The Toronto Cyclists Union is organizing a “Ride for Jarvis” tonight and plans to have hundreds of cyclists riding on Jarvis Street to show/protest/unify against City Hall decisions that are removing bikelanes and implying that a Torontonian who drives is more important than a Torontonian who bikes.
This ride will attract 3 types of cyclist:
- Cyclists who feel there must be a public show of support for bikelanes
- Cyclists who are militant and want to take over city streets as a symbolic “F— You!” to drivers and City Hall
- Cyclists who just want streets to be safer and are disappointed that City Hall is trying to make streets more dangerous
The cyclists it will not attract are those who believe that jamming up car traffic and pissing off other Torontonians is the exact opposite of what cycling advocates should be doing. It will not attract Torontonians who believe that bridges should be built (and not burnt) between cycling and driving and pedestrian groups. It will not attract cyclists who believe that the Bike Union is an important voice for cyclists, but do not agree with the Union’s methods of “advocating” or the fact that some central people who run the Union are anti-car.
It remains to be seen what kind of media attention this will get, but I am willing to bet that it’s the militant cyclists that the mainstream media will focus on for soundbites and video clips.
Because of this, I doubt this ride will do *anything* other than be a community-building event for the type of cyclists who go to an event like this and an item in a Toronto Cyclists Union Annual Report.
This is essentially because 1) those that hold the balance of power at City Hall do not care what cyclists think, and 2) everyone already knows that cyclists support bikelanes.
However, it should be a fun and interesting event, and I hope that a good percentage of the 1000+ people who have marked themselves as “attending” on the Facebook Event Page actually show up. Facebook Event RSVPs and notorious for not being accurate.
[top photo from the Toronto Sun]
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