Normally we don’t report on provincial Canadian politics. In fact we have never before reported on provincial Canadian politics, but there’s a first time for everything, right?
We’ve always thought Canadians were up there with the more enlightened European nations when it comes to advocating cycling in urban areas. We might have to think again, at least as far as the city of Toronto is concerned. How else to explain that Rob Ford, the current front-running mayoral candidate for the city is actually taken remotely seriously after making this statement in a council meeting?
Nice touch, that bit about how his heart bleeds for those dead citizens who had the temerity to ride a bike on the road. Ford made the statement in 2007 but there is little evidence to suggest his stance has changed in the interim and judging by this item in Toronto's Globe and Mail, there are plenty more "colourful" remarks where the above came from.
In other Canadian cities, notably Montreal in whose Gazette newspaper we came across the quote, attitudes are more progressive. Indeed Montreal’s Bixi Bike hire scheme is effectively the model for its London counterpart which uses the same bikes and docking station infrastructure.
The author of the Gazette article expresses how lucky he feels to live in Montreal rather than a city run by a politician like Ford who is “stuck in the car-centred, 1950s mindset.” Mind you, judging by his waistline, even if Councillor Ford does take up the mayoral chains of office there are no guarantees about his tenure. He looks like he might have a heart-attack scheduled for circa 2012. There's a lot to be said for shark-swimming...