Image credit: Tour d'afrique
We no longer have a War on the Car in Toronto; the car won. Now we have a War on the Bike and the Bus, as Mayor Ford cancels the hated $60 vehicle tax imposed by his predecessor and raises transit fares. Symbolically, a year's pass goes up $60. The Star editorializes: "Many of Toronto's poorest people have no choice but to use public transit. Ford is, in a very real sense, taxing them to put more money in drivers' pockets."
But demoralized transit and bike activists are regrouping, and trying new tactics. Toronto-based cycle tour company Tour d'Afrique has organized a contest on Facebook to try and save cycling in Toronto. The prizes are, fittingly, copies of the book by the New York Bike Snob, from a city where the War on Cars is going in the other direction.
Tour d'Afrique is organizing an Epic North American tour this summer that will roll from San Francisco to St. John's, Newfoundland, a total of 8,000 kilometers. (4970 miles). When they roll into Toronto in late July they will:
use the opportunity to send a message to our somewhat controversial Mayor about his stance regarding cyclists in the city. Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, like many people brought up in a car culture, doesn't seem to appreciate the utility and efficiency of the bicycle. His public statements and actions demonstrate a clear stance that prefers motorized traffic over human powered transport. We love our city and the large cycling community here is pretty upset at our new Mayor's attitude towards our beloved sport.
They are looking for ideas that are "civil" and "doable, " noting:
If you want to use this as an opportunity to vent your frustration about the lack of vision of certain public officials that's OK, and humor is always welcome, but realize we won't take your idea seriously if it slanders or proposes any kind of action that would be considered in poor taste.
That, unfortunately, will cut out many responses; the anger and frustration in Toronto is palpable. So far, ideas proposed include a tourism boycott: I'm not going to Toronto. Another idea I like is the proposal to organize photo shoots with mayors of every town and city that the tour passes though on the way to Toronto, with special Pinko buttons and Pinko tours of bike-friendly features, presenting them to His Honour when the tour reaches Toronto. (see Quote Of The Day: "I'm Wearing Pink For All The Pinkos Out There Riding Bicycles"
There have not been a lot of submissions so far, and the context closes on January 21. So think about how you can Help Us Change Rob Ford's Mind About Cycling.
More on Rob Ford:
Quote Of The Day: "I'm Wearing Pink For All The Pinkos Out There Riding Bicycles" (UPDATED)
Anti-Bike, Anti-Transit, Anti-Green Rob Ford Elected Mayor Of Toronto
Bikes and Streetcars Under Threat As The Suburban Car Loving Politicians Fight Back