Toronto Politician on Bike Lanes and the Future of Cycling

Toronto City Council member Glenn De Baeremaeker bicycles 26 miles each way to work at City Hall, all year round. Thirty-five minutes into his ride, De Baeremaeker finally reaches a bike lane. The Toronto Star profiles his ride:

He has clipped on his panniers, buckled his helmet and set off on an hour-long pant to his cluttered office in city hall, where he has become a powerful figure. He’s chair of the city’s works committee, which oversees all of Toronto’s infrastructure, including its roads.

A growing number of councillors see cyclists less as large flies on their windshields and bicycles more as a clean, healthy and — most importantly — legitimate form of urban transportation.

"The political stars are aligned," says De Baeremaeker, who pulls up into his underground parking space at city hall on his 21-speed. "People’s world view has changed," he says. "The future for cycling is very, very good."

Getting smashed by a truck or van is a big worry of De Baeremaeker’s. That’s probably because he was hit two winters ago. He had barely pedalled out of City Hall on his way home when someone opened a cab door without looking and sent him flying. He landed under the wheels of another taxi, which, thankfully, wasn’t moving. If he had been in a bike lane, it wouldn’t have happened. "Bike lanes aren’t just a frill. They save people’s lives," says De Baeremaeker.

Photo by Martino

  • Charlie D.

    Here’s an interesting excerpt where it talks about the politics of bike lanes:

    There’s not a single white line cutting through the Rexdale ward of self-proclaimed car fanatic Rob Ford.

    “I can’t support bike lanes. Roads are built for buses, cars, and trucks,” he announced last month in council chambers. “My heart bleeds when someone gets killed, but it’s their own fault at the end of the day.”

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