26 October 2010

Toronto's Rob Ford Hates Bicycles

Meet Toronto's new Mayor.

We blogged this back in August, writing:

"Um. Yeah. Okay... there are quite of few things that I could write. I think I'll just let Councillor Rob Ford from Etobicoke North in Toronto (Slogan: Working for the People) do it all on his own.

The man is, apparently, running for Mayor. Dark days for the development of Toronto as a more livable city - using the bicycle as a tool to that end - if the likes of this chap get into power.

Talk about ignoring the bull.

Thanks to Kevin for the link."

Dismal. But read this blog post from Curbside Cycles in Toronto. Hope ahead?

Is is time to listen to The Smiths?

A push and a rush and the land that
we stand on is ours
It has been before
So it shall be again


Classic Copenhagen said...

Wow, there is a bull I would like to ignore! Jeeeez. And would it be cruel to suggest he jumped on a bike himself? It could save his life.

Tino said...

It's all very ironic. The video was first posted by the team of George Simtherman who is also running for Mayor in Toronto. Although Smitherman claims to be bike-friendly he is not. He even wants delay or cancel long-overdue bike lane projects on arterial streets. In any case, Rob Ford now claims he is favour of bike lanes.
Right. We're in for some bad times for cycling in Toronto for sure.

Darren said...

"It's their own fault at the end of the day." Wow. Just ... wow. So if I am riding down the street and get run over by a bus, it's MY fault?

Anonymous said...

I moved out of Toronto a few months back.

To call Toronto politicians corrupt and ignorant is to flatter them. The current Mayor, who I initially backed in his wannabe days, is no better. Soon walking, bicycling, public transit and driving in Toronto will resemble the current Argentinian experience - dangerous.

Anonymous said...

Oh god, this guy is going to be more of an embarrassment than "Who's WHO?" Mel Lastman.

Tino is right, this is probably part of a smear campaign - unfortunately it is a case of the pot calling the kettle black - though there are more "FORD for mayor" bumper stickers around, maybe because they match the owner's corresponding choice in car brand.


bentguy said...

That is purely terrifying. This man is a poster boy for everything is wrong with car culture. How did a guy this completely out of touch ever get elected to anything. Please tell me he doesn't stand a chance.

Anonymous said...

Some of marvelous quotes by Rob Ford:

To an anti-poverty activist: "Do you have a job, sir? I'll give you a newspaper to find a job, like everyone else has to do between 9 and 5."

Regarding AIDS: "(AIDS) is very preventable"
"if you are not doing needles and you are not gay, you wouldn't get AIDS probably, that's bottom line."
"How are women getting it? Maybe they are sleeping with bisexual men."

I'm sorry, Toronto.

Erik Sandblom said...

"Roads are for trucks and cars" is a common sentiment. Sweden permits twice as heavy trucks as the USA, 60 tons against 36 in the USA. This causes frontal collisions which the road authority tries to minimise by separating the lanes with wires and building grade-separated crossings.

This encourages sloppier driving, and the wires leave cyclists nowhere to go.

I think it would be a lot simpler to let the heavy freight move by rail and waterways. That way the roads would be more welcoming to cyclists, tractors, pedestrians, horses etc.

I've written more on this here:
Miljarder satsas på tung lastbilstrafik i Sverige - Ecoprofile

Ryne said...

This makes me so sad. And I'm constantly dealing with this exact kind of behavior every day living in Houston, Texas.

Anonymous said...

Clearly it was my fault that I was cut-off by a car and had to brake hard and suddenly, causing me to wipe out, break my arm and wrist in 6 places, and sprain my ankle and foot badly. Yup, not the car's fault for not checking his blind spot. But it would've been his fault if I were in a car, because then I would've had the right to be on the street.

kfg said...

Does this guy have a cousin in Melbourne who's a cop?

Anonymous said...

His recent anti-bike lane votes: http://robford.ca/councilvotes.asp

Green Idea Factory said...

Some jackass in Colorado shares the same mutant gene.

Ed Scoble said...

Look at the size of that bloke!

Can you write down a symmetry of what he was saying? YouTube don't have subtitle for the like of me sadly.

tedsfiles said...

Ed, here's a rough transcript:
I can't support bike lanes. How many people are outside riding today? We don't live in Florida.
We don't have 12 months per year to ride on bikes. [he hasn't heard about jackets yet] And what I compare bike lanes to, is swimming with sharks. Sooner or later you're going to get bitten. [by a shark or by this guy] And every year we have dozens of people who get hit by cars [eg bike messenger Darcy Allan Sheppard who got hit and killed by Former Ontario attorney-general Michael Bryant] Well no wonder. Roads are built for buses, cars and trucks. Not for people on bikes. And my heart bleeds for 'em when someone gets killed. But it's their own fault at the end of the day.
[Michael Bryant got off without even being charged by the way, despite killing someone, and street videos being VERY clear.
check out Criminal Lawyer Marshall Golden's view on this at:

pcm266 said...

Judging by the other quotes by Mr. Ford, he is quite the character and one can wonder why anyone in their right mind would vote for someone like him (the A.I.D.S comment was beyond his bike comment, terrible)

However, I'm quite surprised at how universal the arguments given by anti-bicycling people are (especially amongst the northern hemisphere), as if the same people script them their arguments. Even here in Finland, you will find similar arguments such as weather (only 3 months of good weather etc.), and the most ridiculous one about roads being for cars, as if they (the cars) had souls and should be respected beyond humans. Luckily we here in Finland have a decent network (nowhere near Denmark or Holland though) for bicycles in most major cities, although unfortunately most of our lanes are combined bike/pedestrian lanes, which results in a disaster in busier districts.

The weather argument is funny, especially here in southern-Finland, with considerably milder winters. Our highest utilitarian pedalling city (over 20% of all trips on bicycles, cf. Helsinki 7%) is infact Oulu/Uleoborg in north-Finland, with very harsh winters! Hmmm, wonder why they bicycle there despite the poor weathers. Could it be that they have by far best bicycling network in the nation? Surely not...

Perhaps the anti-bike people in Toronto could take a trip to Finland, to Oulu... During winter! That is, if Danish winter isn't harsh enough.

Kevin Love said...

Here in Toronto, there is no party system in municipal politics. So it is not unusual to have 5-6 serious contenders standing for election.

As others have pointed out, Mr. Ford has a history of saying bizarre things. In my opinion, it is highly unlikely that he will be elected mayor.

The candidate that I support is Joe Pantalone. He is currently Deputy Mayor and has been a City councillor since 1980. He has sensible, pro-City policies, and I would like to believe that he will be elected.

Edward Scoble said...

At Tedsfiles, ta mate!

Kevin Love said...

In breaking Ford news, this individual just hit the headlines for his anti-homosexual comments. He endorsed a candidate who thinks homosexuals threaten civilization and highlighted his own "Defence of traditional marriage."

In Toronto, that's not going to be a big vote-getter. I look forward to watching this bozo's campaign implode due to his terminal case of foot-in-mouth disease.



Kevin Love said...

I should add that Ford's comments were a crude attack upon another candidate, George Smitherman. Mr. Smitherman (AKA Furious George) is openly homosexual and formally married his same-sex spouse.

Mr. Smitherman is definitely a serious candidate, having previously been Her Majesty's minister of health for Ontario. As Canada's constitution deems health care a provincial responsibility, this portfolio has the largest budget of any minister.

Readers may be thinking that they have learnt far too much about Toronto's mayoral election. Bottom line: Mr. Ford is a fool whose anti-bike beliefs are part of a consistent dinosaur package that makes it highly unlikely he will be elected.

Lasse said...


I am left speechless, more or less like you Michael.

BG said...

All's I'll say is that I'd rather bike in Toronto in January than Orlando in August. I mean, when it's cold you can always put on warmer clothes, but when it's hot...there's a limit. :)

Anonymous said...

I have to, respectfully, disagree with Kevin. While Rob Ford may not have traction with downtown voters, he may just get elected mayor on the basis of the inner suburbs vote. These people hate anyone who interfer with their god given right to drive their car, bitch that their taxes are too high and have little patience for 'liberals'. Not 100% of them, true, but enough that Ford might actually win. I should know. I live in the inner suburbs. Which is why, on September 1st, I am abandoning this 'world crass' city and moving to Europe.


Kevin Love said...


Sorry to read that you're leaving Toronto. I would like to believe that it will not happen, but stranger things have happened than Ford being elected.

I agree with Sir Winston Churchill that democracy is the worst form of government - except for the alternatives.

Alisdair said...

I think everyone here have missed a very important point.

Rob Ford looks like he would benefit from riding a bike a bit more.

Anonymous said...

@Alisdair (and anyone else thinking of it): Ha ha ha, the joke is on you! This Rob Ford posting is a TRAP! Mikael is working with some graduate students in sociology at the University of Aarhus and a private research foundation in the USA with the goal of seeing how many N. Americans make fat jokes on this blog!

Alisdair said...

It's actually not as much a joke as a fat concern. If you read my blog on the transport experiment you'll see just how much weight can be controlled through active transport.

Nevertheless, if it is a trap, I'm sure there will be fat jokes to come.

Anonymous said...

Here's a good video of Rob Ford in action. A reporter apparently called him a "Fat Fuck", and then he goes all squealy. Fun times.

Councillor Rob Ford in action

Anonymous said...

He is a fat fuck, and a rather horrid man.

Never has a man needed to get on a bike more and pedal 1000 miles than Rob Ford.

Anonymous said...

But Denver mayoral hopeful Dan Maes hates bikes more! They are a conspiracy for the United Nations to take over the USA!

Excuse while I fall on the floor laughing.

lagatta à montréal said...

Alisdair, I agree. Fat jokes are in poor taste - often they are classist, for one thing, but this is a fellow who obviously has the means of getting on a bicycle and it is good, gentle exercise for anyone who needs to lose some weight, not hard on the joints. He is plainly a homophobic, reactionary piece of shit.

Most days last winter were perfectly cyclable here and I'm sure that was even more the case in Toronto.

Places with very hot weather, especially hot, humid weather can be just as problematic, but the simple solution is to avoid afternoon heat. The siesta was a most civilised invention.

Erika said...

This video makes me horribly embarrassed that both he and I are Canadian.

lagatta à montréal said...

Erika, don't fret.

"La madre del cretino è sempre incinta". Such fuckwits exist in all countries.

Ryan said...

Last time I checked, Ford is leading with suburban Torontonians and is second in the race.
Honestly though, this time round all the candidates seem useless.

Rocco Rossi & Giorgio Mammoliti have also said idiotic things against cyclists.
Mammoliti was a complete tool, thankfully he dropped out of the race.

I believe the only pro (or at least non anti-bike) candidate is Joe Pantalone.

Also, I'd rather ride during the winter in Toronto than anytime of the year in most of Florida. Horrible motorists, too humid and hurricane season is coming.

Kevin Love said...

Ryan, the four most dangerous cities in the USA are all in Florida. See:


I venture to predict that as the campaign season goes on and people learn more about Ford, his support will dry up. I also believe the man is incapable of refraining from saying foolish things. Things that the media ignored when he was only a municipal councillor, but will put on the front page now that he is a candidate for mayor. Things like his recent anti-homosexual comments.

Ryan said...

Thanks Kevin. I was looking for that link, because I recalled reading that Florida had a few cities in the top for most dangerous.

When it gets closer to the end of the race, it will be interesting to see if Tory does throw his name in.
He said he would create less bike lanes, but the ones he does create would be separated from traffic. Or so he said once on his radio show.

Anonymous said...

If he rode this bike he would change his tune!
Cantante by Batavus

Like most of use overweight pre-cycle convert has not met his dream bike yet, and he probably can't imagine cycling as a viable form of transportation.


Lorne said...

I really don't think Rob Ford is going to will the elections. How can he be like this? I mean, no matter what his personal opinion is, as a politician, he should think about the public, too. But seems like he is completely ignoring a significant part of Toronto's citizens. That is crazy.

Anonymous said...

Oink! Oink! Oink!

This Rob Ford guy is a typical North American pig.

Anonymous said...

Sarah Thomson has tapped toll roads, one of the most successful revenue generation models in North America, as a means to build subways.

Subways are extremely bike friendly.

Even though critics say she is 50 million shy per subway kilometer, to find a reasonable [ toll roads Will happen in Toronto, it's a trend that will not fail to occur here ] funding source for 80% of the cost and it will not be hard to find investment for the rest. If the subways were certain to go in they could even sell bonds successfully for the difference.

Toronto would not be what it is now if it had not committed massively to the subways it has now, it would be any other car town, and it will trend that way if we don't keep up pressure for that kind of transit commitment

Besides, people keep saying, "Build Upward, Not Outward." and streetcars don't do real density justice as transit.

There is probably noting better that could be done for bicyclists and our general community of pedestrians (we're all pedestrians, even Rob Chevy or whatever he's called) than to take the leap to a real transit commitment.

Rossi, upon hearing that voters liked the talk of subways, promised some of his own. He claimed that if we let him sell off Hydro and other major assets he would build subways with it...

Suuuure he would, we'd sell that stuff and next thing you know he'd be shrugging his shoulders saying it wasn't actually enough or we spent it elsewhere. You see, his only goal is to sell those assets, just as it was before he offered a subway in exchange.

I don't think it matters if Thomson is inexperienced. She will just need to do a good job surrounding herself with experience and work well with the experienced city staff, council and committees.

Subways and Complete Streets. That's her transportation platform and she found the cash for the subways.

If bikes and transit are your campaign issues you can't overlook Thomson.

Some say she is too conservative. I say, so what? Subways and the super density they bring breed NDP and Liberal powerhouse voting blocs. I guess they get along in confined spaces better than their Conservative voting bloc, who all seem to require houses with moats of grass around the to demarcate their kingdoms.

Any mayor that provides subways strengthens the people who are happy to live a small footprint, urban and car-free lifestyle. That doesn't sound conservative to me, so so what if she is?

The people around here want Thomson, if they only knew.

D'Arcy said...

Streets are the public domain. We live life on them, walking, riding, sitting in a cafe, or even driving, Unfortunately, over the last 40 years or so traffic engineers seemed to have taken over. Prior to that, the streets were where you truly lived in an urban environment.

Councilor Ford's comments are about more than just bicycles. He seems to have forgotten the fundamental principles of a democratic egalitarian society: One "citizen" walking should have the right to as much space on the street as one citizen on a bike. One citizen on a bike riding on a street has the right to as much space as one citizen in a car. 4o citizens on a street car have the right to as much space as 40 citizens in 40 cars.

As it stands now, cars seem to have more space than walking and riding citizens. It's only fair that the balance be brought back to treat pedestrians and cyclists equally.


Anonymous said...

Rob Ford is right that Toronto's streets are not built for bikes. The few bike lanes we have are just made with lines of paint. What Toronto needs is a complete re-design of our roads so that they are more like those of Copenhagen, with bike lanes that are raised up a couple of inches above the road where the cars go and kept separate from the pedestrian sidewalks. If we got that, then Toronto's streets would be built for bikes. If a majority of city councilors get elected who want to change the way the roads in Toronto get built so that they are like the ones in Copenhagen, it's possible that Rob Ford would happily go along so he would no longer have to have his heart bleed for dead bicyclists.

BikeBike said...

Toronto is supposed to be this bastion of tolerance and they elect that guy - zeesh!

Then there's Calgary - apparently redneck, whitebread - hicky even - and we have a new mayor that is a professor and a muslim.

How times have changed.

lagatta à montréal said...

While I applaud Curbside Cycles (both their business and their blog) I have some slight disagreements with their post on Ford. I posted this on their blog:

No, this trend (didn't start in Toronto - I add here at Copenhagenize), it started with Claire Morrissette in Montréal, of Le Monde à Bicyclette. While we were proudly an activist group, Claire in particular always advocated cycling on city cycles in city clothing, and using humour and creativity rather than "yellow-jacketed rage".

While I agree with mainstreaming cycles as in Amsterdam and Copenhagen, there are political fights to be waged for more cycling and pedestrian-friendly cities and against knuckle-dragging car addicts like Ford.

Has your business thought of awarding Mr Ford an Official Mayoral Bicycle? A sturdy urban bike? One does not often see people as out-of-shape as Mr Ford on bicycles in Amsterdam, but I've seen tall, burly Dutchmen who probably weigh as much as he does on cycles, zipping about and saving their hearts. Le Monde à Bicyclette awarded an official bicycle to Monsieur le Maire (forget which one). A good message for cyclists and the city, good and ethical publicity for your business.

Ryan said...

Big difference from Ottawa voted in...

Also, take a look at one of the NEW city council members at the pamphlet they put out:

Toronto didn't just take a step back...they took 100 steps back.
But hey, all you Toronto cyclists are welcome to cross the lake and live in St. Catharines!

Anonymous said...

Seems Mr Ford is mayor elect, yay! I just bet the new bike share system will be spread city wide now!

Nick said...

Poor Toronto faces the same embarrassment now that Ottawa did four years ago. It's the huge suburban electorate that make things like this happen. Their politics are all about paying as little taxes as possible for their huge plots of land but expecting to drive their cars into the downtown every day to feed off its services. Like parasites.

Green Idea Factory said...

This is weird. This post has comments from a few months ago and just these past few days. But it is a new post.

lagatta à montréal said...

Green Idea, if you read the original post you'll see that it is an old post updated and brought to the fore as the shithead was actually elected.

I was in a bike shop today and the guys were watching the video. Don't think they spoke much English but they sure understood the shithead's monosyllables.

He is only 41.

by Adrienne said...

Just so everyone knows, Rob Ford has now been elected mayor of Toronto. Never have I been more worried about my city...

Brandt said...

He's saying these things, but look how fat he is. 6 months ago I started using my bike, amplified my usage in the last three months, and I've lost 13 pounds so far. Just sayin'.

One thing that usually comes with bike lanes is lower speed limits. The speed usually comes down naturally because of reduced lane width, which in turn would prevent the accidents in the first place. Most of these accidents are in places where there were no bike lanes.

Another thing is that he obviously doesn't have his facts straight. Roads were NOT made for cars. Paved roads came into existence because of bikes, NOT cars.

Anonymous said...

Some people hate anyone in their way. But where are they going? Somewhere where is isn't anyone else? Stay home, why don't you? Unless you're rushing headlong to join a crowd and meet new people with opposing viewpoints, you're dying an agonizingly slow death.

People who don't think children might be playing in streets, construction workers are improving roads, pets get loose from leashes ought to never be issued a driver's license. All onus for safety on roads is the motorist's responsibility. Roads are shared public space that civilization can't live without, not exclusive privacy for privileged idiots.

Steen Go'e Ben said...

The fat bastard looks like he could do with some bike-riding himself, What a prick!

Slow Factory said...

Steen, I would guess that he would still be a major asshole even if he was fit... it really does no one any good to criticize people based on what they look like.