection like they are suppose to so pedestrians can cross safely without fear of being run over
steph / November 26, 2009 at 01:31 am
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I was stopped on my bicycle at the corner of College and Huron St and counted 6 pedestrians walking across the street while there was still about 6 seconds left of the red light. Some barely even looking both ways. Then at College and Bathurst a man was just taking his sweet time crossing on a red light, the opposite green light having been green for about 3 seconds already when he started.

Then again, a cyclist in front of me was riding with no hands (so dangerous), with his jacket sleeves over his hands, no helmet, no light (it was about 9pm), if he had to stop suddenly, it'd be quite a struggle to get his hands free and onto the brakes. So there definitely are some stupid cyclists out there.

For those of you suggesting cyclists buy a car already, I can only hope that you are joking and that I'm not understanding it. I bicycle everyday because it's good exercise, I save $100 a month not using ttc, takes 25 mins to get to school vs 1 hr of walking and it's much more peaceful then getting onto a crowded streetcar.
J replying to a comment from Amanda / November 26, 2009 at 09:05 am
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Bones heal. Brains don't. Helmets prevent brain injuries. I know multiple people who would have had their skulls cracked, and likely died if not for wearing a helmet. Not wearing a helmet is a dumb move.

Your line of reasoning, if I understand it, is "Helmets will not protect you from every injury" so "There is no point in wearing a helmet." That doesn't follow.
Bee / November 26, 2009 at 09:19 am
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Can you publish an article about the top ten complaints from pedestrians? I'll write it.
NoNeed replying to a comment from Bee / November 26, 2009 at 09:22 am
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Why the need? Pedestrians arent cyclists. Dont need to complain.
BA / November 26, 2009 at 09:30 am
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Cyclists who wear Ipods while cycling.
Really now?? You're idiots.
LizB / November 26, 2009 at 09:31 am
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Oblivious pedestrians? How about following the rules of road, maybe cyclists have near misses with pedestrians because they run reds and don't look where they're going.
Bee replying to a comment from NoNeed / November 26, 2009 at 09:43 am
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I have no idea what that means!
LetMeTellYou / November 26, 2009 at 09:48 am
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It means cyclists are piss ants.
That is all.
keven replying to a comment from Joel M / November 26, 2009 at 10:08 am
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Sorry it sounded like you were implying that you didn't have a bell by saying you're silent.

I agree with you 100%. I try to be as conscientious as possible as a pedestrian, especially to cyclists.
Katy / November 26, 2009 at 10:14 am
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There's a wealth of stupidty out there in the big old world and no one demographic group has cornered the market on it. There are stupid, selfish, oblivious, entitled, or reckless pedestrians, stupid, selfish, oblivious, entitled, or reckless cyclists, stupid, selfish, oblivious, entitled or reckless car drivers. Part of the problem, I think, is exactly the kind of insulting and adversarial "us against them" mentality that's in evidence in many of these comments. Every group has its fuckwits and every group has legitimate complaints. Rapprochement is unlikely to happen when people just fling shit at one another. That's what I figure.
G Smith replying to a comment from steph / November 26, 2009 at 10:26 am
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"I was stopped on my bicycle at the corner of College and Huron St and counted 6 pedestrians walking across the street while there was still about 6 seconds left of the red light. Some barely even looking both ways."

So?
AndrewB / November 26, 2009 at 12:03 pm
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It's pretty simple: both drivers and cyclists need to understand that a bike is a **vehicle**, subject to the same rules, procedures and courtesies. Almost all adult cyclists also drive cars. If the police ticketed both parties for infractions involving bikes (e.g., blowing lights, passing too closely, opening doors . . .), and the ticket applied to their driver's license and insurance, you would see a lot better adherence to laws applied to **vehicles**.
Zed / November 26, 2009 at 12:46 pm
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Wow, I think this is a record for number of comments for a BlogTO article. It really shows how fuckin bitchy and uptight everyone is in this city. Get a life and move on with things people. Cyclists, pedestrians, cars, strollers, scooters, skateboarders, and roller bladers all share the same urban spaces, as do dogs, homeless, junkies, drunks and whores...and don't forget construction workers, TTC, emergency, and delivery vehicles, and tourists.

Have a nice day...respect others!
Gggrrrr replying to a comment from Zed / November 26, 2009 at 12:49 pm
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Oh man...my dog hates skateboards!!!!
Zed replying to a comment from Zed / November 26, 2009 at 01:05 pm
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ooops, I forget the elderly, children and the handicapped

Phil / November 26, 2009 at 01:07 pm
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Not too long a go I was riding behind a woman on the Parkdale stretch of Queen. We were doing a decent speed when a mini-van taxi did the 'close-pass' on me, then brushed her elbow. She went down so fast I hardly saw it happen. There was a horrible crashing sound, then a whimper. By the time i got off my bike to help, blood was flowing from her matted hair, pooling in a large crimson halo behind her on the street. The minutes before the ambulance arrived felt like an eternity. I remember trying to sound convincing while telling her, "You're going to be alright. You're going to be alright".

We can joke and argue about how cyclists are jerks, or drivers are jerks - whatever. Fact is, practicing a willful lack of respect for human life on the street can result in something so much more serious than most of us are prepared for.
K / November 26, 2009 at 01:34 pm
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While these are good points. We also have to keep in mind that some bikers just don't know how to ride a bike properally and/or don't follow street rules. Ie, not stopping when streetcar or school buses, not stoping at stop signs, not stoping at crosswalks and somtimes red lights. Just becuse you arn't a car cyclists, it doesn't mean the rules don't apply to you.
Jennifer replying to a comment from Phil / November 26, 2009 at 02:16 pm
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Oh wow, was the woman who got swiped by the cab okay? Did the cab stop? It really freaks me out when I get close-passed....I wish drivers were more respectful.
Mr. Safety / November 26, 2009 at 02:27 pm
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Bad behaviour is bad behaviour -- be it in a car, on a bike, or on your feet. The problem is enforcement.

I remember a couple of summers ago the police did a "bike blitz," handing out tickets to naughty cyclists in heavy bike traffic areas of the city. (ie. Queen West, College St.) It definitely forced a friend of mine to rethink his shoddy biking habits after being handed a $200 ticket for blowing a red light. Unfortunately, a week later the "blitz" was over, along with any positive long-term effects.

We need this approach year-round. Get the cops out at random, not just on the main drags but in the neighbourhoods, where it's like a cyclist's wild west. You blow a red light, you ride on the sidewalk (and you're not a 7 year-old), you ride the wrong way on a one-way... boom, ticket. Then watch as bad cycling becomes a thing of the past and the rah-rah car crowd has nothing to bitch about except being stuck in traffic while bikes cruise by.

By the way, the whole enforcement argument goes double for these tards still talking on their cells while driving. They're thumbing their noses at the law and they know it.

Cyclists, remember that when you ride, you represent everyone who bikes. Respect the rules and don't give the haters any more ammo; they've got enough misplaced anger already.
JohnnyBender / November 26, 2009 at 02:29 pm
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I take issue with "jerks who bypass the line of cyclists at red lights". I do this EVERY time, because frankly it's safer for me to pass slow cyclists when they are stationary than 10 feet after the light goes green and everyone clusters.
Phil replying to a comment from Jennifer / November 26, 2009 at 02:45 pm
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Cab didn't stop. I don't know if she survived - the ambulance took her to St. Joseph's and that was the last I saw of her. By the size of the pool of blood left behind - would have been a close call for sure.
Jennifer / November 26, 2009 at 02:49 pm
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top ten pedestrian gripes, in no particular order...

1. people who don't keep right.
2. people who walk two or three abreast, taking up the whole sidewalk.
3. people who stop suddenly.
4. cyclists on the sidewalk.
5. skateboarders on the sidewalk.
6. drivers who want to make a right turn on a red light and forget that they have to stop first and check for folk crossing the road.
7. joggers who think they own the sidewalk and smash into you.
9. mommies with SUV strollers who think they own the sidewalk and smash into you.
10. drivers on cellphones.
Jennifer / November 26, 2009 at 02:51 pm
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hmm, forgot 8. let's seee...cars that speed through large puddles and splash you during rainstorms.
smartygirl / November 26, 2009 at 03:36 pm
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this: jerks who bypass the line of cyclists at red lights

also, cyclists who come to a stop to tie their shoes or chat with a friend or adjust their ipod or whatever, and don't get off the road to do it. argh

and especially, joggers who think they are too fast for the sidewalk and flail around in the bike lane
Antony / November 26, 2009 at 06:48 pm
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Ah, it must be Festivus season again.

As they say: when you're driving, every cyclist/pedestrian can be an inconvenience. when you're cycling or walking, every driver can kill you.

Roger replying to a comment from G Smith / November 26, 2009 at 07:02 pm
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As an e-bike rider, I pass other cyclists much more often than I am passed. I hardly ever see others on e-bikes going slower than the usual pace of bicycles.
BanBikes.TO / November 26, 2009 at 07:05 pm
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http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/BanBikeTO/ lets get this movement started people!!
Martin replying to a comment from Andrew / November 26, 2009 at 07:11 pm
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@Andrew

Our property taxes pay for road maintenance in the city, not gas taxes.

Download the breakdown. http://www.toronto.ca/taxes/property_tax/index.htm

5.33% goes to Transportation Services http://www.toronto.ca/transportation/ which includes among other things road maintenance.

I love how misinformed so many of you are.

Roger replying to a comment from G Smith / November 26, 2009 at 07:22 pm
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I'm surprised taxi cab drivers didn't even make this list. In my experience, taxis are the most unpredictable vehicles on the road in downtown Toronto.

They're more likely to stop in front of you without indicating, pull a u-turn in front of you without any prior warning or stop in the designated bike lane to pick up or drop off a fare. And cabs are also more inclined to give you the door prize too, mostly due to where they choose to stop.

Taxi cab drivers should have to complete a cyclist safety course in order to get their license. A lot of it is common sense, but it's sorely lacking in this city.
LR replying to a comment from Rob / November 26, 2009 at 08:48 pm
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And what about those of us who DO conduct ourselves accordingly, and STILL get hit by incredibly selfish, jerky, incompetent drivers? I'm sorry but cars are bigger and more powerful and thus are dangerous weapons. The onus should ALWAYS be on drivers to look out for the rest of us, for exactly the reason you mentioned... a cyclist or a pedestrian will lose (their life) if a car hits them.
EatMe replying to a comment from LR / November 27, 2009 at 08:14 am
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You self righteous jackass.
Up yours and the "onus" on drivers BS.
You are the exact reason cyclists are so despised in this City.
Heads up today, cars are looking for you specifically.
Mark replying to a comment from LR / November 27, 2009 at 08:24 am
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The onus should be on everyone to look out for everyone equally.
Agreed replying to a comment from Mark / November 27, 2009 at 08:26 am
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Now there is a voice of reason. Nicely said Mark.
Peter K replying to a comment from Mark / November 27, 2009 at 08:31 am
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Mark is right, we all have a responsibility whether we are driving, cycling, or walking.

I have a friend who got hit by a car as she was jaywalking across Bloor Street a few years ago. She ended up getting the ticket because what she was doing was illegal. It's terrible that she got hurt, but it was caused by her lack of awareness and care for her own safety as a pedestrian.
Phil replying to a comment from EatMe / November 27, 2009 at 09:56 am
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Are you telling me that you, "Eatme", sitting warm and comfy-cozy in your upholstered car, listening to prog-rock on the mighty-Q, sipping your starbucks latté... are so inconvenienced by the responsibility of not hitting bicyclists that you 'despise' us? You need to calm your rage at the fact that (while you're stuck in traffic) someone else is getting where they're going faster, cleaner, cheaper, and more stylishly than you. Suck it up, you colossal chump.

Oh, and heads up. That Kryptonite™ lock in my back pocket can do more than lock up my bike. Test me.
joe replying to a comment from EatMe / November 27, 2009 at 10:01 am
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I guess "Eatme" believes that him and other drivers shouldn't look out for anyone. Not cyclists, not pedestrians... what about other cars? That really isn't practical at all.

It would also be nice to see a more civil discussion of cycling / traffic issues in Toronto ... a seemingly impossible task in any comments section on BlogTO, Torontoist, or any of the newspaper sites.

<a href="http://www.bikingtoronto.com/forum";>Biking Toronto Forum</a>
Pitiful / November 27, 2009 at 10:03 am
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Haha...another pompous biker.
Phil must be a Queen Wester, if he thinks biking has anything to do with being "more stylish".
Atleast other bikers on here have some competent arguments.
Wrap your oversized scarf a little tighter on your way home this afternoon and tuck your skinny jeans into you Chuck Taylors.

You'll end up like Eric Idle in European Vacation sooner or later.
Phil / November 27, 2009 at 10:29 am
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Cycling has blessed me with God-like, muscular legs and a six-pack you can bounce a quarter off. How's that mushy car seat treating you, fatty? How stylish is your cellulite?

Faster. Cleaner. Cheaper, and way way sexier. Chuck Taylors and all.
TimeISpokeUp / November 27, 2009 at 10:35 am
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You guys are both clowns.
But as a cyclist myself Phil, you're actually kind of embarrasing to us as a group. You want to be taken seriously, then stop spouting off like a raging douche.
We, bikes & cars, are all negligible.
However, your assinine comments wont get anyone to pay attention to our plight.

Grow a set.
charles marker / November 27, 2009 at 10:52 am
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A few people said it: all of us need to obey the laws that apply to us and all of us need to be aware of and considerate of others.

It is often stunning to me how disagreeable people "commenting" can be when they disagree.

Do people think they can be insulting and rude because this is anonymous?
Phil replying to a comment from charles marker / November 27, 2009 at 11:56 am
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It's called the internet, Charles. Insulting, rude, anonymous. What's that old line? Arguing on the internet is like competing in the special Olympics. Even if you win, your[sic] still retarted[sic].

Anyway, back to it... when bikes don't obey the law, driver's feelings get hurt. When drivers don't obey the law (and ignore a cyclist's right to the road) lives are lost. This "we're both to blame for unsafe roads" sentiment is fucking ludicrous - and a total cop-out. Four thousand pounds of steel and rubber vs. 25 lbs of aluminum. Come on. How can any rational individual not see the logic here?

Here's an exercise, drivers - tonight, when you're revving and racing to the next red light on your way home from work - look at the cyclist 6 inches off your right bumper. Imagine it's your mother. I'll do the same. I'll imagine you -- drivers -- are kind, calm individuals, got your licenses in this country, you understand that bicycles are "vehicles" under the highway traffic act (and entitled to as much of the road as we think is reasonable), and that you have no intention of parking in my bike lane or damn near running me off the road (even though that shit happens every single day).

P.S. Your retarded.
F'dUpPhil replying to a comment from Phil / November 27, 2009 at 12:54 pm
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You Sir are utterly batsh*t crazy.
Your sense of entitlement is bewildering to even the most ardent of bike advocates.

Peter K replying to a comment from Phil / November 27, 2009 at 01:28 pm
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I chose to believe that the vast majority of cyclists, since they do have their very lives at stake, would assume some responsibility for road safety and don't trust 100% in drivers. Shirking your responsibilities is foolhardy at best Phil.

I know as a driver I do all I can to drive defensively because I don't trust other drivers and their ability to make sound choices.

And there is no denying Phil, that there are both shitty drivers and shitty cyclists who are responsible for accidents. Not every accident on the road is the fault of the driver.
Tanya replying to a comment from Suzie / November 27, 2009 at 05:31 pm
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I don't run red lights or ride on the sidewalk. But its really hard to slow down and swerve when a pedestrian suddenly jumps out from behind a parked car. Sometimes they see me coming and somehow think oh its just a bike and walk in front, other times they start jaywalking with their back to me.
Tanya replying to a comment from Francie / November 27, 2009 at 05:33 pm
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Why does it bother you if other cyclists aren't wearing a helmet? If they hurt their head it isn't going to hurt you. Honestly the roads would be much friendlier if people stayed out of things that were not their business.
Tanya replying to a comment from NS / November 27, 2009 at 05:33 pm
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I think you meant to say OFF.
Randy / November 27, 2009 at 09:32 pm
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I am an avid cyclist, but have issues with a lot of other cyclists not respecting rules of the road and traffic laws. Anyone ever walk the dreaded sidewalk on Coxwell to Eastern Avenue? This thing is packed with cyclists, despite the fact ITS A SIDEWALK! It's bad enough trying to walk the sidewalks of this city without some ahole in his car on his cell phone not looking out for pedestrians while making right-hand turns without having to look over my shoulder for aholes on bicycles barreling down the sidewalk. I will be writing to Sandra Bussin about permanently erecting barricades on this stretch of sidewalk -- cyclists who recklessly ride on the sidewalks won't pay attention to signs, so perhaps they'll pay attention to grey steel bars blocking their personal sidewalk "express lanes."


Randy replying to a comment from Jennifer / November 27, 2009 at 09:42 pm
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Jennifer,

I agree with every single point you've made.
Randy replying to a comment from Nick / November 27, 2009 at 09:45 pm
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Nick,

Sorry man, but your comments about cycles not being allowed on roads makes you sound like you've suffered one brain injury too many! Time for you to take the short bus back home, Dee-dee-Dee!
Phil replying to a comment from Peter K / November 27, 2009 at 09:46 pm
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Although I'm apparently batsh*t crazy, I do look after number one on the road. I said nothing in my entitled rant about not taking my own responsibilities deathly seriously. Fact is I do actually obey Ontario's Highway Traffic Act where riding my bike is concerned. And, yes, I'm an occasional driver.

Forgive the insensitivity, but suggesting that a car-vs-cycle fatality is not the fault of the car driver is kinda like suggesting that a man-vs-woman rape isn't always the man's fault. She dressed provocatively after all, didn't she? Wasn't she really just asking for it? Blaming the victim is always the last desperate refuge of the guilty.

And, shit, yes, there's douches out there that ride like pricks and get killed. But that's not what this post is about. Its "A Toronto Cyclist's Top 10 Complaints", not "How I can justify a cyclist's death". I'm fixated on #10 - the close pass. A "complaint" that I have seen first hand result in (literally) a bloody, nauseating mess.
Randy replying to a comment from Phil / November 27, 2009 at 10:22 pm
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Hi Phil,

Check out some of the many comments at The Toronto Sun about the cop who parked in the bike lane while on personal business at http://www.torontosun.com/news/torontoandgta/2009/11/24/11900526-sun.html

I am so tired of the "us versus them" mentality. I have been biking my entire life in Toronto, and it is disgusing how many motorists will actually write that they'd not only like to see cyclists off the road, they'd like to see them RUN OFF the road, literally.

Why so much hate? When you turn 40, believe me, it just gets tiring :(

Dave replying to a comment from Elizabeth / December 3, 2009 at 12:17 pm
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Yes but in ufair ways. We drivers foot all the bills. Bike riders are getting a completely FREE RIDE. They should have have nothing to complain about. If you don't like riding in traffic with cars....take the bus.
Dave replying to a comment from Elizabeth / December 3, 2009 at 12:26 pm
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Complaints about safety ,and how vulnerable you are when not in a car, running red lights, kicking cars, etc etc, are perfect examples of why cyclists and EVEYONE who uses the road, should be required to carry licence plates and insurance. Bike riders seem to think manditory bike insurance is ridiculous.....Why is that?
If you're riding your bike next to my car, and you fall off your bike forcing me to swerve into on-comming traffic, so that I don't run over your skull, YOU have just caused an accident, and YOU are financially liable! So again, WHY shouldn't bikes be required to have insurance???
The city can be a bike friendly place, but we need to make this an even playing field. Insurance, plates, and road taxes ofr eveyone who uses the road. NO EXCEPTIONS
JohnnyBender replying to a comment from Dave / December 3, 2009 at 12:28 pm
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Dave, how do you figure that drivers foot all the bills? As a cyclist, I pay the same taxes drivers do, which pays for the maintenance of my roads. Unlike a driver however, my usage of the roads does not wear them, which is why they need to be maintained so often.
Dave / December 3, 2009 at 01:06 pm
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Really? You pay the same registration fees, ownership transfer taxes, licence plate sticker fees, licence renewal fees.....
Shall I go on? Last time I checked, our roads are maintained by our federal and provincial gas taxes. Since you don't buy gas (which isn't a fault by the way) I'm pretty sure you're NOT pitching into that pot. Therefore you should be taxed a separate road use tax. perhaps a flat fee for the year? The way it works for us is the more you drive, the more gas you have to buy, the more taxes you have to pay. It's kind of like a pay per use thing for us.
JohnnyBender / December 3, 2009 at 01:16 pm
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Dave, YOU pay those taxes because YOUR car causes the NEED for that maintenance. My bike does not.
James / December 3, 2009 at 01:18 pm
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Dave, gas taxes primarily pay for highways - of which cyclists are not generally allowed to ride on. Local city roads are primarily funded by property taxes. Cyclists and pedestrians actually pay more than their fair share and are actually subsidizing drivers.

Here's a good study that explains how roads are paid for: http://www.vtpi.org/whoserd.pdf

Drivers should be thanking cyclists for a) not adding more pollution to the air b) Freeing up more space for cars c) Adding less wear and tear d) Subsidizing the costs of road maintenance

In other parts of the world, drivers understand this. But obviously there is a lot of ignorance here in Toronto about drivers "owning" the roads.

Do your research
Awesome / December 3, 2009 at 01:21 pm
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I for one think its awesome to be a driver!
We damage the crap out of the roads and you clown bikers still have to pay towards it!
Dave / December 3, 2009 at 02:04 pm
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"YOU pay those taxes because YOUR car causes the NEED for that maintenance. My bike does not."
-Doesn't matter, you're still using it.

"Drivers should be thanking cyclists for a) not adding more pollution to the air"
-Cars are becoming cleaner evey day, soon taht won't even resemble a valid argument, but for now you can have it.

"b) Freeing up more space for cars"
-This is true. I'm not saying bikes shouldn't exist. I think you guys should have your own lane, protected by a curb or divider, for both our safety. I feel the same way about transport trucks too. Vehicles of different size shouldn't share the same space. But I don't think that one will ever change.
"c) Adding less wear and tear"
-See above.

d) Subsidizing the costs of road maintenance"
- Maybe in BC(where that study is addresed from). We're talking about Toronto here. Most of the property taxes (and now tranfer tax) are spent by David miller on Transit, bike lanes, environmental stuff and city beutifacation projects. Maybe they WERE spent on the roads...have you seen them? They're horrible. They even implimented a car tax to try and pay for this crap. They added $60 a year to the existing $75 a year licence plate sticker fee. Since most people buy 2 years at a time, that added $120 to registration. Which most of us felt was criminal. So a good portion of the city re-registered their cars at they're cottage or other available adress to get around it. Let's just say the city came short on revenue projections for the car tax.

But did they introduce any comparable tax on the cyclists?
No.

So. My point is NOT that bikes are a scourge and shloud be shot.
My point is that the whole situation is not on an even playing field. In some ways the cards are stacked in favour of one and not the other. This creates...say it with me now....RESENTMENT, on both sides. and I don't think it's working for either of us.
We all need the same laws, rules, fees and taxes, to apply to us all evenly. This makes everything fair, which leads to mutual respect. Something bike riders are allways fighting for.

Lets face it, the compusory MOTOR vehicle insurace act of 1980, is now anitquated. In 1980 the city was smaller, less populous, and less crowded. There were fewer cars, and even fewer bikes. back then this whole thing simply wasn't an issue here. Fast forward almost 30 years, and things are very different. Our environmental attitude had changed, the roads are crowded, even the sidewalks are crowded now. People are seeking cheaper, smaller methods of travel. Some of which dont fall under the current laws and regulations.
Plain and simple...It's time they were updated.
Antony / December 6, 2009 at 11:32 pm
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"We all need the same laws, rules, fees and taxes, to apply to us all evenly. This makes everything fair, which leads to mutual respect."

Great, Dave, I look forward to you getting your G1 license, paying commercial vehicle licensing fees, and stopping at every weighing station. You know, to be fair, and so truckers will mutually respect you.

Oh wait, that would be crazy, because your car is not a truck.
Phil / December 7, 2009 at 10:08 am
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Antony: 1, Dave: 0
Pogi / August 15, 2011 at 07:34 pm
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Cyclists worry about their safety? Most cyclist run red lights, who are these clowns kidding. Obey the rules of the road !!!
Alvin Gongora / July 20, 2012 at 09:17 am
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Complaint #5: There you have my name so that now we can put slowpoke and name together. Yup. That's me. I'm glad that riding my bike is not a Tour de France adventure but my way to reduce my already invisible carbon footprint.
Tiffany replying to a comment from Suzie / July 20, 2012 at 09:20 am
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If you read carefully, the people being referred to are those who just randomnly step off the curb, WITHOUT looking, and are right in front of your bike. You either hit them or swerve into traffic. I'd much rather hit the pedestrian as I will lose to a car every time. Look both ways before crossing the street is taught at a young age.
Tiffany replying to a comment from Suzie / July 20, 2012 at 09:23 am
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I'm just curious as to why it bothers people when cyclists run red lights or stop signs. It doesn't bother me. It's their discrection whether they want to risk a fine or approaching traffic.
Pat / July 20, 2012 at 12:00 pm
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The honourable mention for passing a line of cyclists combined with your observation of people riding way to slow are quite ironic: why do you think people like me that can easily do 40km avg pass all you slow-pokes @ the light. You certainly don't rear check when you go around cars, why the F would I want to deal with that?

Too many bad cyclists, thats why this brakeless fixie rider rides the way I do.

[Ex-courier]

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