Frances Nunziata is looking to form a Pedestrian and Cycling Safety Committee “whose mission will be to help plan and promote safe and enjoyable ways for pedestrians and cyclists to travel throughout the ward.”
Her office is looking for a few good people to help give input on safety and planning, and the first meetings will be in May. You can contact her, if you’re interested, through her website. I hope to see you there!
Politics has gone mad: crazy, populist ideas now regularly trample thoughtfulness and reason. You might be pleasantly surprised, therefore, to hear that city politicians did something smart: they killed a plan to license bikes.
Our own councillor, however, who has long supported licensing, continues—against all evidence—to champion this dumb idea.
Nunziata: “Why don’t you drive downtown and see what the cyclists are doing?”
Earlier this year, Stephen Holyday asked the city to look (again) at licensing bikes, although is has done so several times and even has a FAQ on the topic. In short, licenses lose money, kids ride, and licensing—despite all the knee-jerking—is quite unnecessary: cyclists can be ticketed just fine without a license. (I should know.)
In the course of the debate at the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee, another really good point came up: a license is a regressive tax on the cheapest and best transportation:
“A bicycle is one of the few means of transportation available to almost anyone regardless of their financial situation,” says Spragge.
And that, of course, is the real reason reactionaries want to license bikes: they want to discourage cycling.¹
Politicians can have long careers giving people things they like and passing laws against things they don’t—never minding the facts or principle. Bicyclists bug civilians. I know why: it’s because we’re better. We’re faster, fitter, richer, and happier. Clearly, then, our smugness should be banned.
And yes, we are unpredictable. We are dangerous. Can I tell you something? I ride without a helmet. I ride the wrong way. I ride fast, with headphones in, weaving and taking up lanes when I want to. I cut cars off. I turn left from the left turn lane. I give bad drivers the finger. And I’ve been doing it for decades. Do you know how many people I’ve hurt?
The truth is this: cars are dangerous to other people. Bikes are not. Bikes are kind to other people. We need more bikes, not fewer. We need to encourage them, not license them, not tax them.
Let’s hope this is the last time we hear of any dumb licensing scheme.²
¹The rest of this post is edited from a comment I left on Facebook; I said it well then when I wasn’t tired and overworked.
²And don’t even start: if I hear one more time that cyclists should “pay their fair share”, I’m going to key a Caddy. That is such bullshit.
Drivers should pay for pollution. They should pay for foreign wars, climate change, resource depletion, coastal spills, urban sprawl, visual blight, noise, ruined neighbourhoods, starless skies and interrupted street hockey too.
You know what I need to make it downtown on my bike? 45 minutes, a handful of chips, and a dirt path.
Just a quick item to inform readers that the City of Toronto is looking for input on their new multi-use bicyle lane projects as outlined here. From the link is an input form that looks like it has to be printed off and faxed.
The city would like to extend the bike trail that ends abruptly at Cruickshank Park and link it via the riverbank to rejoin the network north of the 401 avoiding streets and traffic entirely. Apparently the various property owners along the route have been consulted.
Another project proposes extending the west-rail path north along the rail lines. Right now their plan is to come north and when it reaches Black Creek and Weston, to follow north along the creek. Ideally, it would continue along the railway and head up into Weston Village.
The bad news is that the deadline for for comments is Friday February 24.