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The Fixer Gets It Right 14

Mother and her three children riding home from school – by Brad Hawkins / Courtesy of RateMyVelo.com Two weeks ago I wrote an open letter to Toronto Star newspaper columnist Jack Lakey who calls himself “The Fixer” because he fixes things that are “broken in your neighbourhood”. I critiqued “The Fixer” for his angry rant ...

Wobbly Bicyclists Calm Traffic 40

Bixi Montreal – Photo by Xander / RateMyVelo.com I was a passenger in a friend’s car a couple months ago while she was driving approximately 55km/h in a 40km/h zone in downtown Toronto – a speed deemed acceptable by our car-centric society. A cyclist who was riding in the bike lane was swerving somewhat erratically ...

Roads Weren’t Built For Cars 20

Drawing from The Great Bicycle Protest of 1896” by Hank Chapot We have all heard the tall tale that roads were built for cars, so bicycles and pedestrians have no place on our streets. Perpetuating this myth might help some motorists sleep better at night to think that they have an exclusive, god-given right to ...

Friday Fun: The Future Of Toronto 16

Photo by James D. Schwartz / The Urban Country Toronto City Council voted this week to rip out 3 existing bike lanes in the city – an unprecedented measure that may compromise Toronto’s world renown designation as “the best place to ride a bicycle in Toronto”. In return for the removal of the bike lanes, ...

Once Upon a Car Ownership: 8 Months Later 59

Infinity MPG t-shirt by Noisebot (don’t worry, I’m not getting any kickbacks if you buy this t-shirt) I had owned a car for most of my adult life – ever since I acquired my driver’s permit in 1996. After moving to Toronto in 2002, my car mostly sat in the garage collecting dust, but conveniently ...

“The Fixer” Not Fixing Anything 29

Photo of a cyclist passing the photographer who was probably blocking the right lane. Photo by Jack Lakey / Toronto Star Below is an open letter from me to a Toronto Star writer Jack Lakey, who calls himself “The Fixer” because he fixes things that are “broken in your neighbourhood”. The Fixer recently wrote an ...

Our Backwards Approach to Road Safety 29

A family in Copenhagen by MarkA / RateMyVelo.com English-speaking countries generally take a backwards approach to improving road safety for pedestrians and cyclists. Instead of addressing the root causes of danger, politicians implement band-aid solutions that ignore the root cause in the name of maintaining unimpeded traffic flow for motor vehicles. In most cases, motor ...

Reclaiming Streets For People 14

Photo – “Reclaimed street” by James D. Schwartz / The Urban Country Toronto’s mayor Rob Ford thinks that bicycles don’t belong on the streets. Yet he rips out bike lanes forcing cyclists to share lanes with automobiles because cyclists are apparently the cause of our traffic congestion problems. Last week his brother, Doug Ford – ...

Creating Grace & Beauty Through The Bicycle 7

Drawing of Bicycling Advocate James Schwartz by Michael Rubbo Riding an upright bicycle (or sit-up bicycle) is the key to spreading urban bicycling. That’s what Mike Rubbo believes anyway, and we here at The Urban Country have to agree that the style of bicycle one chooses is as important as anything else to making urban ...

Future Bicyclist & Cargo Bikes 34

Photo of baby Sofia (Day 1) by James D. Schwartz / The Urban Country You may have noticed that The Urban Country has been quiet this week. Between supporting my wife through labour and then subsequently learning how to care for our newborn child, I have had my hands quite full. Our future bicyclist Sofia ...