Thursday, May 9, 2013



If you are thinking of running in the next election - no matter what level - let me give you a suggestion that will guarantee your win.
Make your platform an anti-bike one. Don't pander like some councillors who ignore that some cyclists are just bikers dressed up and feel they have to pay attention because they are a very mouthy minority who can hurt you.
Basic planks in the platform should be these. Ban bikes from main roads in rush hour! Ticket jerk cyclists! Require bike couriers to be licensed after they pass a sanity test by one psychiatrist and one pedestrian!
On April 13, Mike Strobel wrote in the Toronto Sun apologizing for comparing cyclists to psychos. He was kidding, of course. You knew the next line was going to be that he didn't mean to insult psychos.
What baffles me is how Strobel could tell them apart.
Too many are vain mouthy nuts. The majority of decent cyclists are swamped by the yahoos.
I hasten to defend most cyclists to keep peace with the family and friends. My son Brett often bikes to work.  My friend Mary Corey, who used to bike to her research at Sick Kids, accused me once of waiting until Brett was away on his honeymoon before grumbling again in the Sun about how cyclists screw up traffic even when they're not trying to.
My sons have always had nicer, much costlier bikes than I could ever afford. And Brett just had one stolen for the second time. There must be a pattern here. I remember the first bike I bought for him as a kid from the old Bloor Cycle was stolen the first night out of the garage.
There is no honour among bike thieves. They may claim to be better than the rest of us because they are allegedly "green" but until you can leave a bike in the garage without a ton of locks, I will say that too many cyclists are not to be trusted. It's what they do between shop lifting and ripping off "the man."
I was driving hours ago down my street in the agreeable Royal York and Bloor area . I stopped at a Four Way stop, accelerated again, and almost hit a hefty woman on an old bike who drifted through her Stop Sign without stopping and made a left-hand turn in front of my car.
I leaned on my horn and shouted out the window as she sailed by. "Hey man," she said, "you frightened me."
I'm careful at that minor intersection because the other day,  after I started up again, a cyclist wearing more gear than Lance Armstrong whipped through the intersection without stopping. I leaned on my horn, not that it seems to be of much use with idiots, and drove on to my house.
The jerk showed up a couple of minutes later when I was lugging stuff out of the car. "Did you blow your horn at me," he demanded? "Yes I did," I said. "You didn't even pretend to stop." "What's it to you. Get a life," he replied.
Then I told him, between curses, that the intersection was a block from the Sunnylea junior school and the last thing we needed in the neighbourhood was idiots like him, who look ridiculous in their pseudo racing garb, blowing by Stop Signs.
After all, the street four times a day is filled with frazzled mothers half towing their kids to the school, and too many nannies pushing personnel-carrier-sized strollers while dragging another toddler and walking the family dog while concentrating on their  cell phone. It's bad enough that too many cars sort of pretend to stop. Introduce some psychos and some kids are going to be sideswiped while the harried mothers and oblivious nannies may be too busy to notice.
It was clear in my exchange with the Lance Armstrong wannabe that he was one of what Strobel and others have called the bicyc-cult. He used all the code words which are supposed to aggrandize any holy green person travelling by a bike AND THEREFORE NOT POLLUTING, except for what comes out of their mouth.
And I don't even suspect this guy was as out-of-control as the drunken madman who assaulted a former A-G and blighted the life of a bright and pleasant lawyer. His only crimes were restless ambition, and not realizing that when he drove downtown, you stay as far away from cyclists as possible so they don't pound your hood or kick your fender at the next stop light.
I never used to hate bicycles, even though my experiences aren't that great.
I once stepped out of a King St. E restaurant and was hit by a cyclist roaring down the sidewalk close to the door.  Didn't bother me that much because of the pleasure I took that he was more hurt then I was.
I had a prominent accountant whose lady, a high-ranking CBC exec, was hit by a cyclist on a bike lane and spent years in a coma before she died. I certainly think about that every time I see one of those damned bike lanes that cripple traffic on too many block for the sake of a few and are often empty for most of the day or in winter.
A teen-ager trying to impress some man hit me on Bloor St. E. a month ago, but fortunately, he was just walking the bike as he yammered, and I saved myself from falling into traffic.
I used to ride an old bike a lot. Delivering papers before the age of the adult carrier. I even delivered dry cleaning on a bike in the winter in a town that didn't believe in plowing that much.
For some years I joined my sons, and later a Sun team, to participate in those charity bike rides. I stopped because I really didn't think they were much of a feat.
Still, there was nothing nicer on a hot summer evening when I was trapped in the city than to cruise through the quieter city and get some air. So I do know what it's like to compete with tons of flying metal. I had a tow truck cut me off so I almost crashed my bike into a ditch. I caught him at the next Stop Sign and said I would like to either punch his nose through the window or at the side of the road . He didn't want to play because I was bigger and angry.
This city spends too much money and too much time on cyclists. Use the money and debating time on real transportation like the TTC and cars. There are those who would like to have a referendum on just about anything. How about one on bike lanes?  And then, after Torontonians vote 75% or so against bike lanes and in favour of banning cyclists from major arteries during rushhours, we can tackle other impediments to vehicles.
After all, that's the way most people travel in this city and how all goods travel,  Sure there are too many cars with just one person but more than one person on a bike actually attracts the attention of the cops when they're not manning cash register radar traps.
So we could have referendums about speed humps and whether neighbourhoods should be allowed to wall out their neighbours with signage and one-way labyrinths.
By the time we finish voting, and democracy rules instead of anti-car activists, mouthy cyclists and their captive pols, we may have a safer city where traffic actually can move, the daily commuting headaches will be eased and  you feel you can actually walk down a sidewalk without fearing the mouthy green monsters.

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