Rocco Rossi, Obama-Style

By | February 23, 2010

Rocco Rossi, candidate for mayor in Toronto, has come out against bikelanes on major arteries in Toronto.

Cyclists (and everyone who doesn’t think the car should be the only basis for urban planning decisions) are understandably a little put off by this.

There’s even a funny little Can this bikelane get more fans than Rocco Rossi? page on Facebook (over 700 members in the first 24 hours).

I though I’d do up a quick little Obama-style graphic of what a lot of people will be thinking this fall at municipal election time when they think of Rocco:



M on February 24, 2010 at 10:33 pm.

Go Rocco…finally, a politician with common sense.

Joe T. on February 24, 2010 at 11:33 pm.

Just like Mike Harris?

riotcontrol on February 25, 2010 at 12:40 am.

cars are a mistake from the past, because of peak oil, and because driving is bad for us socially. he’s stuck in the 1960s. we’re trying to repair the damage they have caused our city, and he is resisting, thinking it will gain him votes. think again. toronto is smart and forward thinking, we dont need him to drag us down.

M on February 25, 2010 at 5:31 pm.

Millar is doing a great job of that already.

Joe T. on February 25, 2010 at 5:40 pm.

I think you mean Miller. With an “e”.

And, please. Has everyone forgotten Mel Lastman and the waste and scandal that was at City Hall then?

M on February 25, 2010 at 7:54 pm.

While Mel was a boob at times MillEr & team are far worse…especially when it comes to wasting taxpayers money. City council is scandal-ridden. Even MillEr’s friends have turned on him. At least he still has Adam Giamboner as a supporter.

Joe T. on February 25, 2010 at 9:30 pm.

Well, you’re entitled to your opinion. Thanks for sharing it.

RossM on February 26, 2010 at 1:07 pm.

Despite what some may think, it’s important for people, goods & services to get around Toronto on more than bicycles. Sure bikes are great – so is walking – but for optimal city transportation there needs to be balance and each case needs to be examined.

And if bikes are to be allocated ‘dedicated’ roadspace, how will they pay? And if there are many more cyclists and cars on the roads than ever before, how will they coexist safely? Will there (finally) be laws requiring lights/reflectors, bells/horns, rider helmets, safety-inspected licensed bicycles?

Lots to talk about and no better candidate to lead the dicussion than Rocco Rossi. At least he’s had the guts to raise the issue, and a number of others. Let’s continue the dialogue rather than try to shut it down.

Joe T. on February 26, 2010 at 1:23 pm.

Oh Ross…

1) If Jarvis needs to be balanced, then why not bikelanes? Should we take out the sidewalks on Jarvis an convert them to car lanes? There are sidewalks over on Sherbourne. Pedestrians should use those. That is what your logic is implying.

2) This “payment” question comes up again and again. Do you know that city roads are maintained with municipal property taxes. I don’t own a car but I pay property taxes. Therefore I pay for the maintenance of roads.

3) Do some research please. The Ontario Highway Traffic Act already makes bells/horns mandatory, as well as lights during inclement weather and within 30 minutes of sunset and sunrise. Helmets are mandatory for people 16 years and under.

RossM on February 26, 2010 at 1:53 pm.



1) Traffic balance is not about onesy-twosy this-street-and-that-street.

2) Municipal taxes are a valid revenue source, that’s where the increases can come from

3) Then it’s time for rigorous enforcement with no bitching & moaning from special-interest groups that it’s unfair or not applicable.

Also, I’ve had enough over the years of high-speed cyclists scaring the crap out of me & my family while walking or biking on multi-use paths where cyclists suddenly flash past without notice – lucky no injuries or deaths so far. Also cyclists breaking every traffic law going and feeling they are above the law – not acceptable.

p.s. – When I bike I obey all the traffic laws and my bike is properly-equipped.

Evelyn on March 1, 2010 at 11:15 am.

Good for RossM! Cyclists like to diss everyone who doesn’t buy into the sweeping generalization that cyclists are good and cars are bad. The reality is that cyclists represent only about 2% of the road using population while pedestrians represent about 12%.

Cyclists are a special interest lobby – and a small one at that- How they think they should be able to hold cites hostage while they flaunt the law and ignore even the most basic traffic etiquette is too much for me.

We all pay those taxes…and if we walk or ride the subway instead of owning cars, we are just as entitled to raise the questions about where those dollars should be spent as any of those self-congratulatory cyclists on the road.

Please spare us the holier-than-thou comments – You wanted people to pay attention to you – Guess what? we are paying attention and we have some questions and demands of our own.

Joe T. on March 1, 2010 at 11:37 am.

Evelyn, if you’d like to spend some time on BikingToronto, you’ll find that we don’t “diss” other road users.

You may want to check out the Code of Conduct. BikingToronto believes that any progress on sharing roads and making public infrastructure work for everyone is via mutual respect and reasoned conversation.

Please don’t associate BikingToronto with some other cycling websites who don’t prescribe to the same views.

Not all cyclists are “holier than thou”.

The main reason why cyclists are offended at Rossi’s statement that cyclists shouldn’t be on main streets is that he’s advocating a type of apartheid depending on mode of transport.

A citizen in a car is no more important than a citizen on a bike.

markjull on March 1, 2010 at 1:58 pm.

I can’t figure out why bike lanes get people’s backs up. Looking at the comments here by M, RossM and Evelyn it seems their perspective comes from some weird annoyance with cyclists and has little to do with making the city any better. If they don’t like cycling, why on earth would they join bikingtoronto!?

I keep hearing the same ‘arguments’ about taxes, the crazy cyclists, bikes in the way of cars, etc. None of this makes any sense. I’d go through the arguments, line by line, but it’s been done so many times and it’s clear that facts do not matter to the ‘anti-bike’ crowd. What I find very telling is how this crowd nearly always uses inflamed rhetoric, calls their opponents dumb, stupid, etc., and try some ‘clever’ pun on a person’s name (eg ‘lieberal’) or places a label on them (somehow cycling is socialist!). And they’re not usually engaged in discussion or conversation – they’re just stating an opinion (with a few insults sprinkled in) and have no intention of listening or even considering anyone else’s perspective or facts on the matter.

So, I think Rossi is very clever in a Machiavellian way. He’s been able to tap into this emotional ‘hatred’ and play upon this irrational ‘common sense’ (i.e. ignorance) of the issue.

Joe T. on March 1, 2010 at 2:18 pm.

M, RossM and Evelyn aren’t actually BikingToronto members… they are just commenting on this blog… blog commenting is open to all (with some spam controls in place, happily)… but if they wanted to participate in the groups and forums of the site (which they are welcome to, if they are so inclined), they’ll have to register.

It’s unfortunate, but I can see their point when the “scofflaw cyclist” thing comes up. It’s sad that people associate cyclists with rulebreakers, but when the most vocal cyclists in Toronto (or the ones that get the most attention) are anti-car (or have an anti-car background), people who don’t agree with them tend to adopt anti-bike attitudes.

I’m not sure yet if I dislike Rossi for bringing so much attention to the bikelanes on arterials issue. He’s made it an election issue, and whether he wins or not, most people in Toronto will be thinking about bikelanes and transportation planning this year. :)

Todd Tyrtle on March 2, 2010 at 11:39 am.

I’m pretty tired of the whole “us and them” between drivers and cyclists. It’s a false dichotomy that does nobody any good. The fact of the matter is, I’m not a cyclist. I’m a parent, spouse, customer, and employee and yet, the second I go somewhere and get on a bike now all sorts of qualities are instantly ascribed to me. Who knew that as soon as I put my feet on the pedals I become a latte drinking leftist agitator who’s only dream is to tax suburbanites into submission so that they can no longer afford their cars, bike to work downtown when they’re not tending their local food garden they turned their lawn into (well, except for the part under the solar panels) so that they’d be able to eat locally.

Yes, I’m something of an activist but not because of some great political master plan but more like I would like to improve my (and my friends’ and family’s) chances of survival on the city streets. I don’t believe that the car is going anywhere any time soon and I believe that a balanced transportation system means that things are better for me whether I’m walking, biking, taking transit, or driving.

So in some ways, I don’t think Rossi’s the problem, even if his policies are as messed up as they sound (I’m ready to take it all back if he can offer a proposal for a good bike network). The problem is this: as far as the media is concerned and as far as much of the voting public is concerned we’re cyclists while drivers are simply regular people trying to go about their business. Until we can get more folks to see the reality that just like drivers, we’re just people trying to drop their kids off at daycare, pick up their groceries, and get to work who happen to be doing it on a bike, we’re going to have an uphill battle. Sure, there are folks among us who roll through stop signs, run lights, and ride while intoxicated and most of us look upon them in the same way as the average driver looks upon those who speed, text while driving, or drive under the influence.

The fact is, Rossi may be playing the “war on cars” card, but that card is only available to him because of a deeper seated issue. Address that issue and politicians like him will be much less of a threat.

markjull on March 2, 2010 at 11:49 am.

Very nicely said, Todd! I’d only add that what trumps your list of adjectives (parent, spouse, consumer, etc.) is *citizen*. We’re all citizens with rights AND responsibilities.

Joe T. on March 2, 2010 at 12:00 pm.

Yes, Todd… very well put.

I’m trying to shift the dialogue on this to the whole “citizen” viewpoint – that all citizens are equal, no matter their chosen mode of transport.

The leftist anti-car part of the cycling advocacy movement is what gets any media coverage, and that’s part of the problem.

A large percentage of Toronto’s cyclists are just like me… have a office job, a house, a mortgage, and a desire to make the roads safer for their families.

There is no war. There’s a desire to have our neighbourhoods and communities be safer. Who would be against that?

Todd Tyrtle on March 2, 2010 at 12:12 pm.

No war and no politics. Or rather it transcends politics. The biggest city transformation I know of is NYC. Times Square and Herald Square were *completely closed* to motor vehicle traffic recently. What radical car-hating leftist did this? Why it was Republican Michael Bloomberg, of course.

And yet those sorts of ideas only seem to come from the left here. And frankly I can’t imagine any mainstream candidate daring to suggest that. What, close Yonge & Bloor *and* Yonge and Dundas? That’s completely insane!

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