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Monday, June 28, 2010

565 Sherbourne Chopping Off Bikes

CANADA - Thank god I talk to other cyclists otherwise I never would have known what was about to happen to my bicycle...

The building management at 565 Sherbourne (owned by Medallion Properties Inc.) has arbitrarily decided that the bike rack in front of the Shoppers Drug Mart is for residents of their building only and are going to be chopping people's bikes off. I learned this from a fellow cyclist when we stopped to move the bike racks in question back from the road a bit, because they're not bolted to the sidewalk and have a tendency to shift.

Apparently the land the Shoppers Drug Mart is on belongs to 565 Sherbourne, not to the Shoppers Drugmart itself. There is no signs or anything indicating who owns the bike racks in question. Seriously, what would it cost to put up a sign that says "This Bike Rack is for Residents of 565 Sherbourne Only"...?

Now while it is true that the building management can do whatever they want on their own property, chopping off people's bikes and stealing them is a fuzzy gray zone. Especially when there is no signage declaring ownership.

And what happens when they accidentally chop off the bike belonging to a tenant? Or a bike belonging to a friend of a tenant? Or someone just picking up a prescription of medication at the Shoppers Drug Mart?

The sad thing is that Toronto doesn't have a lot of legislation on this issue. This type of thing happens far too often (I have friends who have had their bikes chopped off when visiting friends at their apartment buildings). The rights of building managements to control their bike racks and chopping off bikes (effectively stealing them) needs to be balanced with cyclist rights. Right now building managers across the city are acting like bullies and ignoring the rights of bicycle owners.

Its bad enough that spot is already known for vandalism and bike theft. The problem is that when one person's bike gets stolen, it sometimes sets off a rash of bike thefts... so if a company cuts off people's bikes and removes them all at once, suddenly the whole neighbourhood could see a rash of bike thefts.

People take the theft of their property very seriously and not everyone is above just stealing someone elses when theirs is taken. The real criminal here however is the building management for refusing to put up a sign so the general public knows they can't park their bikes there.

If the City of Toronto would add more bicycle racks outside of store fronts this wouldn't be a problem. Diddo for apartment buildings with lots of cyclists. And just scrap the "residents only" policy of chopping people's bikes off. Its unnecessary and just leads to more problems when a sign could discourage people.

According to a Google search the apartment buildings in question also have trouble with bedbugs, crackheads living in the building, residents harassing people walking by and throwing things at pedestrians... and a Toronto.ca PDF which reveals the following:

"By-law 1044-2006 which permitted the construction of the Shoppers Drug Mart required 60 bicycle parking spaces to be provided in a secured bicycle parking area."

If there's any lawyers out there who could explain what this means, please do. Does that mean they MUST provide bicycle parking NEAR the Shoppers Drug Mart, and this must be done in a "secure" fashion?

Seriously, how secure is a bike rack that isn't even bolted to the pavement?

I learned from building management they are intending to remove the bike rack entirely on July 5th, one week from now. No word on whether the owners of the bicycles will be given much of a warning. If they do remove it, wouldn't that place them in violation of the above mentioned by-law which requires 60 bicycle parking spaces? (It should be noted the existing bike racks only provide space for 30, so they're already in violation of the by-law.)

What a conundrum.

The New Evergreen Bike Works

The New Evergreen Bike Works (located at the Evergreen Brick Works, amusing isn't it?) at 550 Bayview Avenue in Toronto is looking for bicycle mechanic volunteers to help build bikes and put the finishing touches on the shop.

For more information contact Shah Mohamed at realbrew{atsymbol}gmail.com.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Bicycle Collisions: What To Do

CANADA - Some of the info below pertains to Toronto. If you live elsewhere please consult your local municipality websites with respect to cyclists.

Report the crash at the scene. Have someone call "911" or if you live in Toronto call the police non-emergency number (416-808-2222). Wait for police to arrive.

Ask witnesses to identify themselves.

If a motor vehicle is involved, record the driver's name, phone number, insurance policy details, a description of the vehicle and the license plate number.

If you are injured at all, see a doctor. Ask for a letter describing your condition.

If your bike needs repair, get a written estimate from a bike shop.

If you have insurance, speak to your broker. If not, call the insurance company of the driver(s) involved in the crash.

If you have no access to insurance, contact the Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund at 1-800-268-7188.

Advocacy for Respect for Cyclists (ARC) can refer you to a lawyer for advice on making an insurance claim. E-mail: arc@respect.to or phone: 416-604-5171.

Do not leave the scene of a collision without talking to the other driver, pedestrian or cyclist involved. 'Hit and run' applies to cyclists as well as drivers. If you choose not to report the crash at the scene, you can file a report at the nearest police station within 24 hours or call 416-808-2222. Cyclists do not have go to a Collision Reporting Centre. Take responsibility for assisting other crash victims by helping them follow the steps above.

In other news...

Less women ride bicycles than men in North America and Australia, according to two separate studies by Rutgers University in New Jersey and Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia. According to the studies approx. 30% of cyclists are women.

According to surveys many women are worried about accidents and getting a "door prize" and the fear of cycling accidents is listed as a major reason.

Malena Andrade, a website designer, experienced her first "door prize" a couple of years ago in Toronto's club district when a group of girls exiting a cab opened the door without looking. Andrade's bike was hit so hard the front wheel warped but fortunately did not taco.

Andrade brushed herself off and managed to cycle home. When she took her wheel to get fixed, she learned about her legal rights as a cyclist.

Female cyclists in Toronto looking to hang out (and eat cupcakes) are recommended to check out cupcakeride.com. Its a Toronto girls only riding group who meet regularly to swap stories and eat cupcakes.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Toronto police looking for witnesses in hit-and-run

CANADA - Toronto police have a man in custody following a hit-and-run collision that left a cyclist with life-threatening head injuries. The incident happened yesterday (June 4th) when a dark-coloured van struck a 35-year-old male cyclist and left him lying on King St. W., just east of Dufferin St., at around 3 AM.

A taxi driver spotted the victim and called for help. The cyclist was taken to hospital with life-threatening head injuries. Doctors have since been able to stabilize the man’s condition, but his injuries are still considered severe.

Police found a dark-coloured van which matched the desciption and took a man into custody later yesterday morning. The van had significant damage to its front end and a cracked windshield.

Its believed the cyclist was not wearing a helmet at the time of the collision. He was hit so hard he hit the windshield of the van, hurtled through the air and landed in a crumpled heap.

Police are appealing for witnesses to call them at 416-808-1900.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Internal Motor: Hoax or Real?

TECHNOLOGY - There's a new internal motor you can get for your bicycle if you're interested in having motor assistance for your bicycle, especially those hard rides uphill... but its also causing a stir of rumours in the sporting world because there's a video on YouTube which alleges the Swiss champion Fabian Cancellara may have been cheating in recent races.



So far Fabian Cancellara has won the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix in 2010, but according to an Italian YouTube video (conspiracy theorist type stuff) he may have been using a tiny motor which rests inside the bicycle frame and bottom bracket.

"In fact, it’s pretty funny but it is such a big story that it’s no longer the case," says Fabian Cancellara. "It’s a sad story and really outrageous. Don’t worry my accomplishments are the result of hard work."

"I don’t see an advantage for a guy like Cancellara cheating this way," says Vincent Jourdain, coach of the Canadian national road team. "Can you imagine if he got caught and was found using a motorized bike? I’m not saying that no one would ever try it, but there’s way too much to lose. Maybe I’m wrong. Who knows? But he’s a real specimen on the bike. He doesn’t need a bike like that."

Now that this story has come out it means the UCI might have to change the way they inspect bikes before and after races, checking inside the frame and weighing the bicycle. If the technology is now there it means some cyclists might try to use it.

29-year-old Fabian Cancellara has been winning races since 1998. He is a three-time World Time Trial Champion and is the current Olympic gold medalist (Beijing 2008). He's been performing feats of speed and endurance for years now, earning him the nickname 'the Swiss Spartacus'.

The motor technology is real, but the idea that Fabian Cancellara would cheat is pure hoax and more likely to be the result of Italian rivalry with the Swiss.

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