02 June 2009

Toronto and Copenhagen

The Toronto Star features a piece on Copenhagen's bicycle culture, written by Matthew Blackett from Spacing.ca.

He was 'shocked' hearing the head of the City's Bicycle Office, Andreas Røhl, say that "We try to never talk to the public about cycling safety."

"Riding a bike is like brushing your teeth in Copenhagen. It's just a part of our everyday life. But every project we do has the goal of making cycling more safe. We just feel if we start to talk publicly about safety, people will start to doubt if cycling is safe," says Rohl.

I even get quoted about The Culture of Fear regarding cycling. Must have been a slow news day... :-)

He compares Toronto with Copenhagen and wonders why the two cities are lightyears from each other regarding pedestrian and cycling facilities.

For the full article, click here.


Ryan said...

Nice to see a more positive article when it comes to biking in Toronto. For the past two weeks, people have been up in arms because the city wants to add a bike lane to one of the major East/West corridors.

Drivers are claiming that it will slow them down, while shop owners are crying that they'll lose business because of reduced parking (despite the majority of their business coming from people who generally walk to the store).

It's unfortunate. Toronto has a mayor and city council that wants to make it a bike friendly city, however there are far too many people crying that there is a "war-on-cars"

Anonymous said...

Think Toronto is behind, just look at MO where MoDOT uses taxpayers' money to lobby against Complete Streets. MoDOT has even eliminated pedestrian bridges across highways in their new projects.


spiderleggreen said...

Cool article. While I do think it would be counterproductive for bike lovers to get into a "war" with cars, the reality is that there is a whole lot of opposition to giving bikes respect. DOT's are going to defend their cash cow, cars, which require expensive road projects. Drivers are going to fight against ceding space to bicyles. I think it's too early to wage open warfare. People who want a bike future, should being doing whatever they can to encourage more and more people to hop on. Create the constituency. As the article points out, those who spend their time advocating bike helmets(and laws) aren't growing this constituency. While it does get some people on bikes, it keeps many off, because reinforces the idea that bikes are dangerous. Want grow bike transportation? Destroy the notion that bikes aren't safe.

Bumpersticker: Bikes are safe. Roads aren't.

Ryan said...

spiderleggreen, it's been an interesting soap opera watching and listening to what's going on in Toronto.
All because the Mayor wants to do things such as adding bike lanes to major East/West streets, ban right turns on reds etc, people are assuming this is a war on cars.

He said it best when asked about a war on cars. He just wants a safe way for cyclists and pedestrians to get around.

And for the most part, the biggest complainers are those living outside the city.

Kevin Love said...

I was in the Public Gallery listening to the debate and watching the vote when Toronto City Council voted to turn one of the Jarvis Street car lanes into two bike lanes.

The Toronto Cyclist Union called upon its members to pack the Public Gallery, and we did. This is my kind of demonstration.

Mayor Miller was very sensible in the debate, and my own municipal councillor, Kyle Rae led the charge as Jarvis is in our ward. I plan upon voting to re-elect both men during next year's municipal elections.

hamish wilson said...

I'm in TO, and we're far better at talking about this stuff, and having conferences, etc., than actually doing sensible things, eg. squeezing cars to favour bikes all along the major east-west Bloor subway. After four years of waiting for a study of it, the City is ready to hire a consultant, though one segment of Bloor was studied and given a thumbs-up 16 years ago.
Despite the blah-blah about doing more for biking, this place should be called "Caronto", and it is a laggard in climate change not a leader.
(see also takethetooker.ca and bellsonbloor.ca)

lagatta à montréal said...

Eventually, as cycling grows, a growing number of car drivers are also cyclists. In interactions on the streets here, it becomes very clear which ones are.

I'm pleased to see "take the tooker" - though please, vélorutionnaires, no more of this precocious dying! We all sorely miss Tooker Gomberg, like Claire Morrissette (see the site for more on the life of Tooker Gomberg).

I'm very pleased to see these traffic-calming initiatives. Hope there will be more in the buildup to the big Climate Change summit, popular countersummit and various events a few months from now. (Hope I can make it)!