James D. Schwartz, writer of The Urban Country and a self-proclaimed “bicycle pragmatist,” ends the above video with a clear message: “Don’t let the media distract you from the real problem on our streets: dangerous and distracted driving.”
Beginning at Crawford Street, the video records cyclists travelling eastbound on College through Little Italy, past Bathurst and Spadina and finally turning onto Beverley Street, near U of T, and heading south. Notable is the fact that the route follows two of the downtown core’s elusive bike lanes, and, not surprising, the video pointedly shows those lanes blocked by vehicles.
Schwartz’s video joins an ongoing and not always polite conversation about the behaviour of cyclists and drivers in the city. The Toronto Star article Schwartz refers to, published on June 5, quotes an angry south Etobicoke resident who observes haughtily that “95% of cyclists don’t stop at red lights.” Recently, an open letter by Emma Woolley, a cyclist herself, asking bad-apple cyclists to stop giving the considerate ones a bad name was met with both applause and criticism—which should come as no surprise. In this debate, one that crops up unfailingly each spring and summer, consensus is stubbornly rare.