Transportation - Cycling

Toronto’s discriminatory attitude against cycling

June 2006

During the 3rd World Urban Forum in Vancouver, June 19-23, 2006, the Mayor of Bogota, Colombia, talked of what could be done with real (political) will to meet some of the challenges of making cities sustainable. Realizing that expansion of road network in the city is unwarranted, funds were allocated to implementing “car-free” districts. As a result, Bogota presently has 300km of cycling lanes/paths that surpasses any other city in the world.

Toronto has 64 km…

Why? Because we have more political rhetoric than action. The Mayor’s hype with no answers to offer other than agreeing on what is needed, has not been translated into implementation of cycling lanes network. The city’s projected image of Toronto’s cycling projects, is just that, an image with a very limited substance.

Additionally, councillors’ discriminatory attitude against cycling, whose adverse reaction is based on the preconceived notion that the automobile is the pivotal mode of transportation, progress for a bicycling infrastructure has been impeded by every possible method. A political mental set parked on antiquated thinking that bicycles disrupt traffic, conveniently disregard the fact that the bicycle is a vehicle and therefore a legitimate component of traffic. Recently, Councillor Case Ootes concocted new obstacles in wasteful Council Committee discussions, May 30, 2006, on the traffic impacts of bicycle lane on Cosburn Avenue; the “impact” of 25-58 seconds! of slower driving during peak hours.

Furthermore, total reliance on individual preferences of local communities has brought about a fragmented and conflicted project. Thus the broken and unconnected bike lanes to facilitate mobility and connectivity. Community input should be considered on balance to the benefit of the whole city. Not acting upon an initiative on account of local differences, has served as a cop-out in a lack of political leadership that has created social and safety problems for cyclists.

The Solution?

  • The formation of a Bicyclists’ Union.
  • A group devoted to cyclists’ rights to lobby the government assertively and decisively.
  • A union whose mandate is to pressure the government and make progress to the standstill cycling infrastructure.
  • To organize and form a movement as an issue of civil rights on safety, accommodation, and choice of mobility.
  • To monitor and observe compliance with safety issues in land use space for cycling as a mode of transportation.

(Not to rely on the Toronto Cycling Committee to advance cyclists’ interests or to impel council to implement safe and extensive cycling infrastructure. The TCC is part and parcel of the government, echoing the Council, rarely moving beyond the reporting stage.)