John Barber on free highways

In today's Globe and Mail, John Barber wrote a column titled "Reality requires road tolls; prepare for the inevitable".

What caught my eye?

What makes tolls doubly attractive is that motorists also stand to benefit, both immediately and in the long term. Our highways today are like Communist supermarkets, with huge lineups for artificially cheap food that is rarely available.

By now, everybody knows there is only one way to rationalize the distribution of a scarce resource: You price it. The lineups disappear and rutabagas suddenly abound.

That, friends, is some evocative imagery, especially considering who it comes from.

Now if only the City of Toronto would follow Barber's advice, vis-a-vis on-street parking.


Collision Report

Celebrating Toronto Bike Month

In celebration of Toronto Bike Month, please enjoy the following excerpts from the executive summary (I am still looking for the whole report) of City of Toronto Bicycle/Motor-Vehicle Collision Study 2003 (pdf, 326 kB). Although it only studies data compiled between 1986 and 1996, it still contains a plethora of interesting facts and figures for anyone hoping to increase their chances of survival whilst negotiating high density street activity.

According to the data, the t-bone is the most statistically significant source of injury for bike riders. (The illustration at the top of this post is a representation of a t-bone accident.)

As far as I am concerned, this is amateur garbage. Anyone who actually trusts that a vehicle not signalling a right turn will not turn right is incredibly naive.

After I was forced to fall over onto the sidewalk to prevent myself being crushed by a cube van making a tight right turn during a red light on Bay Street last summer, a courier waiting behind me quoted the apparently well known courier truism "Right side is suicide". (I wonder if there is an online repository of such wisdom, or if they prefer to keep this knowledge to themselves.)

If bikers don't realize that it is safer to swing to the left behind any vehicle giving any indication at all (signalling, slowing down, etc) of making a right turn, this will continue to be the #1 problem.

My biggest fear regarding biking safety is the same as Jeff Gray outlined in last weekend's Globe and Mail: when riding in a bike lane that has parked cars between myself and the sidewalk, I tend to keep to the left of the bike lane.

While this provides an extra millisecond or two reaction time if someone suddenly opens their car door, at the same time it significantly increases the chances of being struck on the back of the head by the side mirror of a passing pickup or cube van.

Which is more dangerous, car doors or side-mirrors? That was my most important question:

  • Motorist Overtaking 277 cases (11.9% of total)
  • Motorist Opens Vehicle Door 276 cases (11.9% of total)

Wouldn't you know it? A statistical dead heat.

However, since these statistics also include the area outside the central part of the city, I am going to go ahead and speculate that the door prize is a greater danger than the possibility of a mirror/skull interaction, at least downtown where there is more happening, parking-wise.

Other interesting facts to be gleaned from the executive summary:

Almost 30% of the cyclists involved in reported motor vehicle collisions were cycling on the sidewalk immediately prior to their collisions, making this the most frequent “possible contributing factor.

The vast majority of collisions happened in dry weather conditions. Most occurred in daylight, particularly during rush hours, especially the evening peak, between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.

From "Contributing Factors"
Cyclist impaired- 9 cases
Motorist impaired- 3 cases

Happy biking!

UPDATE (08.07.18)
I was just reviewing this post and I noticed that the cyclist in the graphic is run over by what appears to be a Porsche, or some other kind of expensive sportscar.



Conservative election strategy

GABLE's cartoon from today's Globe and Mail, lampooning, once again, the Keystone Kops antics of CPC ministers. This is probably aimed principally at Maxime Bernier and his recent displays of extreme, shall we say, 'absent-mindedness'.