(Cross-posted to I Bike T.O.)
Mike Smith of NOW Magazine, who moderated the NOW Bike Forum a few weeks ago, weighs in with his thoughts from the evening and how cycling will become the priority it needs to be – cyclists making themselves heard:
It almost seemed [City Councillor Adam Giambrone] was dropping a hint: get noisey now. The experience of a participant named Paul who was involved in the successful push for a Dundas East bike lane made the point.
While prior proposals faced stiff opposition, “the difference was community organizing,” he said. “There are a lot of people out there with rusty bikes in the basement. If you create a bit of a movement, there’s more support.” He also pointed out that while Business Improvement Areas have staff to help them organize, cyclists don’t.
Egan agreed. “Dundas East was really interesting. The traffic implications were greater than most projects,” he said. “If the community is behind it, it makes it easier. Whether staff should lead that, that’s a good question.”
Darren Stehr, no friend of Giambrone’s, actually agreed:
“We’ve had too many projects stall,” Stehr said. “We go to the public and there’s opposition. Even a mild outcry and the councillor gets cold feet and pulls back.” He confided to the audience that many projects have gone under simply because cyclists haven’t organized, while over-cautious merchants and motorists have.
So, we have to get organized and we have to get vocal.
That may mean bringing an organ to bike events to play those anthemic songs they play at hockey and baseball games – like We Will Rock You, or that “Charge!” one… the options are endless…
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