I cycle a lot in Toronto. I cycle for work and I cycle for pleasure. I cycle more than 90% of y’all. I’m the cycling king. I’m sometimes on my bicycle for more than 8 hours a day. Over the course of decades I’ve come to a critical realization:
To paraphrase Kanye West: “John Tory doesn’t care about bike people.”
He doesn’t care about clearing the bike lanes of snow properly after a storm. In fact, most of the time what will happen is the snow from the car lanes will be pushed into the bike lanes rendering them unusable.
He doesn’t care about ensuring cars don’t use the bike lanes as parking spots. Enforcement is so lax that every damn time I’m out biking I see several cars in the bike lanes forcing us to ride into the middle of traffic (the whole point of the lanes is to avoid this). I stop and wonder sometimes what would happen if I parked my bike in the middle of a car lane. Someone would probably try to run me down. I would be killed. That’s how mad it is out there.
He doesn’t care to ensure that construction properly takes into account cyclists when they block off lanes. Often the bike lane will just disappear or they’ll have trucks parked in it or some shit where the main take away is “fuck you, you don’t matter”. Often we’ll be pushed towards the dangerous streetcar tracks where we either have to risk crossing the tracks into the middle lane or riding on that sliver of concrete that buffers the right side of the tracks and the rest of the road. It’s stressful and it fucking sucks.
He doesn’t care to change the overall culture of this city towards bikes. Just this week I was purposely bumped by a cab because I didn’t let him cut me off. I get yelled at and honked at every week by drivers just for being on the road. I have cars make maneuvers where they’re purposely putting my life in danger like doing crazy u-turns or making right turns through my path hoping I’ll be able to stop in time to avoid death. If I died that would make them late for a meeting or dinner or something. That’s the cost of my life.
Again and again we are told by the authorities that we die or are injured because we’re “not following the rules”, these are rules that in every single case were designed for vehicles weighing over a ton that can move exponentially faster than we can. These are rules that most drivers don’t bother following.
If you’re one of those people that bring up the point “well cyclists never follow the rules” I would hope that you’re always driving under the speed limit, you never run a red, you always come to a complete stop at stop signs, you never park where you’re not supposed to etc. I bet no one who’s a driver can say they’ve never broken the rules without lying. Most drivers break the rules every fucking day so fuck off with that argument.
It’s insane to think that 93 cyclists and pedestrians have died in Toronto in the last two years. That’s a massacre. This is all under John Tory’s “Vision Zero” initiative where the goal is to have zero pedestrian and cycling deaths by 2021. Apparently this will be achieved by doing absolutely nothing because that’s what has happened so far.
Responsibility for this massacre ultimately rests with John Tory. The longer he does nothing, the more he shows that he cares little for the very lives of some of most vulnerable road users. This shouldn’t come as a surprise when you look at how he dealt with sheltering the homeless last winter. (BTW did you know that nearly 100 homeless people died in Toronto in 2017? It’s crazy)
I’m saying John Tory doesn’t care about bike people but the bigger theme is that John Tory doesn’t care about anyone who isn’t a rich homeowner with a car. He’s the mayor of the few who got voted in because the only other viable choice was the brother of crackhead Rob Ford. We chose instead to elect Doug Ford as premiere because we’re idiots.
The point is, John Tory has got to go. He’s a terrible mayor who’s greatest achievement so far is absolutely nothing. We deserve better.