TORONTO - If Olivia Chow had won the mayor’s race, one would expect her to ride around on a bike to make political statements.
Mayor David Miller was often on his because he was a bike guy who once said “transportation is not about cars ... it’s about moving people.”
Mayor Rob Ford was rarely photographed on two wheels, but Mayor John Tory is now suddenly one of those progressive bicycle mayors, too.
Wearing a lobby group, Cycle Toronto, T-shirt during a ride-your-bike-to-work photo op Monday, Tory said he will recommend to “double the investment being made in cycling infrastructure."
“The war on the car continues,” insisted Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti.
Commenting on the “one-year study” to put bike lanes on Bloor St., he called it “a war on the economy.”
While Tory rode one of those bailed-out by the taxpayer, failed Bixi bikes, Mammoliti predicted the city will lose “a million dollars a year in parking revenue” and will try to make it up with tickets.
With or without the fines, it’s already crazy enough driving downtown with all of the new bike lanes. Mass confusion. Danger.
“There is a network that we have to kind of put together over the years that has incomplete portions to it and I think we’ve got to fill in those gaps for people who want to cycle,” Tory told CP24 Monday. “We’re going to do that and I think that is going to move Toronto forward in terms of being a city of the 21st Century when it comes to transportation options.”
Did Chow and Miller help with that speech?
All of this was strangely coinciding with a Toronto Police “Right 2 Bike” blitz Monday, to nail car and delivery truck drivers from impeding a smooth commute for cyclists.
“The illegal parking of vehicles in bicycle lanes deprives cyclists of their personal safety and impedes the orderly flow of bicycle traffic throughout the city.”
No comment about what the bikes do to impede the flow of traffic for cars. The cars and trucks are the bad guys here. Police were handing out tickets from “$60 to $150.”
So when is the police crackdown coming on crazy behaviour by some cyclists?
They go through red lights at will, drive on sidewalks or through crosswalks whenever it’s convenient. Bike riders or their bikes are not licensed, insured or forced to wear helmets. Many are not competent to be on the same roads with the faster and heavier cars and trucks.
The police priority should be a blitz on gangsters who have killed and wounded dozens this year, including a pregnant mom. Once that’s done, instead of picking on good and honest commuters who pay the bills and the delivery trucks which fuel the economy, perhaps do a blitz on the bad cyclists!
“The mayor believes all residents of Toronto — drivers, cyclists and pedestrians — need to follow the rules of the road to keep each other safe. Pedestrians, cyclists, drivers get into accidents on our busy streets and in quiet neighbourhoods,” said Tory spokesman Amanda Galbraith. “The people of Toronto care about each other and we all need to do our part to prevent accidents and any tragic loss of life.”
Subject them to proper training, testing and licensing and ban those who don’t comply would be a start.
The mayor did not respond to the notion of licensing cyclists, but his office rejected the suggestion he was behind Monday’s enforcement blitz.
“We were not aware in advance,” said Galbraith. “He was simply there to participate in the bike to work initiative as he did last year. Any inference to the contrary is completely inaccurate ... As you know, the mayor cannot direct enforcement activities by either city staff or the Toronto Police Service.”
Like the pot shop busts, just a coincidence.
Tory is merely one of those progressive bicycle mayors who “was given a complimentary T-shirt to wear in support of the day as did everyone who participated.”
Perhaps Rob Ford is rolling in his grave, but at least Olivia Chow and David Miller are proud.