bike and related
ARC / Times Up! / Critical Mass / Bike Toronto / public space / Tino's Bike Lane Diary / Get Out of the Bike Lane / bike [in]justice in texas / Chunk 666 / drumroll nyc / bike courier doc / cbn / toronto cranks / hwn / crazy biker chick
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Okay this idea was kind of cracked. I am integrating bike posts into my main page, as cycling is integrated in my life. Like art. and other stuff. If you are looking for bike-related chit chat you can sift through my main archive or check out the following: bikenerd, Martino's Bike Lane Diary, or any of the links above.
Here's an alternative transportation story my friend just sent me by email. She teaching for one term away from home, and doesn't know anyone in the city yet except her students. I've changed the names to X and Y.
tuesday, one my students, X, whacks his head real hard in the darkroom - cuts it pretty bad.
thursday the cops interrupt my class during our break and chase down X at his locker. a custodian had seen him on his skateboard in the hall before class and reported it.
after class i convince X and Y (my t.a.) to have dinner or a drink with me. reluctantly out of feeling sympathy for me, X joins Y and i for thai food.
we depart, myself on bike, X on skateboard going the same direction home.
i run a stopsign on my bicycle. (it wasn't lit well) and the campus cops chase us down. X is on the wrong side of the road on a skateboard going the wrong way. they say something like "skateboarder!" he says "i know, i'm on my way home!"
they don't like his attitude and corner him with backup. they separate us for an hour on the street. X has 5 outstanding warrants for traffic violations.
* he drove a taxi for the past two years (graveyard shift) to pay for tuition since his parents disowned him for dropping out of med school and enrolling in the art program.
they write X a couple more tickets for...skateboarding, wrong side of the road,... i don't get a ticket for running the stopsign...just a lecture. they won't let us talk or see each other. i've let them know that he's my student. they want to protect me from him.
they tell me i have to take all of his things, and offer me a ride home. they realized they were wrong so they only let me take his groceries (that he bought with an emergency loan at the health food store). i ride my bicycle back to school to figure out how to get things home, decide to bail him out.
from 1:30am to 4am i went through the process of bailing him out. i wait until 5am for his release but have an airport shuttle scheduled to arrive at 6am with a half hour bike ride yet ahead of me. X calls (on skateboard) riding home after being let out at 5:30am. thanks me, tells me they said they would have let him out anyway without the bail that i paid ($1035) and put on a payment schedule with a judge. (i'm sure he would have skipped out on this). he also has to see the dean of the university - i hope they don't kick him out for something so stupid.
X says he was going to take the tickets to court and fight them for lower amounts (doubt he would have done this - he was in too deep). the officers were giving him triple citations which are obviously too expensive for any skateboarder to pay. i knew that X had been moving apartments and had changed his mailbox to a p.o. box, intentionally never carrying his license in case he was stopped. it worked earlier in the day.
what a mess. now i have to figure out how to straighten this out with him. he has no money though just applied for a college loan. we'll see if he gets one. he's 25 so he's not naive. he's wicked smart - too a smartass at times! but i felt at the moment that it was what i should do. in retrospect i realise that i was in a vulnerable position since the cops wouldn't let me talk to him and i was leaving for the weekend. i didn't want to find out he would be in jail when i returned and i knew that he would not contact his parents. i didn't want him to go through that.
Some really nice snowstorm photos by Tino.
informative thread here about jaywalking in Toronto. Note: don't be alarmed by the jumpy cat fur - it's not actually a cat having sex, it's just sped-up breathing.
A good friend of mine did her master's thesis on the different types of bicycle advocate. Here is a quote from something she wrote recently in a bikelane vs. education debate on the arcactive email list. (Vehicular cycling is the type advocated by courses such as Canbike, invovling a disdain for bike lanes and a call for education of cyclists so they feel empowered to "take the lane.")
"Vehicular cycling has its place as a solution for increasing cyclist safety--but just as bike lanes are not--it is not and can not be the only solution that we advocate for. Not only is it insufficient alone, the principles of vehicular cycling are unknown by the majority of cyclists (the minority that advocate for them are extremely vocal!) and even if they more well known are difficult for most people to adhere to. Bike lanes, on the other hand, are --poll after poll- the most desired and sought-after solution by cyclists and non-cyclists alike.
[V]ehicular cyclists slam bikeway advocates for not having enough "hard" science to back up their position but if you look at the source material that VC is based on (eg writings of John Forester the primary VC theorist in US) his research is quite unscientific and based very much on a subjective understanding of the world.
However the positions of BOTH bikeway advocates and vehicular cyclists are pro-cycling. We need to get past the either/or dialogue.
If you've spent time with bike activists, you know there's a rift between those who like bike lanes and those who don't. If I understand it correctly, the hating of bike lanes dates to a time when bikes were considered toys rather than vehicles, and putting in bike lanes was like making cyclists sit at the kid's table. Some people still feel this way, and there are arguements that bike lanes create a false sense of security, and what cyclists need is not infrastructure, but education in how to ride safely. My opinion is more inline with Dave, who just posted the following to the arcactive email list.
"I'll take the "false sense of security" bike lanes give me anyday. Without them, drivers come too close for my comfort, despite all the lights, reflective tape, and reflective clothing I use. Maybe I should be wearing an educational message on my back...?"
ARC (Advocacy for Respect for Cyclists) has some really good resources online such as: how to fight traffic tickets, what to do in a crash, how to lodge a police complaint, ins and outs of insurance, a list of bike-friendly lawyers, and more. If you ride a bike anywhere, you may find these documents useful. If you ride in Toronto you most certainly will. The library is here, main page is here.
click to see the little girl ride her bike
| This is a new page for occasional posts about bicycle fun and transportation, as well as related topics such as social justice, police, and one day getting rid of boring old cars.
Please post comments and send links.
Last night the bicycle advocacy group I belong to agreed to give $500 to a cyclist who'd been charged with assault for allegedly spitting on the driver who tried (with some alleged success) to mow him down. We have a (very tiny) budget for cyclists who we feel have been wrongly charged. $500 goes doesn't do much to defray legal costs (minimum $2000 in this case) and lost wages (the guy is a courier and he lost 3 weeks of work). But it doesn't hurt. Maybe more importantly, the guy walked into a room full of people who know that cyclists are regularly getting the shit end of the legal stick. Once you've seen a bunch of your friends get treated like low-life by cops, you start to let go of the stigma that's normally attached to getting arrested.