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Should cyclists have to ride single-file in Toronto?

Posted by Chris Bateman / February 14, 2013

toronto cyclistsA year-old bylaw still working its way through city hall could force all cyclists in Toronto to ride single-file under threat of a $60 fine if a motion by councillor Karen Stintz fails to win approval at council next week.

The bylaw originates in Etobicoke, where pre-amalgamation cyclists were fined $85 for riding side-by-side or in clusters. As part of on-going efforts to consolidate bylaws across the City of Toronto, the law was tweaked and enacted on Dec. 1 2011 by city council.

Though the rules have technically been in place for more than a year, the city has yet to decide when police will start actively handing out tickets to rule-breaking cyclists.

A similar bylaw existed in the days of Metro Toronto when the fine was $3.75 for riding in groups on arterial roads. Current road rules already require cyclists to move right and drivers left "so far as may be necessary to avoid a collision."

"Effectively what that law does is prohibit group riding," says Jared Kolb from Cycle Toronto. "That has implications for road riders who are out on Lake Shore, for instance. It has implications for families on side-streets, friends out on Bloor. It's got implications right across the board."

"It's a regressive bylaw and it's something we're keen to see taken off the books."

Kolb says he's heard from cycling groups who have been spoken to by police for riding together.

According to the official language the fine "will become enforceable the first Thursday following 45 days after set fine approval," though the city says there is actually no set timetable. If Stintz's motion is successful the bylaw will be immediately repealed once the city starts issuing fines.

What do you think of this bylaw - does the city need extra rules to force cyclists to ride in a straight line or do the existing rules already make it clear how bikers are expected to behave? Will new laws discourage new cyclists?

Chris Bateman is a staff writer at blogTO. Follow him on Twitter at @chrisbateman.

Image: "The Commute Home" by happy d/blogTO Flickr pool.

Discussion

120 Comments

joe / February 14, 2013 at 12:27 pm
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Ya damn rights they should,,,Stupid cyclists taking up my street when I wanna drive. It's an outrage..A pure ignorance on cyclists part.. Get in line BEOCH..
Why.. / February 14, 2013 at 12:30 pm
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Yes.
Rob / February 14, 2013 at 12:31 pm
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Toronto: only "world class" city that's actually making it more difficult to get around.
ks / February 14, 2013 at 12:34 pm
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has anyone noticed how the police bike around town? in packs of 4-6, always side-by-side.
jen / February 14, 2013 at 12:45 pm
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It's hard to pass people in a bike lane when they are riding side by side. You have to exit the lane and enter car traffic to do it. I like the single-file idea for major streets and bike lanes.
SK / February 14, 2013 at 12:45 pm
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Police are above the law duh!!!!
trickydisco / February 14, 2013 at 12:49 pm
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they should absolutely have to ride single file - also they should have to keep to the right shoulder, not the middle or close to it like some do. These other beauties that ride the electric bikes should get their fat asses a bike, and be taken off the road completely as they just make biking less safe.
Joe replying to a comment from jen / February 14, 2013 at 12:52 pm
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That's exactly the point - you want to pass a cyclist? then get in the next lane where it's safe to do so. No rushing past us at 60km/h with just inches to spare.

There's lots of road obstacles we have to be aware of. Those nasty potholes that "wreck your shocks" could wreck our lives, so we need room to maneuver.
jen replying to a comment from Joe / February 14, 2013 at 12:59 pm
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You misunderstood me. I am a cyclist. As a cyclist, it is hard to pass other cyclists who are riding side by side. I have to enter car traffic to get past them and I don't like doing that.
Concise / February 14, 2013 at 01:01 pm
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Do these fines actual work? Will they be enforced? I ask because I still see a heck of a lot of people riding on the sidewalk, even on busy streets.
the lemur / February 14, 2013 at 01:01 pm
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As a cyclist, I have no problem with this. When bikes ride side by side, they are harder to pass. What I would also like to see is when cyclists are lined up at a stop light, someone coming from behind doesn't get to skip the line just because they're turning right.
The Only Sincere BlogTO Commenter replying to a comment from ks / February 14, 2013 at 01:02 pm
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I've seen bike cops ride on the sidewalk as well, but at least they stop at red lights.
iSkyscraper / February 14, 2013 at 01:02 pm
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Please reference another major city where this law is in effect.


Oh, that's right, the same places that also removed bike lanes in 2012. i.e. nowhere except Rob Ford's Toronto.

There are nuanced ways to handle the single-line issue and traffic flow without being draconian. Here is how Massachusetts did it:

http://massbike.org/resourcesnew/bike-law/bike-law-update/
McRib / February 14, 2013 at 01:02 pm
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is this really a pressing issue?

yes, of course the majority of time cyclists should be riding in single file, which they do.

I do think that on larger roads with faster traffic, group riders should be allowed to ride in pairs, more for their own safety than anything else. On narrower, slower, downtown streets? We should all really be riding single file.

But this is way way way down on the list of issues when it comes to cycling in Toronto.
Ben / February 14, 2013 at 01:06 pm
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What a joke. Does this really happen enough and is this serious enough to warrant action in City Council? Officials have a conversation about rules and policy related to cycling and THIS is what they're talking about? Come on.
Rick / February 14, 2013 at 01:12 pm
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They should just ban cyclists all together... What is this China?
Yo-mo / February 14, 2013 at 01:18 pm
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IIRC , it's law in other cities so it should be law here too.
K. C. replying to a comment from SK / February 14, 2013 at 01:19 pm
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Actually, police is not above the law. They are required to obey the law as well. They are a law enforcing, not a law giving entity.
Unfortunately the reality is that they do whatever they want.

kidd replying to a comment from joe / February 14, 2013 at 01:21 pm
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Joe is a ignorant little BEOTCH(sic)...may the treads of a thousand bike tires run over your face....
MK / February 14, 2013 at 01:27 pm
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As a car driver and cyclist I find it unreal when cyclists overtake other cyclists without checking over their shoulder whether a car/truck/cyclist/eBike etc is behind them as they make their move. It is surprising that more injuries don't take place with this careless act of stupidity.
Pablo / February 14, 2013 at 01:28 pm
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YES
The Lonely Troll / February 14, 2013 at 01:28 pm
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Not just in line but also with a large red flashing light on their helmets...
Jenny / February 14, 2013 at 01:29 pm
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Humans are social animals. That means we often like company and to socialize with others. We even like to do this while riding our bikes. We can do this best when we ride next to each other in the same way that the diver of a car has a seat next to them for a passenger, we enjoy the company of someone beside us.

The HTA currently allows a cyclist to use the whole lane. All of our mixed-use lanes are wide enough to be shared by two people riding bicycles. It doesn't matter if the lane is being used by one bicycle or by two bicycles - the lane is in use; others wishing to pass must do so safely while using another lane.

I think that it a fine idea to get rid of this law forcing cycling to always ride single file.
SK replying to a comment from K. C. / February 14, 2013 at 01:31 pm
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I'm sure we will still be seeing them ride side by side which could be against the law if this happens, all while trying to give a ticket to two people riding side by side.


Also what if some jerk rides beside you while you cycle, do you both get stopped of only one of you???
K. C. / February 14, 2013 at 01:33 pm
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It's always about how car drivers should make it safer for cyclists. I think it's time that they start to make things safer for themselves:
1) use proper lights (most cyclists use no lights at all during the night)
2) signal, when you turn
3) don't run red lights
4) don't overtake on the right, when you very well know that the car infront of you want to turn right

A few simple rules and everybody would be happier.
jghague / February 14, 2013 at 01:38 pm
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On major roads when people ride side by side, it's a nuisance. Especially considering that many of these people are talking and hanging out while riding, meaning they are riding slower and not paying as much attention to the situation around them. On side streets and non major roads, who cares. But as a cyclist, it's often difficult / dangerous to merge into traffic to pass slow moving cyclists in clusters. I don't think it should be against the law, as I haven't perceived it as a major issue, it's just a matter of common courtesy and knowledge of the informal "rules" of the road that we all vigilant riders should be mindful of.

And yes, cops riding in clusters of slow moving mountain bikes, weaving around the bike lane, are one of the major nuisances on the road today.
freewheelin replying to a comment from trickydisco / February 14, 2013 at 01:42 pm
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and most cyclists do try to stay to the right---- but between pot holes, sewers, (and currently) clumps of ice and snow, it can be really dangerous staying close to the curb.

don't forget under the Highway Traffic Act cyclists are entitled to take up an entire lane if they want, so don't viciously honk at a cyclist when they are in the middle of the lane, it's usually for good reason.
obi-wan kenobi / February 14, 2013 at 01:42 pm
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I am totally okay with this law as long it is called the tuskan raider law, because the sandpeople always ride in single file in order to hide their numbers.
the lemur replying to a comment from Jenny / February 14, 2013 at 01:42 pm
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Our on-street lanes, however, are NOT wide enough to ride two abreast.
the lemur replying to a comment from K. C. / February 14, 2013 at 01:44 pm
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I do all those things and yet there are still halfwits in cars trying to push cyclists into the curb in order to turn right when the bike is stopped at a red, ignoring the rules of right-of-way, not yielding to pedestrians crossing on green, etc. What's your suggestion for that?
mike1234 replying to a comment from Joe / February 14, 2013 at 01:47 pm
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if you are so worried about all of these dangers, then you should find a new way to get around. I can picture exactly the type of guy you are, the mental image is probably spot on
neilson / February 14, 2013 at 01:49 pm
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like many bad ideas, it came from etobicoke.
Lindsay / February 14, 2013 at 02:02 pm
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I don't do a lot of cycling, but when I do go out with my BF, we ride single file. I don't feel safe riding side my side. As a motorist, it makes passing them more safely for both parties involved. I think it's a no brainer.
trickydisco replying to a comment from freewheelin / February 14, 2013 at 02:24 pm
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I think the reason bike lanes were created on the far right were because that's where bikes should be, perhaps?
Apart from potholes etc. fair enough, but there are too many cyclists that somehow think they are entitled to a full lane (just to be little bitches) and put themselves in a bunch of danger in doing so. I always make way and look for bikers when changing lanes etc. but there's a culture of little whiny biker babies that seem to want to test the limits all the time. To them i hope they have a nice spill and maybe get an attitude adjustment and realize cars are stronger than they are. I again think those stupid electric pieces of shite should be gone as they just f' everything up
freewheelin replying to a comment from trickydisco / February 14, 2013 at 02:40 pm
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oh, if the bike lane exists, entirely...

and while some do try and take a whole lane just for the sake of it, drivers may not always be aware of the logic.

Toronto streets are quite bike friendly, but I know about a dozen solid examples where it is a death trap for a cyclist if a driver is in la la land.

I bike along Bay street every day and almost get honked at every day at the exact same spot where I do go into the middle of the lane. If I didn't, I would get clipped in a second and wind up on the sidewalk. Think of the turn, right before college st (heading south), as I approach that curve -- while in the middle of the lane and getting honked at-- I often see car wheels brush the curb. How exactly would a cyclist squeeze through that?

And at the end of the day you're right, a bike will never win against a car, and anyone who endangers themselves is a fool.

Ebikes however, that's a whole other story...
Rob / February 14, 2013 at 02:40 pm
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Hey "whiny biker babies" and "asshole drivers", you both suck. STFU, learn to play in the sandbox, or get the eff out.
Bubba / February 14, 2013 at 02:40 pm
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single file if you want to get home alive and sometimes that doesn't even work
K. C. replying to a comment from the lemur / February 14, 2013 at 02:41 pm
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There are bad drivers on both sides, agreed.

I also think that car drivers have to follow a set of rules.
It's just in my experience that cyclists generally don't really care about the rules so much, since no cop is chasing them down.
Tom / February 14, 2013 at 02:42 pm
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Fine for one-lane roads, but not for 2 or more lanes. The passing lane is for passing, drivers should use it if cyclists want to ride together.
Milly / February 14, 2013 at 02:45 pm
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I'm a cyclist and I totally support this. There needs to be space on the left side of the bike lane for passing, I've seen far too many almost-accidents happen when someone tries to get around a group hogging the lane. If you are going to have an organized group cycling excursion, make it something you need to buy a permit for.
Joseph / February 14, 2013 at 02:54 pm
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Its safer for cyclists to ride side by side than in single file.

Yes - it means we take up more room. However, it forces cars to go around cyclists (and maybe to change lanes in doing so), instead to squeezing by, leaving only an inch of room.

This only highlight the point that Toronto needs more bike lanes...
Khristopher / February 14, 2013 at 03:07 pm
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Cycling laws are very confusing. Things need to be more straight forward. This does make sense though to do this.

As far as I know, someone on a bike has the right to take up a lane, and ride right in the middle if they want, without moving to the right to let cars past. Maybe I'm wrong, but I swear that's what I read somewhere.
the lemur replying to a comment from K. C. / February 14, 2013 at 03:24 pm
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If you looked at a random sample of drivers (or pedestrians, or cyclists), you'd have a hard time figuring out what the real rules actually are. I also don't see more enforcement against drivers than against cyclists, even though drivers are potentially doing things that are more dangerous (eating/phoning/texting) while in charge of a large heavy vehicle.
mezimeen / February 14, 2013 at 03:35 pm
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YES. Why? Because you can't ride side-by-side in a bike lane. If a car is supposed to give room for a bike, which is only fair, giving room for 2 bikes puts cars too close to the cyclists AND oncoming traffic in the other lane. I'm not saying you can't pass, but don't ride side by side like you're holding hands down a rural country road. I hate being on a bike and seeing it and I hate dealing with it when I drive.
Mat / February 14, 2013 at 03:41 pm
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Yes
Irrelevant / February 14, 2013 at 03:44 pm
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There are a lot of oddball comments above, so let's clear this up. The proposed regulation is not about bikes passing bikes, nor is it about riding two abreast down Yonge St or other major streets and holding up traffic (already against the law). The big change here is to "restrict all cyclists from riding in any configuration other than single file, at any time of day, on every Toronto street."

So the people really affected are cyclists who might casually be going down a quiet residential side street, two abreast. That behaviour would now become illegal.

Every single state in the US, and I believe every province, allows some form of two-abreast riding when it does not impede traffic or overtaking. No one except requires single-file riding at all times in all circumstances. (source: http://bicycledriving.org/law/guide-to-improving-laws)

Where does the Ford Administration get off coming up with laws that don't exist anywhere but their poorly-educated imaginations? Should these people really be in charge of running a major city?
Anthony / February 14, 2013 at 03:56 pm
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I am a cyclist. I don't drive at all and cycling is my only means of travel.I have no problem with this by law. As long as you can pass slower vehicles, there is no reason to ride side by side on a city street.
As for Group riding, this is a hobby or activity versus a means of commuting. Leisure riding (or Training) should not be a burden to other vehicles. Besides, it is much safer and more sensible to do it outside of the downtown core anyway.

freewheelin replying to a comment from Anthony / February 14, 2013 at 04:00 pm
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by the by-law will apply to any rider, anywhere.

I agree single file makes sense in the core and when cycling is a means of transportation (especially during rush hour)

But the by-law would enable officers to give tickets to people causually riding next to each other along the Lakeshore, or to parents riding with their kids on side streets on a bright Sunday morning.

Come on Ford, let's deter people from cycling even more!
ban / February 14, 2013 at 04:03 pm
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Yes they need to ride single file line, they are always breaking the law so annoying!
mezimeen replying to a comment from Irrelevant / February 14, 2013 at 04:09 pm
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Yikes...I didn't realize this was for EVERY biking situation. I'm for this by-law just on main streets or where traffic is affected, but not on the lake-shore, or in a park. That's just ridiculous. Ugh...Ford, what next.
vampchick21 / February 14, 2013 at 04:22 pm
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The less cyclists on the streets, the better!
Charlie Cook / February 14, 2013 at 04:28 pm
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World class city my butt!!! The only thing thats world class about this city is the stupidity of the self entitled Auto class.Stop being so bloody docile cyclists of Toronto TAKE ACTION!
Sean / February 14, 2013 at 04:31 pm
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Looking at the picture of this story, two cyclists out of five aren't wearing helmets. Why not? Don't they care about themselves?

Notice, the lead cyclist is actually cycling while the other four are blocking the streetcar stop.

Cyclists must be licenced and insured to pay for future bike lanes and to cover any liability.
freewheelin replying to a comment from vampchick21 / February 14, 2013 at 04:33 pm
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right, less cyclists...

can you even comprehend the benefits of cycling? not just for the individual, but for you too?

reduced negative impact on the quality of the environment (you breathe air right?)and hey! cycling is exercise, so less strain on health care, which you probably contribute you, and might even need from time to time...

joe mama replying to a comment from Rob / February 14, 2013 at 05:09 pm
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How is that making it harder? Does it make sense for two cyclists to ride side by side obliviously just so they can chat while there's a convoy of motor vehicles slow following behind them because they can't pass? Cyclists are supposed to stay to the right.
joe mama replying to a comment from Irrelevant / February 14, 2013 at 05:12 pm
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Might as well be consistent right? Cyclists are oblivious about the rules of the road, because they're not required to be licensed, so it would be confusing for a law to only exist on certain streets but not others. It's difficult to live in a society where laws have special exemptions. Also don't forget that even if two cyclists are riding side by side on an empty residential street, a hybrid vehicle can drive up fairly silently without either of the cyclists being aware and therefore blocking the street anyway, which is what the problem is here.
Irrelevant replying to a comment from joe mama / February 14, 2013 at 05:18 pm
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Joe, your imagination is working overtime to come up with a justification for changing something that is already on the books and working fine. The laws currently apply to all streets, no exceptions, but require that traffic not be impeded. That's pretty simple to understand, don't you think? (And your fantastical Prius still has a horn. Plus, only pinko commie-hippie leftists drive hybrids and they love driving slowly behind cyclists when not watching Portlandia on their iPhones, right?)

Don't even start with that red herring about licensing, another anti-urban, anti-cyclist, made-up problem. No city has a law about licensing cyclists because it is a ridiculous concept and does not work. Needless to say, this is therefore also another favourite Fordism because he and his people are utterly ignorant of how successful urban places operate.
the lemur replying to a comment from Sean / February 14, 2013 at 05:31 pm
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Presumably because they're not legally required to wear helmets.

Kind of hard to tell from a photo how long the light has been green, but it looks like cyclists 2 and 3 are preparing to move off, cyclist 4 is looking at her phone (possibly), cyclist 5 is waiting. They're not 'blocking the streetcar stop' any more than a car or other vehicle in that lane waiting to proceed would be. You're not suggesting some kind of no-go area be demarcated on the road around stops, are you? As long as the streetcar isn't right there, it's no big deal.

Licensing and insurance won't solve anything: it doesn't generate enough money for infrastructure (fuel tax, licensing and insurance for cars doesn't even do that) and it doesn't improve skill (see also: drivers). Training does that.
joe mama replying to a comment from Irrelevant / February 14, 2013 at 05:35 pm
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The reason for changing it (i assume) is because cyclists aren't aware that a law exists for it, and they're not aware because there's no "training" involved. "Licensing" makes sense from a practical perspective, because much like it does for motorists, it can make cyclists more aware of the actual rules of the road. It doesn't make sense that you need a license to operate any vehicle on the road, except a bicycle when you're expected to follow the same rules and guildelines. Not long ago, Poland used to require a license to ride a bicycle.
Yiplin / February 14, 2013 at 05:38 pm
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Very important. I just wish that those few cycle lanes with bump curbs could have higher -no jump- heights, so that trigger-happy cyclo-terroris can't jump in and out of lanes (also stops traffic parking there, i guess). Love the look on cyclist face when stuck behind one of those 'not a care in the world cyclists with the sunflower in their cutesy basket' going walking speed - hah.
And also, reasonable distance from curb - 18" or 45 cm and less - not 3-4 feet. Car doors are a hazard to everyone, cyclos don't get special treatment/ space.
To all those who say it would disrupt, reduce fun, family safety, and other such nonsense - it is important to realize that roads are highly regulated no-fun zones and not play, sport, fitness, training, or family-togetherness parks. If we really wanted to make roads safer, we would ban winter cycling when any part of an arterial road is impeded by piled, drifting, or unplowed snow - its just stupid dangerous, anyway. And what about licences for cyclists? If they can do it quick and easy with boats, they can do it with 16+ year-old cyclos. Safer roads through enforcement, regulation, de-fun-alization, and red tape - huzzah. Gawd i hate non-obedient cyclos.
joe mama replying to a comment from Irrelevant / February 14, 2013 at 05:39 pm
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I should also mention that i'm a cyclist too and I also ride a motorcycle. When you learn to ride a motorcycle, you're taught to ride as if you can't be seen. Not to ride with impunity because you misunderstood how bicycles have the "right of way". Right of way doesn't matter much if you're not seen, because you'll always lose against a car...Same as if you're on a motorcycle. Case in point, save your own ass and stay to the right, and implement some sort of mandatory education on this so that bicycle riders know why it's important and are aware that it's actually the law.
giuliano / February 14, 2013 at 05:51 pm
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Maybe this should clear things up a bit.
http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/pubs/cycling-guide/section3.0.shtml
So yes, it is legal to ride in the middle of YOUR lane. If motorists want to use the "cyclists don't obey rules of the road" argument, it would help to actually know what they are talking about.
Bob replying to a comment from Ben / February 14, 2013 at 05:53 pm
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Thank you, Ben!

What's next? Is City Council gonna sit around and debate about how to fix the issue of zig zag walkers on the sidewalk? Give me a break...
Tina / February 14, 2013 at 05:57 pm
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Shouldn't a ONE METER LAW for cars passing bikes be more of a priority for our elected officials than the rare group cycling incidents? Get you priorities straight "world class" condo city.

I ride single file and cars purposely pass me within a few centimeters to show their hatred for cyclists. Sad because these drivers don't realize that their anger could kill someone.

Let's share the road and elect smarter councilors.

Jer / February 14, 2013 at 06:09 pm
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Doubt this will ever be enforced anyway. How often to cyclists get tickets for going through reds, going wrong way on one way streets, not stopping at stop signs, etc?

a real cyclist / February 14, 2013 at 06:16 pm
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um, no.
how would i pass everyone? i only have one speed, and that is fast. if i was stuck behind a slower rider, it would severely impact my riding.

ban winter riding? you mean ban winter street parking right? (in fact ban all street parking.)
a real cyclist replying to a comment from trickydisco / February 14, 2013 at 06:23 pm
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just to be little b*tches? wow, what a great argument. maybe they are in they are "taking up the whole lane" because they are legally entitled to do so. maybe that's the only way to ride safe sometimes.
you should try to think in the 3rd person. remove yourself from the equation and you'll realize that riding a bike is a better way to commute, but comes with a greater risk too. when you drive, you leave ample stopping space in front of you (right...?) , and what the worst that can happen to you? a few hundred bucks in paint swapping? when a car comes 1" away from your handle bars (i.e.: steering wheel) it's scarey as shit. or when the mirrors actually hit your bars? it's tough out there. my bars are only 14.5" wide, and i still get hit.
will replying to a comment from Tina / February 14, 2013 at 06:24 pm
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There seems to be some conclusion jumping here, which is one of the reasons for all the animosity between bicycle riders and motorists.

I sometimes come close to bicycles too (not in a dangerous way, provided they can ride in a straight line), and it's not to "show hatred" as you put it, it's because I also have to leave enough room for the motorist next to me.
a real cyclist replying to a comment from K. C. / February 14, 2013 at 06:24 pm
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don't over take on the right... so come into your precious lane and pass on the left?
will replying to a comment from giuliano / February 14, 2013 at 06:25 pm
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Where does it say that it's ok to ride in the middle? Two of the most prominent statements on that page, which are also in bold, are:

1. slower traffic stays right
2. slower traffic must give way to faster traffic when safe and practical
giuliano replying to a comment from will / February 14, 2013 at 06:51 pm
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There it is:
"In urban areas where a curb lane is too narrow to share safely with a motorist, it is legal to take the whole lane by riding in the centre of it. "
Sorry, it was not in bold, and you had to scroll down a bit to see it...

Also, agreed that slower traffic should stay right as much as is safely possible.
But when a bicycle can (and does) go as fast as other cars, it's a moot point.
Simon Tarses replying to a comment from Irrelevant / February 14, 2013 at 06:56 pm
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Ford and the people who elected him are neocon assholes who shouldn't ever be living in 2013, but in the distant past, or on a planet of their own where they can live their pro-automobile/pro-subway/pro-bus lives in peace.
will replying to a comment from giuliano / February 14, 2013 at 07:22 pm
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No need to be a smartass...But I guess it's better than being a dumbass...Although you appear to be a bit of both.

That point goes without saying and is only there for people who are too dumb to make their own critical observations on whether or not they're putting themselves in danger. Totally different from how you put it,"So yes, it is legal to ride in the middle of YOUR lane" as it's purely conditional, not as absolute, as you put it "totally legal".
Giuliano replying to a comment from will / February 14, 2013 at 07:30 pm
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I'm glad you got the irony. However, I think our conversation will go no further since you do not seem to get what I, and other cyclists here, are trying to advocate.
Giuliano replying to a comment from will / February 14, 2013 at 07:33 pm
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By the way, *that* point I was referring to is especially relevant for the less experienced riders, who shouldn't have to fear for their safety everytime a car passes them by. Just as you would not overtake another car when it isn't safe to do so, neither should you overtake a bike, for the same reasons.
will replying to a comment from Giuliano / February 14, 2013 at 07:34 pm
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There's a lot being spewed in here, and some of it is coming off as belligerent.
Giuliano replying to a comment from will / February 14, 2013 at 07:36 pm
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...said the personae who called the other a dumbass...
will replying to a comment from Giuliano / February 14, 2013 at 08:23 pm
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I respond to insolence, with insolence.
poorbaby replying to a comment from a real cyclist / February 14, 2013 at 08:31 pm
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so you hav eone speed fast, sounds like we need speed bumps in the bike lanes.
K. C. replying to a comment from a real cyclist / February 14, 2013 at 08:44 pm
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Yes, if a cyclist is a few meters behind a car and sees that the car wants to turn right, the cyclist is supposed to give a hand signal and move to the left to pass the car.
As it is with motorbikes. No difference there.

But you know what, I totally understand that you lose all logic, reasoning and everything you learned when you made your driver's license, as soon as you hop onto a bicycle.
giuliano replying to a comment from will / February 14, 2013 at 09:05 pm
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I love it how a post that was meant to educate both sides of the debate loses all credibility when subsequent posters resort to name-calling when they realise that they can't win an argument. If you want to troll, fine. My intention was to contribute something meaningful to the issue, on the side of the law, which applies to all. You own a car, not the road. Deal with it.
_n / February 14, 2013 at 09:11 pm
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I think on major roads yes, single file is right.

But on residential streets during times of the day with no heavy traffic, meh...ride two abreast if you like. If a car shows up, re-configure to single file and let them pass. No biggie.
K. C. replying to a comment from a real cyclist / February 14, 2013 at 09:14 pm
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Yes, when a cyclist is several meters behind a car and sees that the car wants to turn right, he is supposed to use a hand signal and move to the left to pass the car.
Same as he'd ride a motorbike. No difference.

But you know, I understand that you lose all logic, reasoning and everything you learned when you did your driver's license, as soon as you hop onto a bicycle.
will replying to a comment from giuliano / February 14, 2013 at 09:41 pm
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Sometimes the point of an argument isn't to win, but to explore both sides enough to gain a deeper understanding in order to reach a happy medium. I'm familiar with the HTA surrounding cyclists but you got flippant when asked where it said, as you put it "it is legal to ride in the middle of YOUR lane"...Which sounded more like an absolute statement as opposed to one that's conditional and superseded by the two points in bold about staying to the right. You antagonized the situation by being sarcastic about how it must have been hard to scroll down the page when your statement is what brought the HTA into question in the first place...And now you're crying foul because I called you out on it. Sure it's legal, but that doesn't mean you can do it all the time. You should make sure to draw that distinction next time and not lash out when people don't want to read about a HTA that they're already familiar with.
Bike Smart replying to a comment from Jenny / February 14, 2013 at 09:45 pm
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@Jenny, "The HTA currently allows a cyclist to use the whole lane. All of our mixed-use lanes are wide enough to be shared by two people riding bicycles. It doesn't matter if the lane is being used by one bicycle or by two bicycles."

You are incorrect. While the Highway Traffic Act allows for a bicycle (or motorcycle) to be TREATED as a car in terms of space allowed from front to back, it does not allow for slow-moving vehicles (bicycles) to ride side-by-side.

Why cyclists would even want to ride side-by-side on a major Toronto street defies logic. Not only are you inconveniencing other vehicles INCLUDING your fellow cyclists, you are endangering your own lives if one cyclist has to swerve to avoid a pothole, glass, pedestrian, animal, etc. and bumps the other into traffic, or onto the sidewalk.

Bike smart, bike safe.
giuliano / February 14, 2013 at 09:50 pm
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thank you for the reply, Will. I'm glad you know about the HTA, and there is absolutely no sarcasm here. I'm sure you are a considerate driver, and I want to believe the good will of many. I'm a driver too, by the way, but choose to ride in Toronto exclusively, and I still find it to be a nice city to ride around. I do commute to work and back, take kids to school and such. As a driver, I do understand the values of a system of rules that applies to all, and my initial post was expressly in that intention. I wouldn't have the presumption to think that ALL riders can ride in the middle of the lane as they please, but in the slower lanes outisde of major traffic they should at least feel safe to do so, don't you think? In any case, let's all watch out for each other, and try to be courteous and decent riders/drivers/human beings.
Irrelevant replying to a comment from joe mama / February 14, 2013 at 10:31 pm
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So just to be clear here, you are basing your entire argument on a law that Poland (not exactly known for its safe roads) USED to have? Against what I am saying is what every single city and state in North America actually do have on the books?

Aaron / February 14, 2013 at 10:46 pm
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Only in Toronto can something as simple as riding a bike become such a monumental fuck-up! What an idiotic city.
will replying to a comment from giuliano / February 14, 2013 at 11:48 pm
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I agree, let's stop this senseless bickering since we're all interested in keeping things safe and courteous for everyone. And I do the same when I ride a bike on empty streets, although I look over my shoulder constantly and am very aware of what's around me, which is something I NEVER see bicycle riders doing. Even when I drive, I look in my mirrors constantly, watch out for riders, and NEVER pull over in a no-stopping zone even to pick up or drop someone off, because I just find it selfish in general to disrupt traffic for personal reasons. I think both Drivers and Riders could benefit from being more aware, and as much as I've criticized riders in this thread for being clueless, I've also criticized our licensing system for letting virtually anyone drive.
joe mama replying to a comment from Irrelevant / February 15, 2013 at 12:26 am
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I'm skeptical that you know anything about road safety stats in Poland, but regardless, I don't see how isolated statistics about a country disproves that bicycle licensing is a good idea because there's so many other variables at play that you haven't identified.
joe mama replying to a comment from Aaron / February 15, 2013 at 12:27 am
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You've never been outside of this city have you?
Jay / February 15, 2013 at 07:04 am
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It's sad that this cars vs cyclists debate has become a political ideology debate with both sides sniping at each other with petty comments that add nothing to the discussion. It's sad that both the left and the right are pushing agendas as the others expense.

We need to move this discussion away from lobbyists, politicians, and special interest groups. How about we allow experts in urban planning, transportation, civil engineers, etc. figure out how to address this issue. And it should not be dealt with exclusive of the broader plans around transit. The entire system should be better planned, managed, integrated, and implemented.
Aaron replying to a comment from joe mama / February 15, 2013 at 08:12 am
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Actually Simon Tarses/joe mama et al., I'm a native Torontonian who has lived in 4 foreign countries and 5 Canadian provinces. I'm currently working in Montreal where cycling is generally viewed as a positive initiative that doesn't generate a tenth of the nonsensical, counterproductive bickering that it does in Toronto. Hence the 5000+ BIXIs, dozens of separated lanes, constant expansion, Route Verte, etc.
Rico / February 15, 2013 at 09:50 am
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Cyclists should ride single file when cars stop passing on the right, streetcars actually go anywhere, and cars demonstrate they have earned their license. This isn't Texas. Oh and another thing: cars shouldn't be downtown, and should pay to get anywhere into the City.
Harry replying to a comment from joe / February 15, 2013 at 10:39 am
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You sir are a schmuck.
Mike / February 15, 2013 at 10:46 am
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Only if cars become one person wide, with the passenger seat behind. Hehe. I like talking to my friends while on my way places, don't you?
Irrelevant replying to a comment from joe mama / February 15, 2013 at 01:23 pm
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http://www.euro.who.int/__data/assets/pdf_file/0015/43314/E92789.pdf

I'm only citing a single country because you did first in your failed attempt to deflect the point that every single state and province in North America does not require single-file riding. I agree that any single entity is hard to compare to, but if EVERY other jurisdiction is doing one thing it's pretty hard to come up with justification for doing the opposite, especially when a six year old child who hates bikes is mayor.

Case closed.
realityCheck / February 15, 2013 at 01:45 pm
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Should cyclists have to ride single file? Shouldn't the answer depend on the TYPE of street we are talking about?
Don B / February 15, 2013 at 04:25 pm
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The whole purpose of riding two abreast is to ensure that motorist firstly, see that you are there and secondly, slow for that fraction of a second that makes them think about the amount of space they will need to get past safely. Safely for the cyclist that is.
Insurance Guy / February 15, 2013 at 04:44 pm
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I investigate m.v.a's for a living. The biggest problem is the blind spot created by the rider on the left. When the motorist checks his side mirror, he sees one cyclist, who he waits for before making the right hand turn. The cyclist on the left darts into the right lane and gets hit as he came out of nowhere. This is quite common. Cyclists ignore stop signs and lights, so new laws are worthless. Free safety courses taught by the bicycle retailer would be more productive.
Rawb replying to a comment from Rob / February 15, 2013 at 10:21 pm
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The police ride in packs of 4-6 because they are trying to kettle your ass.
Karirawbtheblob@gmail.com replying to a comment from K. C. / February 15, 2013 at 10:36 pm
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Yep,

As true in my day as it is now, you just can't trust the cops in Toronto.

Once a pig, always a pig!
Kari replying to a comment from joe mama / February 15, 2013 at 10:54 pm
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That is not my email, I made a mistake in writing my name.

Anyway, kudos to Joe Mama for using POLAND (?!?!) to make his absurd case for licensing bikes. HAHAHAHAHA!!!! Get out much, Joe?

Why don't you run along and wrangle some stray feral cats and explain them that THEY TOO need to be licenced?? Hell, those gravy-sucking feline freeloaders would be GOLD MINE for Mayor Ford. Now all you need to do is teach each of them how to fill out a registration application.

You putz.
Kari replying to a comment from realityCheck / February 15, 2013 at 10:57 pm
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Yeah, Realitycheck, no double riding on sidewalks; and only 15 cyclists abreast on the Gardiner.

Are you an ignorant man-child, a drooling moron, or just from outer Etobicoke??

Shee-it!
the lemur / February 16, 2013 at 11:17 am
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Passing a licensing test seems not to have imparted a knowledge of the rules to. Some drivers. A majority of cyclists hold driver's licences as well.
BillyBlawb replying to a comment from BillyBob / February 16, 2013 at 12:13 pm
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HAHAHAHA, BillyBob...you got PWNED! the lemur tells it like it is, and you have ZEE-ROH comeback.

Boo-yah!
realityCheck / February 16, 2013 at 04:40 pm
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@Karl...No, I'm not from Etobicoke... but one thing is for sure... you are downright rude and the type of individual that gives boards like this a bad name.
Kari replying to a comment from realityCheck / February 16, 2013 at 07:14 pm
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Sorry, realityCheck...I apologize.

Now, stop wetting your pants and say something to further this lively discussion.

(please)
dc replying to a comment from K. C. / February 16, 2013 at 09:08 pm
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Agreed! Especially..

"4) don't overtake on the right, when you very well know that the car infront of you want to turn right"

Don't flip me the finger when I've signaled and indicated a right turn and you clearly tried to overtake the right turn. I don't know why rule-breaking cyclists are so rude.
dc replying to a comment from Tina / February 16, 2013 at 09:11 pm
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Tina, motorists don't intentionally drive centimetres away from cyclists because of hatred. Motorists are also giving other motorists space in the next lane. =_=;;
lol replying to a comment from Tina / February 16, 2013 at 11:47 pm
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yes we have a point system, to see who can hit the most cyclists. You point worth just went up.
David / February 17, 2013 at 10:53 pm
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I am a cyclist and agree with the law. It's very simple one lane equals one vehicle in the lane period, doesn't matter if it is a bike or car. It really comes down to safety, eliminating confusion and facilitating clear decisions by all constituents. Treating cyclist differently than motorist can only create confusion, anger and lead to greater risks.
David / February 17, 2013 at 11:00 pm
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I believe cyclists should have to demonstrate knowledge and skills and be licenced prior to being allowed to ride on the road. Since getting back into cycling I have strived to ride by the rules. The net effect has been that I have experienced very little aggression from drivers. As a by product I have become a much better driver.
Aaron / February 17, 2013 at 11:38 pm
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Side by side cycling - a hugely divisive subject in fucked-up beyond recognition Toronto!

The world is laughing.
Marisa / February 18, 2013 at 09:56 am
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Wow. This bilaw is so backwards thinking. Most metropolitan cities are looking for ways to fine drivers NOT cyclists. The city is going to double in numbers within the next 25 years. How about focus on putting in proper infrastructure so we are ready for it? Are you going choose to drive when there are double the number of drivers and congestion on the roads? City Coucil needs to invest its time and energy into implementing sustainable transport infrastructures. How about bike lanes that are seperated by a median to protect them? How about even wider bike lanes so that bikes can ride 4 to a lane? Listen up drivers : get used to cyclists and stop having so much rage. Cyclists are very vullnerable to serious accidents so please steer clear, realize that our mode of transport is better for the city, and get used to us. The number of cyclists in Toronto is increasing every year- especially among the younger generations. I am a masters of architecture student at U of T, and guess what? Young urban planners and designers aren't going to stand for this backwards thinking anymore. Remove the fine and find a more effective way of raising awareness of road rules among cyclists. A nice sign beside some of the major the bike lanes will do.
Gabe / February 18, 2013 at 06:16 pm
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You don't need two riders to ride abreast to get noticed by cars. You can still ride single file down the center of the lane, any cyclist can do this by law as long as you can maintain the speed of traffic
realityCheck / February 19, 2013 at 03:08 pm
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Kari... regarding your request that I make a contribution to this lively discussion, one could ask the very same of you. You've made some rude comments, but that's not the same as "making a contribution to the discussion".
No eBikes! / February 19, 2013 at 09:02 pm
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Can we all agree on one thing: keep those damn eBikes OUT of the bike lane! It seems 99% of the people riding these things are fat, middle-aged women who would be better served getting exercise pedaling a real bike instead of looking like Jabba the Hutt on those stupid electric bikes, gross!
the lemur replying to a comment from No eBikes! / February 20, 2013 at 09:10 am
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I don't know about your statistic, but yeah - they either seem to be people who are doing it for nebulous environmental reasons (on a plastic bike with a battery, sure) but would normally be behind the wheel of some luxe SUV, or they have no clue about operating any kind of vehicle in traffic. Either way it seems pedalling a real bike is somehow not cool enough or too much exercise.
Mike / February 20, 2013 at 12:39 pm
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Dumb rule... even dumber arguments ensue.

People just need to look out for and respect other people. This whole driver v. cyclist thing makes me dizzy.

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