Anti-bike campaign promises from the obese mayor-elect

Our car-loving new mayor has gotten noticed south of the border by the venerable bike blogger BikeSnobNYC:

Speaking of elections, a number of people have informed me that this bloated saddlebag was recently elected the mayor of Toronto:

Sadly, all I can do is offer the people of Toronto my condolences. I was particularly confused by his self-defeating argument that people shouldn't ride bikes because "roads are built for buses, cars, and trucks, not for people on bikes," since if anything it means that the roads need to be upgraded. That's like saying people shouldn't use computers because "our communication infrastructure was built for letters and telegraphs, and not for the Internet." Of course, he does have a sensitive side:

My heart bleeds for ‘em when I hear someone gets killed, but it’s their own fault at the end of the day.

His heart may be bleeding, but I suspect it's due not to the dead cyclists but to his corpulence, and that it has ruptured from the strain of pushing blood through his fat-clogged arteries. Unfortunately for him, "artificial hearts are built for health-minded people with congenital heart defects, not for people who eat all their meals at Tim Hortons."

It's really hard to stay away from the fat insults. Unlike other overweight people such as Rita McNeil or John Candy, Rob Ford has made a career of insulting any group that doesn't fit into his sedentary lifestyle. I could perhaps instead refer to Rob Ford as our Mayor Pink-faced Half-Wit (props to Jonathan Goldsbie) instead of Mayor Fat Fuck, since the latter is demeaning to all people who happen to love food more than life.

But I still think there's some value in bring up Ford's obesity, since he's made it a campaign plank to make it extremely hard for people to get an active lifestyle. He's promised to license cyclists; enforce helmet-wearing; ban marathons from our streets; and has made it okay to assume that every injured or dead cyclist got that way because they had decided to swim with sharks.

In a time when obesity and diabetes are becoming endemic because of our sedentary lifestyle, shouldn't it be fair game to target an obese mayor for promoting bad lifestyles and dirty air for our children? Mayor Ford, you're hurting our children.

Since we're on the topic of the campaign planks of Mayor-elect Ford - and his Dick Cheney brother, Doug Ford, I've received a compiled list (pdf). Notice that the licensing of bikes (or is it cyclists?) and mandatory bike helmets is still on the table for these right-wingers. It's a little bit ironic that these "no more fees", limited government folks want to regulate and tax cyclists further than the general public, particularly while they want to eliminate any fees that car drivers pay. Doesn't seem all that fair, but I'm sure they have a perfectly good excuse. And it is probably quite similar to their argument against streetcars - "They get in the way of my Hummer." (The City has already studied the issue of licensing four times before and rejected it every time!)

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Rob Ford Campaign Platform Oct2010.pdf154.55 KB

Comments

There's an anti-bike essay in today's Globe & Mail, in case anyone's looking for more reasons to get incensed.

Thanks to Herb for ringing the irony bell on right-wingers demanding more bureaucracy for bicyclists'. I'd listen eagerly to a person who opposes gun registration but proposes bike registration, just to hear the music of cognitive dissonance at work.

Why is it at all relevant that Ford is overweight? I know people who are super fit AND anti-bike as well as the opposite. Its a cheap shot. Its unnecessary. He provides so many valid policies and opinions etc as targets, that I'm surprised people even bother noting his weight. If you were making similar comments about his race or his sexuality, it would be considered unacceptable, but his weight is fair game?

I live in Toronto.
I Don't Drive
I Cycle 25KM per day to work and back.
I Voted for Ford.

Do I think that Ford will totally screw up with some things? Yup, Its a sure thing.
Do I think that any other politician would screw up the City. Even more sure of that.

The thing is, I truely believe Ford Will fix more things then he screws up. As for George "Slitherman" and Joey "Pants". They are more of the same old thing we've seen at Silly Hall for the past few decades... And you know what they say, only the insane would keep doing the same thing and expect a different outcome.

As for Bike lanes. Don't really care about them right now. The City is in such a mess that I am willing to forego them in favour of what we need to get fixed first. We need to prioritise, Which would you rather have, reliable running water or a bike lane?

Once we are Fiscally in order then I say lets get on him for bike road space & infrastructure. If the City is broke then you would get nothing and I honestly think the others would take us down that road (Except for Kevin Clarke, I have no Idea what road he's on).

As for the guys Weight... Get over it. Its about as much of an issue as "Slitherman" being married to a man (Which BTW I didn't figure out till the day before the election). I'm more pissed that "Slitherman" thinks losing $1B is a non issue.

I also think that the Rob Ford win sent a message. Voters are not happy. The Premier Dad better watch out. We are looking at him and he is next if he doesn't smarten up.

So the justification for making an issue of Ford's girth is that it is acceptable to sink to the level of a dumb shit politician? The same who's campaign team according to the Torontoist that called HIMySYeD 'Paco'? Really?

Get ready. You are being baited. Other politicians have had their physical attributes made fun of. That has proven to work really well...not. Think Chretien.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1993_Chrétien_attack_ad

The fat attacks do nothing but get Ford more sympathy. The first bit of trouble he gets in he is going to point to the fat attacks and pull out a doctor's note. The note will say he has a bad thyroid hence his girth. So whatever sin he is in trouble for will be quickly forgotten.

The Phat Phuck's excessive weight shouldn't be an issue. Frankly don't care if he keels over from a major coronary tomorrow. Its his well documented and utter lack of ability to work with others at that we should be concerned about.

He's a simplistic one issue guy who has minimal grasp of issues beyond what gets spent on retirement dinners and catered lunches (its probably less than 0.001 percent of the annual budget). Not exactly a brain trust candidate and certainly not the articulate spokesperson the city needs representing our interests provincially or nationally.

I read his essay in the globe and mail, what a bunch of self important trash. Nothing but blaming the victim and transference.

"Wah wah wah, i KEEP RUNNING PEOPLE OVER AND IT IS MAKING ME PARANOID!!"

That limp noodle needs a real lesson in what it's like to traumatized while on the road. Try facing a soaring wall of dehumanizing treatment and physical abuse at the hands of drivers. F U Scott latimer! You pasty backwater town knowitall. GET A GRIP - TRY RIDING A BICYCLE.

Thomas owain, thanks for pointing out such a cowardly piece of work.

We must be really appreciative of all the outside help and condolences that we can collect - and try to link it up to a continuation of getting the Fossil of the Year Award at Copenhagen and more recently the Dodo award at a biodiversity convention.

Props herb. Justly put.

This is my own perception of Rob Ford's vision for cycling in Toronto.

Perhaps our new Mayor will prove me wrong, but I'm more ready to believe that he wants little in the way of Cycling Infrastruce, and will go out out of his way to gratify the drivers from the Burbs that elected him.

I think RF's hoping we will all forget his fateful words that 'roads are for cars are trucks' and 'in the end its their own fault', and be satisfied with the biking status quo, possibly plus a few nice bike ravine trails. If it weren't for these words, I would dismiss him as any other suburbuan conservative bumbler, but because of them, I wickedly despise and abhor him. And I will never forget.

Seems like there's more opposition to poking fun of Ford's obesity rather than his intelligence. So winning term of endearment is "Pink-faced Half-wit"!

A couple comments:

  • Poking fun of Chretien didn't work for the Tories. I'm not running for office.
  • All of our girths is the issue, and Ford seems to have no interest in seeing how it may be an epidemic or a major health cost.

and I don't think Rob Ford has any chance of reaching out to the cycling community, he practically burned every bridge before he was elected. Many cyclists out there were already on the edge about politicians and lack of support. Sometimes it is easier to just get up and leave, particularly when your mayor is all mouth.

Chretien had facial paralysis. His condition wasn't caused by eating too many french fries.

Seriously, if Ford can't even manage his own health, how can he be trusted to manage municipal affairs...?

I say the man's girth is fair game. After all, how much money is city hall wasting on electricity to power the elevators that carry this bariatric??!! The gravy train must end!!! Literally! No more gravy!

Herb, I never did any name calling. I never called you a politician.

Ford is intelligent enough to read the electorate and get himself elected. No one else that was running saw it coming nor could they manage to stop him. By all accounts he used tools that have been available since Obama's election.

As for his policies, behaviour and statements. They come from the gutter and speak to his ideology, a very flawed ideology, rather than his intelligence.

Obese people the size of Ford have a tendency to have some medical condition, either a disease or something inherited, that causes their obesity. No one has presented any facts to either dispute or prove that Ford has a medical condition. It could also be that he overeats and is lazy. If he does have some medical issue he could ride an Exercycle all day and night and not lose a single pound.

Rita MacNeil has made it very clear about how painful her struggles have been with weight and the ridicule she has had to endure.

There is now less than four years till the next election. If the best anyone can do is call him FATSO get used to him being around until he decides he wants to retire.

Hey Guys, and Herb,

You're losing my support for the bike lobby / advocacy movement. Fast.

If the "voice of Toronto cyclists" is stooping to the point of namecalling and backward-looking grudge-holding, I'm out.

Herb, for heaven's sake, you're a cycling instructor, why would you deride and criticise a potential student and citizen who clearly misunderstands - this is a teaching opportunity if ever there was one. And heck, if Ford represents the electorate and their opinions, shouldn't cyclists everywhere undertake to win over these folks and be ambassadors of our sport (and mode of transport), rather than hurl epithets and insults?

When is the cycling lobby going to understand that our politicians, and Staff, and the general public, need information, enlightenment, and support, not criticism and derision!??!

And by the way, I believe bikes and cyclists should be licensed, just like every other vehicle and operator in Ontario. Bikes are vehicles, cyclists are drivers. Boy, if Ford could convince the Ministry Of Transport to initiate that policy, I'd vote for him.

I'll be out in traffic behaving like a responsible road user operating my vehicle in a safe and respectfully law-abiding manner. Please join me if you will.

Brian

I have to agree that people shouldn't criticize Ford for his girthiness - it's wrong.

Instead we should stick to the facts:
- arrested for impaired driving, and possession of marijuana
- arrested and charged by the Police after a domestic dispute at his home
- verbally assaults a family sitting behind him at the Air Canada Centre during a Leafs game, when accused denied it, then admitted it
- was asked to stop coaching Football at a Toronto high school after an altercation with a player
- disrupted City Council on numerous occasions
- slandered the Mayor and other Councillors and resorting to name calling
- made inappropriate racial remarks
- and....stated that when cyclists die it's their own fault.

Being accused of being fat would be getting off easy. Let's just say he's a foul mouthed, ill tempered, abusive bully who by his own admission "could lose about 50 pounds"

Care to share why Bikes should be licensed in Toronto and not anywhere else in the world?

hi! actually i m doing research on bike sharing system like bixi,so could you please send me that anti bike eassy.thanx

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/facts-and-arguments/im... - I'm afraid of Cyclists, by Scott Latimer

While it's certainly flattering that Brian thinks that I have such power in the Cycling Lobby, and that he'd quit the whole shebang over one blog post, I don't really think I have such sway. And given Brian's predilection for licensing, I'm glad that he doesn't either.

In retrospect, I could have emphasized more the attachment to this post, how it outlines all of Ford's "policies" (if you can call most of them that). There's a lot to be afraid of: his lack of intellect, propensity to anger, xenophobia, violent attacks. But Ford didn't do this alone: he had a team of right-wingers and backers that chose him for riding a populist wave back into City Hall. There's little point in trying the "education approach" as if it was just a confused Rob Ford.

Even scarier are their confused "Tea Party"-like populisms that pretend that we can marginalize cyclists, pedestrians, transit users and still have a functioning city; or that pretend that somehow he can cut taxes (heck, why not get rid of taxes altogether!), cut "waste" of billions of dollars, and somehow not touch "services" at all. Equally scary is their "cyclist is always at fault" approach teamed up with their "keep the roads clear of all transit, cyclists and pedestrians" (and a cyclist licensing scheme would certainly help with this latter goal).

My small consolation is that though Ford's gang may make a mess of things, they will also likely fail miserably at their key promises and receive a backlash. They may end up cutting the City budget but will utterly screw up services; they will soon find out that their subway scheme is utterly misguided: can't be done such a short-time line, will cost a lot more money, and will be operationally expensive.

If the Ford gang had just been upfront - like the British Tories - that they would have to make deep cuts to balance the budget and this would require deep cuts in services, then maybe, just maybe, they could have avoided a future backlash.

I copied this from someone else but I agree with what it says. I would also like to ask Brian what he would do with minors. At what age would you allow a bike licence? 16? Who would decide on who gets the licence? What is to stop me from setting up David's cycling licence Inc. and declaring people are trained? Or would they have to go through the DMV? It would be a bureaucratic nightmare to set up and run. Regardless, read on.

Since our rules of the road are based on the admiralty's rules of navigation, let's compare our roads to our waterways. Motor boaters are required to have proof of competency. Operators of larger vessels, being Captains of ships, have more training than most, while ferry Captains are held to a higher standard still.

Motorists , too, are required to have proof of competency: that is have a driver licence. Operators of large vehicles, ie trucks, have more training than the rest of us, while bus drivers are held to a high standard by the bus lines they work for.

In comparison to miles travelled or hours logged, Captains, truck drivers and Bus Drivers have a lower collision rate than just about everybody else. There's little doubt that the extra training that they received has something to do with this accomplishment.

But there's more to it. Captains and Bus/Truck drivers also have to pre-qualify. These people have show an aptitude, as well as the proper attitude, to be hired by those who own these large machines, and/or to obtain insurance for their vehicles. Almost all Captains start in an apprentice program before become officers and earning their rank as Captain, a process which usually takes years. Truck/Bus drivers are required to have several years of driving experience before taking the additional training to learn to operate large vehicles.

A person in a rowboat, canoe, or bicycle does need not have any training before they go out and use our public right-of-ways. Using a human powered machine is seen as a "right". The amount of damage that can be done to others, and to property, is miniscule in comparison to the amount of damage that can unleashed by a large, high powered vehicle. This is why cyclists and canoeists don't require vehicle registration or insurance, while motor vehicles and motor vessels, and their operators, require both.

Most of our waterways are nowhere near as busy as our roads. Our roads have complex laws and regulations which one should make themselves familiar with before taking to the roads. Expert riders have a lower crash/collision and injury/death rates than novice riders. Riding involves learning a complex skill set, similar to a plumber or electrician. The difference between a novice and an expert rider is about four years of daily riding, or about the same length of time as most apprenticeship programs. People who participate in a program such as CAN-BIKE can find that time between novice and expert reduced to as little as six months.

To my knowledge, there has been no follow-up studies of CAN-BIKE graduates to find out if their crash/collision rates or rates of injury/death are any lower than those who have not taken the program. Because the course is voluntary, it may be that the training is only part of the reason for any difference; the kind of people attracted to such a program (self pre-qualification) may also a factor.

Hi Pedaller,

Not just Toronto, all over the province.

One thing most ppl get wrong is that cyclists and all other road users fall under the jurisdiction of the Highway Traffic Act, a Provincial law. Every driver's license, and each vehicle's plates, validation stickers, and vehicle registration are Provincially mandated, not municipally. Every automobile, and most motorized vehicles, require these, except bicycles.

In my opinion, the best way to educate all road users about all road users is to make no exceptions, and to ensure that every road user has the same standard level of education, proof of competency, and certificate of mechanical roadworthyness for their vehicle. Effectively, it would change the perception that bicycles are toys, and cyclists are merely sportsters, which is the paradigm shift that needs to happen everywhere, not just Toronto.

However, I am easily decades ahead of my time, and my comments and opinion may seem like sheer lunacy at this moment, because most ppl can't be bothered to look far enough back (motoring used to be a pastime for the wealthy elite, and most ordinary folks rode bikes or walked) or see far enough ahead (we're running out of oil) to get what needs to be done.

We should be lobbying Kathleen Wynne and the Ministry of Transportation, not City Hall.

Brian

David,

With regards to your questions, most of what you inquire about is already happening. WE already have a graduated licensing program in Ontario. It is operated by the Ministry of Transportation (Department of Motor Vehicles is American). one must be 16 years old to be eligible. The practical and written examinations are standardized, and administered by certified examiners. THEY are the ones who decide who passes and who fails. Driver training schools already exist, most of them are private sector businesses like the scheme you propose, and they teach the extensive skills and impart the knowledge that road users require. Driver instructors and businesses are licensed by the MTO, and must follow a specific curriculum. CAN-BIKE could be used within the same framework, as it is simply a curriculum; licensing for bicycle operators would work the same as licensing for automobile operators. In fact, it would pre-qualify student drivers. However, CAN-BIKE is currently the property of a wallowing, administratively inept sport governing body who don't see any of the above as relevant to racing bicycles.

Furthermore, we should be teaching our kids how to ride bikes immediately after they learn to walk, i.e. in grade school. Our society seems to assume everyone can ride a bike, and therefore everyone can drive a car. I believe that assumption is incorrect, and fuelled by the marketing of the automotive business, and its fraternal twin, the insurance business, both supported by governments who finance infrastructure (and bailouts when demand sags) for these businesses to deliver their products. I find it incredible that kids are taught impractical competitive sports like hockey, soccer, and baseball, and yet are not taught how to be responsible road users and vehicle operators. If there's one goal every 16 year old aspires to achieve, it's getting a drivers license and the keys to the car.

Bicycle licensing, in my view, is about education and ensuring a safer future.

Brian

I agree with skinny b. Bikes use the road and they don't have to be licensed. How unfair! They should ABSOLUTELY have to be licensed too. I can't believe all the 7 year olds that drive around my neighborhood, getting in the way of me trying to get to work each morning. Infuriating! No way they should be allowed on the street. Most of those damn pedestrians downtown have no fucking clue about the rules of the road, either. I say license them or get them off my roads, too. Same thing with roller bladers, skateboards, and those god damned motorized wheel chair thingies too. Those even have motorized and I can DAMN well be sure that those pricks don't have a license to drive those! Morons!

Why would Ford need to convince the Ministry of Transportation?

The City of Toronto is already empowered to license bicyclists & set standards for conduct & equipment.

It is unlikely the Minister would give Ford any time on that subject as it is not her problem unless there is some conflict between Toronto bicycle laws and the OHTA.

at least as many cycling proponents in council as we had last council. Mayor Ford needs those votes to get any proposal regarding cycling through. If we respect the election results, including the election of Rob Ford; if we take him on in a principled manner, then I suggest we can win, at least in the sense of forestalling the worst Mayor Ford's allies propose.

I would like to know where anyone got the proposal from the Ford Campaign to license bicycles. I certainly didn't hear anything of that sort, and I paid serious attention to the campaign. In any case, the Ford team has made it clear they have no plans to implement the more fanciful of their proposals.

I think we need to have a serious conversation about how to approach the new faces at City Hall. If we write Rob Ford and all the people who voted for him off as idiots, I predict a long four years. I personally hope we can work with the new mayor and council, at least enough to preserve the cycling infrastructure we have now and to avoid any real disasters. I consider foreclosing that policy by declaring war on the city government before Mayor Ford has actually done anything impractical as a way to promote a rational cycling policy.

John G. Spragge
Mariner, cyclist, pilot

Before anyone proposes that we impose a rule like licensing cyclists, I'd like to draw attention to a prerequisite rule that needs to be satisfied first:

You need to support your request with factual information that connects directly to a derived value.

You may also want to explain to the Minister of Transportation why the MTO needs to look and this ridiculous notion a third time after rejecting it twice in recent years!

Bicycle licensing is not about education or a "safer future", it's about imposing massive barriers on cycling, and the creation of a manic bureaucracy.

Wow, great buzz on this topic.

I'd like to go off the deep end just for a moment.

In my opinion, there are way too many people in Toronto that don't take bicycling seriously. I feel there are way too many people that see cycling as a convenient way to evade social responsibility, and stay young to the point where they use cycling to flaunt authority and society without repercussions. These are exemplified in the riders that willfully disobey traffic signals, ride the wrong way up one way streets, and who ride on sidewalks. They are just not welcome on my streets. In that sense, i am all for imposing massive barriers on my beloved activity, just as massive barriers stand in the way of fools piloting sailboats, or nitwits flying aircraft. Not all people are able to do whatever they wish, and those that think they can should be tested before hurting someone else, or themselves, or fraying the social fabric with their abrasive, abusive behavior. That's where i believe in restricting certain people from cycling, and I'd be glad to point them out if you wanted to meet up with me sometime on the street. To that end, i'd gladly be the license police, because i know what a responsible rider looks and behaves like. Now, back to reality and business at hand...

Mr Spragge is right, we need to engage City Hall and Mayor Ford's team in meaningful, collaborative ways. The cycling community needs to unite, more than ever, to share our views, experiences, and expertise, with the authorities and decisionmakers. Having worked for a councillor previously, I can tell you people calling up in a businesslike, professional manner to arrange meetings and discuss matters fared much better than braying jackasses on the fringe who bitched, moaned, and wasted his time with invective-laced voicemails and email. For heaven's sake people, work with our politicians, don't assume they are almighty and capable of executing your every wish and command! Like Ward 21 did, sit down with your local councillor and fellow cyclists, and come up with ideas and solutions rather than demanding attention, remedies, and infrastructure carte blanche. It just dosn't work.

The MTO is more than willing to look at licensing cyclists, if only there were a professional, businesslike approach made to them. At the moment, as many posters have pointed out, there's no point in attempting to legislate cyclists, because we're such a bunch of disorganized yahoos, we don't matter. but the fact is, everyone wants to be recognized, everyone wants to be accepted and loved, and factually, everyone has some fear inside that they'll fail the test when their turn comes. Our society, unfortunatly, depends on outside judgement, not inner discernment. We need authorites to make changes for us, because as a collective, we don't have the courage or self-worth perception to make the change ourselves. Thus bikes remain toys, and the majority of ppl believe that bikes and cyclists don't matter much. This is the perception system that has to change, and soon.

Brian

I agree with John. At the Council level it hasn't changed much. Same number of right vs. left wing Councillors. There are people who are interested in our cause.

What has changed is a major shift away from the old downtown. Mayor Miller's power base were the councillors in the downtown wards (eg. Joe Pantalone). Mayor Ford's power base in the areas brought into amalgammation, especially Etobicoke. A different approach is required.

All of these councillors talk about commuting time being a major concern to them. I believe our best bet is to stress we are commuters too. Recreational cycling and doing it for exercise won't register. If you want exercise go to the gym. Keep stressing bikes and bike lanes are a cheap way to move commuters. It is a partial solution to our traffic woes.

This approach makes it not a left or right wing approach but a commuter approach. It is quickly understood and is a major concern to our Mayor elect and his allies on Council.

Like it or not, Rob Ford will be the Mayor for the next four years. We can continue to make jokes like Carberia or about his weight or we can find ways to find common ground. Rob Fod knows there are too many cars on the road. He knows the TTC and GO parking lots are overfilled every morning. It is his job to fix it and he takes it seriously. Lets offer him some practical solutions.

I have made clear in many other postings, I reject the notion of licensing cyclists absolutely. I do not care what the "authorities" think of me, and I distrust absolutely the impulse to want their approval. Since Herb has already opened a topic on bicycle licensing, I will make most of my comments regarding a proposal to license cyclists there.

John G. Spragge
Mariner, cyclist, pilot

I am glad that Brian doesn't represent Toronto cyclists. What bizarre logic: "there's no point in attempting to legislate cyclists, because we're such a bunch of disorganized yahoos, we don't matter." Wow, I can't wait to get organized so I can get legislated! From this thinking we cycle to get licensed and we are licensed because we cycle. A nice bit of circular, pointless logic.

I don't believe the Cycling Lobby will ever buy into your ideas, Brian. The bike union (the most prominent cycling advocacy organization in Toronto) will never take the position of supporting licensing or mandatory helmets mainly because those who put forward such proposals are not hoping to take cycling seriously, and because very few cyclists feel a strong need to fork over money for the privilege of riding a bike. The proponents just want to cleanse the streets of undesirable cyclists. Case in point as Brian said: "That's where i believe in restricting certain people from cycling..."

It's not my goal to try to clean the streets of undesirables. Those people will end up riding their bikes, or driving their old, beat-up cars even though their license has been suspended multiple times (see how useful the license is in enforcement!).

If "seriousness" is what you're after - and I envision a city that takes cycling seriously will cover it in bike lanes and paths - then perhaps you should look at the societies where they do take it seriously (such as Denmark, Netherlands, Japan), instead of to those that marginalize cyclists and use the licensing issue as a hammer by which to get rid of them.

Instead our politicians just need to take cyclists (and pedestrians) seriously simply because we are preventing our air from being a lot worse than what it currently is (and this coming from a non-cyclist):

We need to take care of cyclists, not because it’s right, although it is; we need to take care if only for the economics of the issue, which apparently is all the rage at City Hall these days.

I’m going to lowball some assumptions:

If the average cyclist on that short stretch of Queen St. rides four kilometres to and from home, that adds up to 2,000 kilometers of bike travel daily. That’s 10,000 kilometres a week. That’s 50,000 kilometres a month.

If you assume that cyclists ride for eight months a year, then the people who ride along Queen St. are putting in 400,000 kilometres a year on bikes.

Now be generous and assume that pretty good fuel efficiency is 10 kilometres per litre. That means the Queen St. cyclists are saving 40,000 litres of fuel, on one portion of one street in one part of town.

Good for the environment. Good for people with breathing problems. Good for the health care system, if you think fitness is a goal.

Saves us money.

All I’m saying is we ought to pay a little more attention to bike riders in this city because right now, there are far too many motorists on the gravy train.

When it comes to lobbying, the Toronto cycling lobby is still getting its legs. We haven't had much experience compared to other cities so it behooves us to look towards them for advice on tackling the new council. An interesting resource is the VACC advocacy handbook. VACC makes a very good point:

Focus on the swing vote (don’t waste your energy on those who won’t be convinced).

I am not convinced that the Cycling Lobby should be focusing its energies on the mayor-elect. We don't know what he knows, but history has shown that he has not been at all reasonable, nor has he been friendly at all to the needs of cyclists. Ford voted against every cycling project that has come before council. He has made some nasty quotes assuming that cyclists are at fault for every collision of which they are a part.

Trying to work with Ford directly will probably be just a huge exercise of rolling a rock up a hill. I would suggest the Cycling Lobby focus on the swing votes. We need to get 23 votes on council and we'd need to get some of the half-hearted supporters to be strong on key issues. The right wing also only needs 23 votes to do damage to active and public transportation.

I expect that my councillor, Ana Bailao, will be one of these swing votes, so it looks like the residents of ward 18 will have their work cut out. :)