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Toronto Politician on Bike Lanes and the Future of Cycling

10:41 AM EDT on April 19, 2007

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

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