This week is Bike Week, and I was really looking forward to saying a few words at the launch of Bike Week at City Hall Monday morning.
But, oh the irony!! The lack of bike paths in Toronto and the limited public transit both hit home---personally. I ended up too late to speak at the event at City Hall—but because I was in a car.
Here’s the story: I used to work downtown, and for years rode my bike. I stopped riding, however, when it simply became too dangerous—a few crunches with suddenly-opened car doors, some close calls with cars turning right, and a collision or two with pedestrians who looked for cars but not bikes, finally moved me to the next alternative—the subway, which I then used daily to get to work.
As a result, it had been YEARS since I had driven a car downtown during rush hour. But Monday, I had a rented car; I needed to drive for other reasons. I had no idea how awful the traffic had become!! I was completely shocked at the continuous traffic jam to get downtown---and at how long it took me, making me late. Were more people able to ride, either bikes or transit, to work, the less traffic there would be; the less pollution there would be; the more fit the population would be. All good.
So, unintentionally, and not without a little irony, my rare car drive downtown became my personal big advertisement for more bike lanes and more public transit.
(And lo and behold, the City of Toronto agreed, yesterday, to significantly improve its bike-lane capacity. Congratulations, Toronto!)