Friday, May 29, 2009

Downtown Core Information for May 29

On Friday, may 29, 2009, there will be four events in the downtown area that will have an impact on the afternoon and evening traffic routes through the core.

1.) As part of Bike Month, the Toronto Criterium will take place around the St. Lawrence Market. The road closures for this event will take place at 4:00 p.m. until approximately 11:00 p.m. The closures will be:
Front Street from Yonge Street to Jarvis Street
The Esplanade from Yonge Street to Jarvis Street
Market St from Front Street to The Esplanade
Church Street from Wellington Street to The Esplanade
Scott Street from Wellington Street to The Esplanade
Jarvis Street and Yonge Street will remain open in both directions but long term construction will see Jarvis Street reduced to one southbound lane.

2.) Former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush will speaking at the Metro Toronto Convention Center. The scheduled times for the event are from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. There are no scheduled closures for this event but Toronto Police are expecting protesters in the area. Public safety and the safe and efficient flow of traffic will be exterior priorities for this event. If through continual assessment of the public safety issues it is determined closures are necessary, they will be put in place.

3.) The Blue Jays are retuning home today and will be playing at 7:00 p.m.

4.) The Tamil community is requesting supporters to hold a peaceful rally and protest starting at 2:00 p.m. near the intersection of Yonge and St.Clair Avenue which will proceed down Yonge Street making its way to the U.S. Consulate at University Avenue and Armoury Street. The intent then is to go to the Convention Centre.

Traffic Services strongly suggests that if you are coming to any of the events or travelling through the area for any reason that you exercise patience and leave plenty of time for any unexpected delays.

Public transit is an excellent choice for any movement into or out of the downtown.

Know alternative routes before you travel. If you find yourself in need of a detour to your planned route, the knowledge of alternative routes will serve you well.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Bike racers set to hit the Market

Who says Toronto isn't bike friendly?
As part of the city's festivities for Bike Month -- which began Monday and rolls to June 25 -- Toronto's second annual criterium bike race will take place Friday near St. Lawrence Market.
"Cycling is an activity that Torontonians are embracing in ever increasing numbers," Mayor David Miller stated yesterday in a news release, adding the city is making Toronto more bicycle-friendly. "We are adding 100 km to our bikeway network this year and we are fully committed to adding another 400 km over the next five years."
The action, starting at 5:30 p.m. Friday, features races for kids, juniors, seniors, and women, as well as professionals who'll be competing for $20,000 in prizes.
"It's terrific to have bike racing right in the heart of the city," said Councillor Adrian Heaps, chairman of the city's cycling committee. "These races are absolutely thrilling to watch. People who see the action will never forget it."
Last Updated: 27th May 2009, 3:45am

New bike lane symbol of city's commitment to the bicycle, Heaps says

May 27, 2009 05:52 PM
Tess Kalinowski Transportation Reporter - The Star
It only represents 2 per cent of the city's bike-lane total,
But the two-kilometre stretch just opened along Wellesley, from Parliament St. to Queen's Park, is symbolic of Toronto's determination to transform a cycling patchwork into a network, Councillor Adrian Heaps, chair of the city's cycling committee, said today.
The Wellesley lane was on the books for years before it finally materialized late last year, he said at a news conference near Sherbourne St.
The city is still putting some of the finishing touches at intersections along Wellesley.
Traditionally, Toronto has installed bike lanes in the "path of least resistance," making them scarce in the most heavily trafficked areas, such as the narrow and busy Wellesley.
"Cycling is not the panacea. It is a viable transportation option," he added. That means it has to be part of an integrated transportation network.
The city's alliance with cyclists came to a head this week with a council decision to build bike lanes on Jarvis St. The plan, which involves removing a reversible north-south car lane, was approved despite fierce opposition from motorists who use Jarvis to commute from homes north of Bloor St.
The city also opened its first bike station at Union Station this week.
About 600 kilometres of bike lanes, shared roadways and off-road paths remain on the planning books, and Heaps acknowledges that Toronto lags behind other North American cities with comparable climates in providing cycling infrastructure.
"Traffic is the reason you put bike lanes downtown," said Heaps. "The (city's) population is expanding 35,000 to 40,000 people every year, and every year we're not building more roads."
But even the existing lanes are mostly unpassable in winter. Last winter, the city kept the Martin Goodman Trail clear along the lakeshore. This winter, Heaps said, the city will consult with cyclists on a second lane designated for snow clearing, probably a north-south path.
But he acknowledged there's a lack of hard data showing how much use people are making of the bike lanes. The city has committed to building $70 million worth of cycling infrastructure over the next five years.

Wet Weather Driving Tips

There are forecasts speculating that there may be
severe weather in Toronto during the afternoon rush. Here are some helpful tips to get you through the drive.

Wet Weather Driving Tips

How you drive can obviously make a significant impact on wet-weather safety. Be alert to the situation around you, including what other drivers are doing and how they are reacting to conditions. One of the best ways to avoid collisions is to always be prepared for the actions of others that will affect you.

  • Leave yourself more time. Knowing that the drive will take longer prepare ahead of time by leaving for where you need to be earlier, don't try to make up time on the doesn't work and is very dangerous.
  • Slow down before you encounter a problem, and be aware that your tires less grip available for stopping, steering and accelerating. Remember: Even four-wheel-drive and anti-lock brakes can't change the laws of physics.
  • Never use your cruise control.
  • Even a new tire can begin to hydroplane on wet surfaces, so watch your speed. If the steering begins to feel light and the car is splashing through deep puddles, gently reduce your throttle to allow the car to slow to a more manageable speed. Don't lift off the gas pedal abruptly or hit the brakes, since this could unsettle the tires' grip on the wet surface.
  • Don’t drive your car through deep water on a flooded road. You simply cannot tell how deep the water is. It doesn't take much water to disable your vehicle or even float it off of the road surface. If you have any doubt about water depth, stop and go back the way you came.
  • Use the speeds on your windshield wipers to help remove the amount of water that is hitting the windshield. This sounds simple, but some people forget that at higher road speeds you need higher wiper speeds.
  • Be aware of the spray coming from passing trucks and oncoming cars. It may blind you temporarily, so anticipate this by turning on (or increasing the speed of) your wipers and by looking at what's happening to cars ahead of you.
  • Turn down the radio and turn off your cell phone. Driving in heavy rain demands greater attention.
  • If conditions become too intense, pull far off the road to a parking lot or side street and wait it out.
  • If you travel through deep standing water lightly apply your brakes for a moment to dry them.

Preparing Your Car

If you are serious about driving in wet conditions, there are several things you can do to prepare your car:

  • Make sure your wiper blades are like-new and that they still have a sharp wiping edge.
  • Clean your wiper blades by running a damp cloth along their edges from time to time to remove the build-up of oils and debris that the wipers have removed from the windshield.
  • Clean the interior and exterior glass surfaces of your vehicle.
  • If your windshield is heavily pitted, it might be time for a replacement. Nothing lets you see better than a new windshield.
  • Make sure that your headlights and taillights are working properly and that their lenses are clean and your turn on your full lighting package, not just day time running lights.
  • Make sure your tires are inflated to manufacturer's specifications and have sufficient tread. To measure the tread use the ‘Bluenose Test’: place a dime in the tire’s groove with the Bluenose’s Sails facing down . If you can see the top of the Bluenose mass and sails, then your tires have sailed long enough and needs replacing. However, this test will not work with performance or off-road tires.

Be Safe

The biggest factor in safe wet-weather driving is you and your judgment. When visibility drops and the roads become flooded, only you can tell when it is time to pull off and take a break. Sure, it may take you a bit longer to reach your destination, but in the end, the few minutes spent to be safe will be worth it.

Alternatives to Driving

Public transit is the best choice to avoid the need for driving in wet weather. Leave the driving up to someone else.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Bike Month - Cycling Safety Tips

In keeping with the city of Toronto's Bike Month, here are some cycling safety tips for your use.

1. ) Obey traffic signs and signals - Bicycles must follow the rules of the road like other vehicles.

2.) Never ride against traffic - Motorists aren't looking for bicyclists riding on the wrong side of the road. State law and common sense require that bicyclists drive like other vehicles.

3.) Follow lane markings - Don't turn left from the right lane. Don't go straight in a lane marked “right-turn only.”

4.) Don’t pass on the right - Motorists may not look for or see a bicycle passing on the right.

5.) Scan the road behind you - Learn to look back over your shoulder without losing your balance or swerving. Some riders use rear-view mirrors.

6.) Keep both hands ready to brake / turn. - You may not stop in time if you brake one-handed. Allow extra distance for stopping in the rain, since breaks are less efficient when wet. Turns are not always planned events so having your hands ready to respond is paramount.

7.) Wear a helmet and never ride with headphones - Always wear a helmet. Never wear a headphone while riding a bike.

8.) Dress for the weather - In rain wear a poncho or waterproof suit. Dress in layers so you can adjust to temperature changes. Wear bright colored clothing.

9.) Use hand signals - Hand signals tell motorists and pedestrians what you intend to do. Signal as a matter of law, of courtesy, and of self-protection.

10.) Ride in the middle of the lane in slower traffic - Get in the middle of the lane at busy intersections and whenever you are moving at the same speed as traffic.

11.) Choose the best way to turn left – There are two choices: (1) Like an auto: signal to move into the left turn lane and then turn left. (2) Like a pedestrian: ride straight to the far side crosswalk. Walk your bike across.

12.) Make eye contact with drivers - Assume that other drivers don't see you until you are sure that they do. Eye contact is important with any driver which might pose a threat to your safety.

13.) Look out for road hazards - Watch out for parallel-slat sewer grates, gravel, ice, sand or debris. Cross railroad tracks at right angles.

14.) Use lights at night - The law requires a white headlight and a rear reflector or taillight. Reflective tape is also required both front and rear.

15.) Keep your bike in good repair - Adjust your bike to fit you and keep it working properly. Check brakes and tires regularly. Routine maintenance is simple and you can learn to do it yourself.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

YMCA Corporate Challenge

From: Toronto Police News Releases

On Wednesday, May 27, 2009, at 7 p.m., the Metro Central YMCA will hold their annual
Corporate Challenge. The event will take place on Lakeshore Boulevard West and the CNE

YMCA Corporate Team Challenge Route:
Formation: Princes’ Boulevard (west side of Direct Energy Centre),
East along the south side of Princes' Boulevard, then south along Canada Boulevard (full road
closure), west along the two northside lanes of Lakeshore Boulevard West, north on Ontario
Drive (full road closure), north/west on Prince Edward Island (full road closure), east on
Princes' Boulevard (full road closure), north on Manitoba Drive, south on Nova Scotia Avenue
(full road closure), then south/east on Princes' Boulevard.

Lane restrictions for Lakeshore Boulevard West: two most northerly westbound lanes will be
closed, from Strachan Avenue to Ontario Drive, starting at 6:30 p.m.

All entrances to the CNE Grounds, except Dufferin Street, Manitoba Drive and British
Columbia Road, will be closed at 6 p.m. Medieval Times can be reached via Dufferin Street or
British Columbia Road.

The event will proceed regardless of weather conditions.

Area Map

Monday, May 25, 2009

May 15 to May 24 Poll Results

In a non-scientific poll posted on this site, you were asked...May 25th marks the start of the City of Toronto's Bike Month. Do you cycle in Toronto forMay 25th marks the start of the City of Toronto's Bike Month. Do you cycle in Toronto for:
Pleasure - 15%
Primary Transportation - 34%
Commuting Purposes - 38%
Exercise - 0%
I don't...afraid to cycle in Toronto - 11%
(if you are looking for the other two percent, which always seems to be missing, refer to the top...'non-scientific'.)

Thanks for the response. For the 11% that are afraid to cycle in Toronto, your confidence will increase with the knowledge, skills and abilities that you can learn with a CanBike Course. Click here for more details on that.

This weeks poll question, keeping Bike Month in mind:
The biggest challenge for cycling in Toronto is? (multiple responses will be allowed)
Vote on the poll question on the right side of the page.

City of Toronto - Bike Month

Congratulations on everyone who choose to cycle to work today. Click here for great information on the Bike Month Programs that are available.
If you would like to take on cycling as a full time mode of transportation or you just need to refresh long forgotten skills, CanBike offers great programs to increase your knowledge, skills and abilities.
It was great being at the kick off today at Nathan Phillips Square.

Friday, May 15, 2009


May 12 - 18, 2009 will mark Canada Road Safety Week, a national campaign to make Canada's
roads the safest in the world. This week has been strategically chosen, as it is the first "summer" long weekend. More people are traveling and traffic collisions are more frequent. Police vehicles will be stationed at key locations to remind people that safe driving habits save lives and reduce injuries on our roadways.
The focus during Canada Road Safety Week will be on behaviours that reduce risks for drivers, passengers and other road users: sober and alert driving, seat belt use, and refraining from all aspects of aggressive driving. All enforcement agencies across the country have been invited to participate.
"Anyone can become a victim of unsafe driving --- whether by direct involvement or when a loved one is affected," says Traffic Services Inspector Len Faul. "Police agencies across the country are collaborating on this project because they have seen this kind of devastation, and because they know that the involvement of the driving public is essential to achieve safer streets and highways."
Here in Toronto, there have been 177 deaths over the last 3 years related to vehicle collisions. These are just numbers, but they represent a lot of pain and heartache for our city--- that could have been prevented. That is why, in support of Canada Road Safety Week, we are increasing RIDE Spot Checks, vehicle safety blitzes, enforcement and education strategies and public awareness.

Canada Road Safety Week is sponsored by Transport Canada and endorsed by police and is part of Road Safety Vision 2010, which has a goal of making Canada's roads the safest in the world by 2010. Now that we are only a year away, we see a need to extend this vision and continue to strive for this goal.

"Dedicated to improving public safety on our roadways."

What is Canada Road Safety Week?
• It is a special week to focus on safe driving practices, and is timed in conjunction with Canada's first holiday weekend of the summer, when the traveling public will be out in great numbers.
• It is a coordinated effort between police agencies across the country to work toward the goal of Road Safety Vision 2010 - making Canada's roads the safest in the world.
• It is a time to remind drivers and passengers across Canada to make a conscious decision about safety whenever they get behind the wheel. Buckle seat belts and ensure youngsters in vehicles are properly restrained according to their age and size. Refrain from drinking and driving. Pay attention to the road at all times.
Who was involved in coordinating this week?
• The project was developed by the Traffic Committee of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, in conjunction with several organizations focused on road safety.
• The participation of community partners and citizens across Canada is essential to achieve success.
What enforcement issues are most critical for front-line officers to enforce during Canada Road Safety Week?
• Drinking and driving, in any and all circumstances.
• Using seat belts and child restraints every time, no matter how short the trip.
• Aggressive driving, driving at unsafe speeds, following too closely or running red lights and stop signs.
• These issues are important every day of the year; not just during this special week.
What is Road Safety Vision 2010?
• Road Safety Vision 2010 is a national effort at making Canada's roads the safest in the world. The vision provides the road safety community with benchmarks against which to develop new strategies and measure intervention efforts. The vision focuses on users, road networks and vehicles and is specifically aimed to:
Raise public awareness of road safety issues
Improve communication, cooperation and collaboration among road safety agencies
Enhance enforcement measures
Improve national road safety data quality and collection
• Now that 2010 is only a year away, discussions are underway to
extend the vision and continue the effort. More information about Canada’s Road Safety Vision is available at

May 5 to 15 Poll Results

In a non-scientific poll posted on this site, you were asked...The new "Warn Range" suspensions are now a reality on our roads. The Toronto Police want you to know our stand is, "If you drink, don't drive". How will the new rules affect your behaviour?:

Will drink less before driving - 8%
Will not drink and drive anymore - 20%
Have never done it before - 70%
Not changing, I'll risk my life, your life and my drivers licence - 0%
(if you are looking for the other two percent, refer to the top...'non-scientific'.)

We are truly grateful and happy to see that everyone has either modified their behaviour in a positive way for road safety or never have done this before.
There has never been more reasons not to drink and drive...your licence, your job, your children...etc. "If you drink, don't drive!"...that is the simple and only message.
Never try to guess how many drinks you can have to be safe...that answer is none.

This weeks question: (Made for cyclists)
May 25th marks the start of the City of Toronto's Bike Month. Do you cycle in Toronto for:
Primary Transportation
Commuting Purposes
I don't...afraid to cycle in Toronto

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Canada Road Safety Week,

Tuesday, May 12, 2009 to Monday, May 18, 2009

Broadcast time: 18:30
Monday, May 11, 2009

Traffic Services

The Toronto Police Service will be participating in Canada Road Safety Week, from Tuesday,
May 12, 2009, to Monday, May 18, 2009. This is a time of year when more people are
travelling on our roads and traffic collisions are more frequent.
Canada Road Safety Week is a national traffic safety and enforcement initiative conducted in
partnership with the Canadian Associations of Chiefs of Police, police services from across
Canada and Transport Canada.
It is part of the national Road Safety Vision 2010, which has a goal of making Canada's roads
the safest in the world by 2010.
Police shall pay particular attention to all traffic laws including impaired drivers, pedestrian
offences, occupant restraint use, intersection safety, aggressive driving and unsafe speeds.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Tamil highway protest ‘not the way to go': MP

Canadian Press

Just a handful of Tamil protesters were gathered on the lawn outside the Ontario legislature early Monday following a dramatic highway blockade hours earlier a few kilometres to the south.
Hundreds of people marched onto the Gardiner Expressway along the Toronto lakeshore late Sunday in a desperate attempt to draw attention to the bloody civil war in Sri Lanka.
The highway protest lasted about six hours and ended just after midnight after the federal Liberals promised to raise the Tamil concerns in Parliament.
Liberal MP Jim Karygiannis, whose east-end Toronto riding is home to a large Tamil community, said early Monday that staging a protest on a highway was not a wise move.
“I understand the frustration and I understand their concern, but taking over a highway is not the way to go,” he told CTV News.
Rage over the war boiled over after reports said an artillery barrage in had killed more than 370 people and forced thousands to flee to makeshift shelters along the beach.
But Karygiannis added that as a result of the highway protest, “a lot of people (have ) turned against the Tamils — I got a lot of phone calls last night.”
Karygiannis said the prime minister should “get on the blowhorn” and speak to members of the UN Security Council because “we need solutions, we need action, we need it today — people are dying on those beaches.”
Three people were arrested during the highway protest and the charges against them include assault on a peace officer.
The expressway was fully opened for the morning rush hour and the protest outside the legislature was being monitored by just a handful of police officers.

Which way works for city streets?

One-way fracas revives a debate about what urban thoroughfares are for
May 10, 2009 04:30 AM
Christopher Hume Urban Affairs Columnist - Toronto Star

The question may seem straightforward, but not the answer.
Are streets an ends or a means, a way to get from A to B, or destinations in themselves?
In most cases they are both.
But as the debate over councillor Adam Vaughan's proposal to turn portions of Adelaide and Richmond from one-way to two-way streets makes clear, that doesn't make the decision any easier in a city where the car is king. A similar idea has also surfaced in Oshawa where city councillor Louise Parkes has raised the idea of turning some downtown streets back to two-way. They were made one-way long ago to accommodate shift changes at General Motors.
The one-way/two-way argument boils down to a car-versus-pedestrian struggle. The prevailing view is that one-way streets are better for vehicular flow than two-way. With fewer turns and no oncoming traffic, they tend to be faster.
On the other hand, one-way streets also force drivers to make more than the usual number of U-turns.
By contrast, two-way streets slow traffic, which is thought to make things safer for pedestrians – and drivers, for that matter.
"It means there's a fast way to get across downtown," was how one cab driver explained his preference for Adelaide and Richmond. "I think they should be left one-way."
From the other side, Nancy Smith-Lea of the Toronto Coalition for Active Transportation, told the Star last week that "One-way streets tend to be more dangerous for both cyclists and pedestrians. Traffic moves much faster."
Because both Adelaide and Richmond are four-lane roads, conversion from one-way to two would be possible.
Right now neither street sustains the kind of vitality as King, Queen or College Streets. The one-ways are largely back streets west of Yonge, and expressways to the east.
The Bay doesn't bother to dress the Richmond St. windows of its Queen St. flagship store.
In another part of town, a similar, but different, controversy is brewing over a proposal to close the reversible middle lane of Jarvis St. That would mean widening sidewalks and adding bicycle lanes.
Well-heeled north-enders have proclaimed their opposition. On the other hand, if the goal is a more pedestrian- and bike-friendly city, closing the lane is the right thing to do. But that doesn't mean it will be done.
In addition to the power wielded by the burghers of Rosedale and Moore Park, the city itself remains ambivalent about the car. Yes, we want to encourage pedestrians and cyclists, and enhance street life, but not if that interferes with traffic.
The city might take cues from New York transportation commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan. Under her leadership, that city has moved aggressively to make its streets more attractive to pedestrians. That hasn't included changing roads from one-way to two, and in Manhattan, one-way streets abound. But given New York's fierce congestion, that doesn't seem to matter. Blocks are generally short and traffic slow.
Sadik-Khan's strategy involves reclaiming chunks of streets, especially intersections, for pedestrians. Some former corners are now furnished with chairs and tables.
"It's important to look at streets holistically," she says. "When you see the city through the windshield of a car you see one thing, when you see it from a pedestrian point of view, you see it in different ways. Then it becomes clear our cities aren't working."
In Toronto, councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong is talking about a "deliberate campaign against drivers."
If only.
"Our job is to provide solutions to the congestion and gridlock that the city has," he said last week. "Instead, we are becoming more part of the problem. This arrangement is another thing we're going to do to make congestion worse."
In this city, the prevailing hope is that pedestrians and cyclists can be accommodated without getting in traffic's way. It's hard to make happen. In urban conditions, planners play a zero-sum game. Jarvis is a good example; adding bike lanes and widening sidewalks requires space, space that can only be gained by closing the fifth lane.
Richmond (one-way westbound) and Adelaide (one-way eastbound) have evolved into urban highways. They're not the Gardiner but, once past Parliament St. in the east become no-go zones for pedestrians and cyclists; then Richmond and Adelaide merge into an overpass that make it clear that this was the intention.
That was then, this is now. Fifty years ago, cities everywhere were building highways. Now many are tearing them down. Think of Boston, Seoul, San Francisco, Oslo...
Others – London and Stockholm – have introduced congestion fees, road tolls by another name. Despite enormous initial resistance, the fees reduced traffic up to 20 per cent.
The intention was to cut the number of car trips and find a better balance of users.
But many Torontonians – voters all – remain attached, limpet-like, to their wheels. Road tolls are too hot to handle and if taking down the Gardiner Expressway, in part or in whole, remains an option, those with the power aren't in a rush.
Perhaps we should remind ourselves that congestion is one thing all great cities share. In New York, Rome, London, Paris or Istanbul the traffic is awful. Even cities planned around the car – Abu Dhabi and Dubai – are as gripped by gridlock.
Sadik-Khan has discovered the urban street grid can be put to better use than just traffic. That doesn't mean removing all cars from the street, but finding a better mix of pedestrians, cyclists and drivers. For half a century, the car was given preference by default, but that's coming to an end.
Torontonians are waking up to the possibilities of the public realm, but still waiting to see results.
The Richmond/Adelaide debate is one whose time has come. The questions it will raise will be about who gets access to what. Is Toronto a place for cars or kids, vehicles or people?
If the city belongs to all the above, the roads are a good place to begin the conversation. If it doesn't, they are a good place to end it.

"The latest fad among urban planners is to convert one-way streets to two-way. The goal, they say, is to slow down traffic and make streets more pedestrian friendly ...
By almost any measurable criteria – safety, pollution, congestion, and effects on most local businesses – one-way streets are superior to two-way. The idea that two-way streets are superior because they are more pedestrian-friendly is just a planner's fantasy that disguises their real intent: to create an auto-hostile environment."– From Vanishing Automobile update #30 (
"One-way streets waste gas, time and lives. To get to my place at Marlowe and Sherbrooke with a carload of kids involves driving down Northcliffe or Vendome, diddling around the lights ... and shooting back up Marlowe to Sherbrooke – only to discover the parking space I spotted earlier is taken ... by the wise guy who raced in reverse down Marlowe from Sherbrooke ... The quiet two-way street of yesterday is now a rocket range."
– From The Monitor, Montreal, cited in The Gazette

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Top 5 ways to beat police on drinking and driving

With so much more to lose if you are caught driving after drinking, I thought I would give you a hand in beating police with drinking and driving arrests.

These have been proven time and time again.

Even a 'warn range' suspension (breath alcohol between .05 and .099 on roadside) will find you without a licence for 3 days, 7 days, 30 days. These suspensions also go on your drivers record!!

So, needless to say, you need all the help to skirt the police with drinking and driving.
Take these to heart...they work...take it from me. I have seen first hand how effective these are for getting you around the police.

Here are the top 5 ways to beat police on drinking and driving, feel free to share them, please!!

5. ) Use a designated driver - a designated driver decides they will not drink, while allowing you the freedom to do so. A great designated driver doesn't even have a sip, they make sure you can get home knowing their ability isn't influenced by alcohol.

4. ) Take a taxi - Let's the most 40 maybe 50 bucks for a taxi on a long haul trip in Toronto? Go find out how much a tow and storage will cost you if the police impound your car after they catch you...oh yeah, you'll have to take a taxi from the police station home.

3. ) Use public transit - just like the taxi, but a lot less money.

2. ) Phone a friend - hey we all make mistakes. You might have gone out with every intention of not drinking but one thing led to another and well, you know you can't drive. Make the phone call that could very well be a life saver. I'd rather get woken up to give you a ride, then to i.d. you at the morgue.

1. ) If you drink, don't drive !! - Pretty self explanatory...not going to get stopped for drinking and driving, if you don't drink.

Bail granted in alleged drunk hit-and-run

May 08, 2009 02:22 PM
Peter Small Courts Bureau - The Star

A Toronto man alleged to have driven drunk and collided with another car, sending a woman to hospital before his vehicle demolished a TTC shelter, has been granted $20,000 bail under strict conditions, including house arrest.
Craig Barlow, 28, who stood today in an Old City Hall prisoner's dock looking tired and bruised, faces five charges, including impaired driving, failing to stop after an accident and driving over 80 mgs.
Police allege that a man drove through a red light at Annette and Keele Sts. just before 6 a.m. on Thursday, clipping the front of an oncoming car and smashing into the glass bus shelter.
He fled on foot with his dog and was arrested a block away, police say.
The 48-year-old driver of the other vehicle was taken to hospital with minor injuries.
Justice of the Peace Karin Dresher released Barlow this morning on condition that he remain under house arrest at his mother's north Toronto home. Bail was set at $20,000.
Barlow can't leave the house except with his mother. He must take alcohol counselling and not attend places, such as bars, whose primary sales are of alcoholic beverages. He must not be in the front seat of a car.
Dresher placed a publication ban on evidence and arguments presented at the bail hearing.
Barlow returns to court June 1.

14 charges laid after early morning collision. This is a high risk road user!!!

Man faces gun charges after traffic stop

May 09, 2009 08:00 PM
Alex Cooper Staff Reporter - The Star

A former NFL player is among five people arrested after a traffic stop in Scarborough early this morning resulted in the seizure of a handgun.
Police were making a "legitimate traffic stop" on Pilot Street near Lawrence Ave. E. and Kingston Rd. when one of the occupants got out of the vehicle to urinate, said Staff Sgt. Bob Burns of 43 Division.
"The officers could see he had a handgun in his waistband," said Burns.
The man, who is 6-foot-8, tried to fight off two officers when they went to arrest him but was eventually overpowered. Police then seized a 40-calibre semi-automatic handgun with a full magazine in it.
Brenton Edwards is charged with two counts of assault with intent to resist arrest, failure to comply with probation and several weapons charges.
The other four occupants of the vehicle, including former NFL linebacker Henri Crockett, were charged with having a firearm in a vehicle.
Crockett, 34, played seven seasons in the NFL for the Atlanta Falcons and Minnesota Vikings from 1997 to 2003. The Vikings released him before the 2004 season.

East-end cyclist hit by van was wearing headphones, police say

Posted: May 08, 2009, 12:39 PM by Rob Roberts
By Wu Yun, National Post

A teenage cyclist wearing headphones instead of a helmet was badly injured when he turned into the path of a van on Coxwell Avenue last night.
“It may have been that he didn’t actually hear the van going past him at the time,’’ said Sergeant Tim Burrows. “If you can’t hear the outside world ... you lose a really big part of the information you need as a road user.”
The 19-year-old man was riding north on Coxwell at 11:07 p.m. when he made a left turn into the path of a GMC Safari van and was struck, police said.
He was sent to St. Michael’s Hospital with life-threatening head and upper-body injuries, but he has improved and is expected to live.Sgt. Burrows, who said cyclists and pedestrians ‘‘have to be really alert and aware of our surroundings,’’ also noted a helmet may have protected the cyclist.
“Although he is not at the age where helmets are mandatory for cycling, studies have shown that wearing a helmet can reduce head injuries.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact police at 416-808-1900, or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-TIPS (8477).

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Man taping trains gets hit by one

May 05, 2009 04:30 AM
Precious Yutangco STAFF REPORTER - Toronto Star
He was hit by a train and lived to tell about it.
A 38-year-old man was walking along the tracks at a CP Rail facility trying to record the sounds of trains for a documentary when he was struck Sunday.
It happened around 7:45 p.m. near Dundas St. W. and Keele St.
"He had on headphones with a boom mic to record the sounds of passing trains," said Sgt. Tim Burrows.
The conductor spotted the man and tried to stop the train, but the left front-end hit him as it came to a halt. The man was conscious and breathing when he was taken to St. Michael's Hospital with serious but non-life-threatening facial injuries and a fractured arm.
It is unclear why the man was so close to the tracks or why he did not move, police said. They are trying to figure out if he couldn't hear the train because he was listening to a previous recording or if he was trying to record the sound of the approaching train. Police say the man was working with friends, none of whom had permission from CP Rail to be on the property.
During the rescue, firefighters had to use bolt cutters to enter the area, which was surrounded by a chain-link fence, metal sheeting and three-metre high walls.
Burrows said an incident like this is a harsh reminder about why there are laws in place when it comes to trespassing near railways.
"Nobody is supposed to be there except for the train or maintenance crew," he said.
The case is being treated as an accident. Police say it is too soon to say whether charges will be laid.

Pedal-pushers a problem

Joe Warmington - Toronto Sun
Last Updated: 6th May 2009, 6:07am

Considering there were two elderly women in his way, the guy on the bike was pretty skilled to avoid hitting them.
Two centimetres here, four there, and who knows, maybe you need an ambulance.
Imagine the nerve of those women walking on the sidewalk like that -- you know blocking this young guy on his bike from getting to the next section of Queen St. W. where a woman with a stroller had to veer out of his way.
Darn pedestrians!
Did they not get the memo from City Hall? You know the one -- "Yield to those on bike because they are king." Truth is, this gutless weasel on this bike, one of dozens like him I witnessed yesterday, is actually breaking the rules.
Toronto Police Traffic Service Sgt. Tim Burrows was telling me adults are not permitted to ride their bicycles on city sidewalks under any circumstances, or ride on pedestrian crosswalks to hedge their bets to get through traffic intersections faster.
They don't seem to be listening. It happens everywhere.
Now for sure, there are some skilled and law-abiding cyclists but there are some huffy and puffy ones, too -- cursing drivers but breaking every darned rule of the road that exists.
"They think they are above the law," says security officer George Vavoulis, who sees it all the time. "I can tell you, people on bikes do more violations of the traffic laws than anybody else."
In five hours in different locations yesterday, I saw plenty to back that up.
Many don't wear helmets or abide by stoplights or signs, don't wait their turn in traffic and instead fly up the right or left of it. Many are hazards to themselves and everybody else, which is not really fair since they don't pay for licensing or insurance or the tax charged for every fuel fill-up that maintains the roads.
But as bad as some of these cyclists are, there is nothing lower than riding on a sidewalk.
It looked to me the only thing that would have made this one cyclist on Queen happier is if he actually knocked somebody down. He came close. Wonder what the fine would be for that? There is a fine for riding a bike on a city sidewalk. Burrows says it's a municipal bylaw offence, which is $85 downtown but just $3.75 in East York and North York.
Yeah, that ought to act as a deterrent. Don't see many of those handed out, but Burrows says it does happen.
Instead of nailing those parked illegally, perhaps the parking assassins should be put in charge of keeping these bikes off sidewalks. They could have handed out hundreds yesterday instead of collecting on the easier game of nailing parkers.
Right after Car-Free Day in Toronto this September I wish they would then have a Bike- Free Day -- just as a reminder to these cyclists that using our roads is a privilege. Of course, we know with this bikes-are-good and cars-are-bad council, they want it to be the other way around.
It's mind-boggling because there is nothing more dangerous on the road than bikes. When there is a crash -- as I witnessed on King St. W. last night where a woman fell off and hit the pavement thanks to the street car tracks, it's not always their fault. But they come out of it with the most damage.
It might not be popular to say, but by original design, bikes really don't belong on the road at all with streetcars, trucks, cars and motorcycles -- for the same safety reasons that ball hockey is outlawed on city streets, too.
But a greening, more anti-car society has decided it should be a shared experience and is budgeting millions to add more bike paths to streets that are more in need of pothole repairs. At least with bike paths, they have a fighting chance and its certainly better for the people on the sidewalks.
Certainly if a socialist city council is trying to push bike riding as a legitimate form of commuting (as their transit plan indicated) and these bikes will share the roads with vehicles that are licensed and insured and safety inspected, the same should be asked of those on two wheels.
How else do you have the power to get a creep like the guy riding between the elderly ladies off the road -- I mean -- sidewalk?

~~Editor's Note~~
There are some great points in this article. Surely as there are cyclists who don't respect the laws of road use and choose to be very high on rights while very low on responsibilities, the same can be said about many of our motor vehicle road users.
Cars and trucks parked in bicycle lanes, drivers making turns without looking for cyclists and the dreaded person who opens a car door without doing a mirror and shoulder check first are hazards to everyone who shares in the safe and responsible use of our roads.
Cycling is a great mode of transportation, an answer to environmental concerns and is can be a key ingredient for a healthier lifestyle
To become a safer and more skilled rider enroll in a safety/skills course like Can Bike. Click here for more details.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Driving Basics 101 - Part V

Your vehicle is a balancing act

In the 1988 movie Rain Man, Dustin Hoffman’s character, Raymond Babbitt, declared. “I’m an excellent driver”. In Raymond’s mind, he might very well have been an excellent driver, but to the viewers and anyone who was in a car with him…different perspective.

The same holds true in real life as well. Many people who think they are excellent drivers scare the life out of us! Other drivers complain about the actions of others but never notice their own short falls.

So what makes a truly excellent driver? First, adherence to the law with an acute awareness of what is happening around them, and secondly…the ability to be smooth.

A smooth driver has control of their vehicle and gives their passengers a sense of comfort. They use proper applications of their inputs; steering, brake and accelerator, while they adjust those inputs appropriately and timely to the actions of others.

So, how can we be a smooth driver?

You can start with everything that we have talked about in Parts I through IV. This whole series has been designed to be a ‘building block’ approach to driving. Each part in this series forms a strong foundation of skills, knowledge and ability. If there is any missing part, the entire structure is compromised.

Steering Inputs
Proper steering begins with your eyes, continues with how you hold the wheel and finishes with how you move the wheel.
Looking where you want to and being aware of your surroundings will tell you when and how much steering input is required. By having your hands at the nine and three o’clock ( 9 and 3) positions you can turn the wheel in a smooth manner. Often you don’t even have to take your hands off the wheel to make the vast majority of movements you need to manoeuvre through traffic. By using the 9 and 3 position you can turn the wheel 180 degrees without ever losing touch with the wheel while you maintain proper control of your steering and vehicle. One hand steering is neither safe nor proficient.
Just prior to turning, your eyes should be looking where you want the vehicle to go…not where you are.
Tip to remember > Look and steer where you want to go.

All brake applications should be done with consistent and progressive application. You use the amount of braking needed for each situation, but the key here again is your eyes. By knowing what is happening around you in all directions you are prepared for the need to slow down or stop. When you approach a stop sign, begin gently slowing the car before you think you need to and as you get closer you will be able to ease up on the pedal. You will finally stop without the feeling of a jerk or bounce when all momentum ceases.
Don’t “drive” to stop lights or to the vehicle in front of you. Coast, slow down and leave space which can translate into eliminating complete stops in heavy traffic, (bumper to bumper), situations.
All braking should be done in straight lines when the road design permits it.

Again, progressive and consistent application is key. There is no purpose served by having a heavy foot when accelerating. It is uncomfortable to your passengers, causes increased fuel consumption and can lead to premature tire wear.
You can only accelerate as fast as you are able to react to changing conditions in the road and traffic allows. If you haven’t determined a clear picture of what is happening around you, how can you react to the changes? Hey, there’s another mention of your eyes…are you seeing a trend here?
All acceleration should be done in straight lines when the road design permits it.

Combining Your Inputs
To be able to manoeuvre there will be times when some combination of these inputs is required. But having said that, if you use too much of any one input in combination with another you are asking for trouble. For example in the most extreme situations, if you applied one hundred percent braking (prior to the invention of ABS) you had no ability to steer. Likewise, if you spin your tires aggressively with your accelerator you have no real steering control.
There is a balance between all inputs that needs to be managed to become a smooth driver.
If you accelerate through a right turn your body will feel force acting on it to the left. Your passengers will also feel it…not smooth. But, if you adjust your speed properly, either by slowing or accelerating before the turn, maintain that speed and turn properly, you will feel little force…smooth.
All your inputs have the potential to use one hundred percent of their capabilities, but in combination they need to share that one hundred percent. When you over use any one amount of input you will sacrifice the availability of any of the other two inputs.

When you properly use your vehicle inputs you can make yourself a smooth driver. When you partner that with the discussion in the first four parts of this series you will be better prepared to be a smooth and safe driver. The last point to make with this is the added benefit that can be realized by being a smooth driver. You will save money by using less fuel, extend the life of your tires, transmission, steering components, suspension and brakes. You will also be kinder to the environment!

Next week - Part VI - Do you see what I see

Part I
Part II
Part III
Part IV

April 26 to May 3 Poll Results

In a non-scientific poll posted on this site, you were asked...
The provincial seatbelt campaign finishes April 26th. Since the campaign commenced are you:
Wearing seatbelt more - 2%
Still not wearing seatbelt - 0%
More aware of child seat restraint issues - 1%
Still confused on the laws of occupant restraints - 1%
Have always worn my seatblet -95%
(if you are looking for the other one percent, refer to the top...'non-scientific'.)

Wow...the provincial average is 93% compliance. You have a 95% comliance rate and the behaviour of two percent of our readers changed in a positive way!!! That is excellent news.
For the one percent that are still confused, click here.

This weeks question:
The new "Warn Range" suspensions are now a reality on our roads. The Toronto Police want you to know our stand is, "If you drink, don't drive". How will the new rules affect your behaviour?
(Vote on the right side of this blog.)

Toronto's plan to restrict right turns has drivers seeing red

From Tuesday's Globe and Mail
May 5, 2009 at 3:27 AM EDT

As part of a plan that aims to make the city's streets safer for pedestrians, Toronto traffic officials are planning to experiment with banning right turns on red lights at 10 intersections next year.
A plank in Toronto's Walking Strategy, on the agenda today at City Hall's works committee, calls for a pilot project at 10 to-be-chosen intersections, likely in pedestrian-heavy downtown areas.

However, the chairman of the works committee, Glenn De Baeremaeker, says he has no plan to turn Toronto into Montreal, where a ban on right turns on reds is as much a part of that city's distinct urban identity as smoked meat and poutine.
But he said at intersections with high foot traffic, banning right turns on red lights could reduce the number of pedestrians who get hit and make Toronto an easier place to walk around.
An example of the signage used at intersections where no right turn on a red light is permitted, this one at Reese Street and Lake Shore Boulevard. (Peter Power/The Globe and Mail)
"The downtown is transforming. At many intersections, you have more people, and cyclists and people on transit than you have cars," Mr. De Baeremaeker said. "But the intersections were designed 50 years ago for cars, and seeing pedestrians and everybody else as an afterthought."
One right-leaning critic of Mayor David Miller said the idea of right-on-red bans could spread across the city, increasing congestion and frustrating drivers.
"I know how these things work. They start with a few and they keep expanding it. ... I think this council is anti-car, there's no doubt about it," said Case Ootes (Ward 29, Toronto-Danforth), although he added that it could make sense for particular busy intersections.
The idea is not new to Toronto, as any driver knows. The city already has 98 places - and not just in the downtown - where motorists and cyclists are not allowed to turn right on red lights, in some cases during particular times of the day. Toronto has more than 1,800 intersections with traffic signals.
According to a city study, drivers turning right struck 422 pedestrians trying to cross a Toronto intersection with the right-of-way in 2002 and 2003 combined, accounting for about 9 per cent of all pedestrians hit.
The experiment with banning rights on reds for the sake of pedestrians would follow the highly visible launch of Yonge and Dundas as the city's first "scramble" intersection last summer to allow the area's floods of pedestrians to cross diagonally. The city's official policy is to make its streets more inviting for pedestrians and cyclists.
Montreal, famous for its drivers' laissez-faire attitude, opted out of Quebec's move seven years ago to drop a long-time ban on right turns on red lights, in the interest of pedestrian safety. Pilot projects in other Quebec municipalities suggested there would be little safety impact.
Montreal - along with New York City - is one of very few jurisdictions in the United States and Canada where right turns on red lights are banned unless signs indicate otherwise. Mexican cities have similar bans.
Most U.S. states that had blanket bans loosened their rules more than 30 years ago. Most European Union countries ban right turns on reds unless a sign grants special permission.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Road closures this morning

Spring maintenance will close the eastbound lanes of the Gardiner Expressway from the Lake Shore Blvd. exit to Carlaw Ave. until 11 a.m. today.

The Sporting Life 10K run will also close streets downtown this morning. It begins on Yonge St. near Lawrence Ave. and moves southwest on Yonge, Richmond St., Peter St., Front St., Bathurst St., and Fort York Blvd.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Impaired Driving

Fact Sheets
Drinking and Driving Trends
Blood Alcohol Concentration
Roadside Licence Suspensions

Fact Sheet: Drinking and Driving Trends
Drinking and driving continues to be one of Ontario’s most significant road safety issues. During the past decade, more than 2,000 lives have been lost and more than 50,000 people have sustained injuries in collisions involving a drinking driver.

Drinking and driving hurts everyone - through deaths, injuries and personal tragedies. It also hurts our economy through added costs for health care, emergency response and property damage. The financial cost to society of drinking and driving is estimated to be at least $3 billion annually.

While Ontario has come a long way, impaired driving remains a serious problem:
Every year, about 17,000 drivers are convicted of Criminal Code of Canada offences (including impaired driving, driving with a blood alcohol concentration of more than 0.08, criminal negligence causing bodily harm or death, manslaughter, dangerous driving and failure to remain at the scene of a collision). It is estimated that approximately three quarters of those convictions are related to drinking and driving.

Impaired drivers are involved in thousands of traffic collisions every year.
Drunk driving accounts for almost 25% of all fatalities on Ontario’s roads.
About 17,000 impaired driving incidents were reported by police in Ontario in 2005. In the same year, 174 people were killed and 3,852 were injured in motor vehicle collisions involving a drinking driver.

Fact Sheet: Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC)
The amount of alcohol in a person’s body is measured by the amount of the alcohol in blood. This is called the blood alcohol concentration, or BAC.

For the purposes of law enforcement, BAC is used to define intoxication and provides a measure of impairment. In Ontario and the rest of Canada, the maximum legal BAC for fully licensed drivers is 80 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood (0.08). Driving with BAC in excess of 0.08 is a criminal offence.

BAC levels are affected by many factors, including:
How fast you drink. Alcohol consumed quickly will result in a higher BAC than when consumed over a long period of time.
Gender. Women generally have less water and more body fat per pound of body weight than men. Alcohol does not go into fat cells as easily as other cells, so more alcohol remains in the blood of women.
Body weight. The more you weigh, the more water is present in your body. This water dilutes the alcohol and lowers the BAC.
Amount of food in your stomach. Absorption is slowed if you’ve had something to eat.

With a BAC of 0.05, an individual’s vision may already be affected in terms of sensitivity to brightness, the ability to determine colours, and depth and motion perception. The brain’s ability to perform simple motor functions is diminished. This means that a driver’s reaction time will be slower and responses will be less accurate. The result is degraded driving performance and a significant increase in collision risk.

The increased collision risk of drivers with a BAC from 0.05 to 0.08 (also known as the "warn range") is well documented:
Drivers with a BAC above 0.05 but below the legal limit are 7.2 times more likely to be in a fatal collision than drivers with a zero BAC.

In 2005, 16.7% of drinking drivers killed in Ontario had a BAC less than 0.08.

How much can I drink before I reach the 0.05 BAC limit?

The number of drinks consumed is a poor measure of BAC because of the many factors affecting your body’s ability to digest alcohol, such as weight, body fat, and how long ago and how much you ate. Factors like tiredness and your mood can also make a difference in how alcohol affects your driving ability.

It is very difficult to assess your own BAC or impairment. Small amounts of alcohol affect one’s brain and the ability to drive.

If you plan on drinking, plan to not drive.

Fact Sheet: NEW Roadside Licence Suspensions
We're serious about removing dangerous drivers from our roads. Those who choose to drive after drinking endanger themselves and everyone else.

Roadside licence suspensions ensure that drinking drivers are taken off the road immediately and discourage individuals from re-offending.

As of May 1, 2009, if you’re caught driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) from 0.05 to 0.08 (known as the "warn range"), the police can immediately suspend your licence up to three days for a first occurrence, seven days for a second occurrence and 30 days for a third or subsequent occurrence.

Consequences for Driving with a 0.05 to 0.08 "Warn Range" Blood Alcohol Concentration

First Time
3-day licence suspension
$150 Administrative Monetary Penalty

Second Time (within 5 years)
7-day licence suspension
Mandatory alcohol education program
$150 Administrative Monetary Penalty

Third Time (within 5 years)
30-day licence suspension
Mandatory alcohol treatment program
Six-month ignition interlock licence condition
$150 Administrative Monetary Penalty

Subsequent infractions (within 5 years)
30-day licence suspension
Mandatory alcohol treatment program
Six-month ignition interlock licence condition
Mandatory medical evaluation
$150 Administrative Monetary Penalty

These roadside licence suspensions cannot be appealed. Suspensions will be recorded on the driver’s record. For up to five years, these roadside suspensions will be considered when determining consequences for subsequent infractions.

What happens if my licence is suspended?
You will be given a suspension notice by a police officer, indicating that the suspension of your licence takes effect immediately. The police officer will take your licence from you and send it back to the Ministry of Transportation (MTO).
You will not be able to drive home.

If you are with a sober passenger who is licensed and fit to drive, he or she may drive the vehicle. If it is a safe location, you can choose to leave the vehicle at the roadside, or the police will have the vehicle towed at the vehicle owner’s expense.

What happens after the suspension period expires?
A reinstatement notice will be mailed to you. If you do not have other disqualifications (for example, other suspensions, expired or cancelled licence), the reinstatement notice will include a Temporary Driver’s Licence (TDL). You may then go to a Driver and Vehicle Licence Issuing Office to pay the $150 administrative monetary penalty. A new plastic licence card will then be mailed to you.

If you did not receive a reinstatement notice, you may obtain a TDL from a Driver and Vehicle Licence Issuing Office.

To find the Driver and Vehicle Licence Issuing Office nearest you, please visit the MTO website.

If your suspension ends on a day when the Driver and Vehicle Licence Issuing Offices are closed (for example, a statutory holiday) and you did not receive a TDL in the mail, you will need to wait until they re-open. You must have a valid driver’s licence to drive.

What does the Ignition Interlock condition mean?
If you receive a 30-day licence suspension, you will also automatically have an ignition interlock condition placed on your licence for six months. This means that you must not drive any vehicle that does not have an ignition interlock device installed. Drivers who choose not to install an ignition interlock device must not drive until the condition is removed from their licence. For more information, see the ignition interlock program on the MTO website.

How will I get my licence reinstated after the six-month ignition interlock period?
Whether you choose to install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle or you choose not to drive during the ignition interlock period, the Ministry of Transportation will automatically mail you a reinstated licence that will be valid when the ignition interlock licence condition expires.

For more information, see the ignition interlock program on the MTO website.
Find out more.

Please go to

~~Editors Note~~
This information is taken directly from the Ministry of Transportation website.

The Toronto Police Service remains committed to making Toronto's streets as safe as they can be. The message has not changed; "If you drink, don't drive. "
If you see someone who is impaired call 911 - an impaired driver is a serious danger to everyone's safety.

Woman dead in crash

May 01, 2009 02:50 PM
Thandiwe Vela Staff Reporter - The Star

A 91-year-old woman has died in hospital after being pulled from the wreckage of a five-vehicle collision with no vital signs this afternoon.
Emergency crews were called to the crash at St. Clair Ave. W. and Avenue Rd., just after 12:30 p.m.
The vehicle the victim was in was eastbound on St. Clair Ave. W. when it sideswiped a parked car, Toronto police traffic services Sgt. Tim Burrows said. It has not yet been determined what caused the driver to initially lose control but the sideswipe sent the vehicle into the back of a second parked car, triggering a chain-reaction collision involving five vehicles, Burrows said.
All four people in the vehicle were taken to hospital, and the 91-year-old victim rushed to Sunnybrook. The extent of injuries for the other three occupants has not been confirmed.
No other injuries were reported.
Traffic officers are at the scene and family has been notified, though police have not been given permission to release the name of the deceased.
Eastbound St. Clair Ave. is closed east of Avenue Rd. while police investigate, though streetcar traffic is getting through.

Tougher Ontario drunk-driving laws kick off today

The Canadian Press
May 1, 2009 at 4:48 AM EDT
TORONTO — Ontario's tough new impaired driving laws take effect today.
As of May 1, a driver caught with a blood alcohol level from 0.05 to 0.08 - known as the "warn range" - will have their licence suspended for three days.
Drivers caught with a similar level of booze in their system a second time, will have their licence suspended for seven days and be required to attend an alcohol education program.
Drivers caught a third time will have their licence suspended for 30 days, have to complete a remedial alcohol treatment program and, for six months, be allowed to drive only vehicles that have an ignition interlock device installed. Ignition interlock devices require a driver to supply a breath sample before the car will start.
The roadside licence suspensions cannot be appealed and will be recorded on the driver's record.
The suspensions will be considered when determining consequences for subsequent infractions for up to five years.
Previously, drivers received a 12-hour licence suspension for recording a blood alcohol level from 0.05 to 0.08, no matter how many times they were caught.
Another Ontario law that would impose a zero blood-alcohol limit on all drivers 21 and under isn't expected to come into effect until the summer of 2010.