My platform for the Toronto Cyclists Union Board of Directors

I’m running for a position on the Toronto Cyclist Union’s Board of Directors. Below is roughly what I’d have said in our Annual General Meeting on May 2, were it not for the overwhelming number of candidates! This (along with all the other candidates’ similar information) will  be distributed to all of the bike union members prior to the AGM.

If you’re a cyclist in Toronto, or interested in cycling in Toronto, I suggest you join the Bike Union and attend our Annual General Meeting on May 2 at CSI Annex at 720 Bathurst St.

If you have questions for me, please post them here!

Biography

Joe Drew is a Firefox developer and political activist. His passions include green and sustainable living; rational, fact-based government; and working with all members of the political spectrum to find good solutions for everyone.

At the beginning of 2012, Joe co-founded CodeRedTO, an activist group designed to get Toronto’s transit expansions back on track with Light Rail Transit (LRT) where it made most sense. He is ecstatic that council has chosen the fully-funded, rational plan of LRT on Sheppard, Finch and Eglinton.

Joe firmly believes that Toronto’s whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and that the magic of Toronto comes from people interacting in ways never predicted by a place’s creators. His fundamental view on life is that people should treat each other the way they’d like to be treated.

He currently lives in Toronto’s east end with his wife and their three cats. He bikes to work whenever he can, using side streets, park trails, bike lanes and major streets on his commute to work.

Platform

Toronto is for people. For too long, we’ve been focused on the divisions between us; trying to win, as if Toronto was a zero-sum game. As a member of the board of the Cyclists’ Union, I would bring a spirit of inclusiveness and co-operation to our goal of legitimizing cycling. Being inclusive—recognizing the basic humanity in every person in Toronto—is the only way our organization can hope to achieve its goals.

I believe that bikes belong on every street, at any time of day, in any season. With the spirit of co-operation driving me, though, I don’t think this implies that every street needs bike lanes. Instead, we should look at the network as a whole: adding bike lanes where possible and practical; creating more walkable and livable whole streets to serve more Torontonians, especially the local community; and most importantly, teaching Toronto to share the roads maturely between pedestrians, bikes, transit, and cars.

Further to my goal of being inclusive, I strongly believe that it’s time we had a mature discussion about cyclists (dis)obeying traffic laws. Some cyclists in Toronto have fostered a culture of wilful disobedience when it comes to the laws. At best, this frustrates drivers, making a somewhat strained relationship more adversarial; at worst, it can put others’ lives at risk. We, members of the bike union, should exemplify good behaviour, and we should advocate for others to follow our lead. If the public’s impression of cyclists remains one of wanton rule breakers, it’ll be hard to bring them onside with our goals.

As a Firefox developer, I would bring a strong technical background to the Board of Directors, and given the opportunity, I would put my abilities to good use for the organization’s projects and web sites. As co-founder of CodeRedTO, I would bring success in advocacy and effective social media to the Board, skills that would be of great use.

I hope to be able to bring a spirit of openness, inclusiveness and co-operation to the Bike Union (or Cycle Toronto!)’s board. With this helpful spirit, cycling in Toronto can go far.

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