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My Letter To Rob Ford

Blog posts reflect the views of their authors.
My Letter To Rob Ford

Dear Mayor Ford,

As the mayor of this city, you are charged with the safety and concern of all its people, not just the ones you like or identify with. I am a cyclist who has suffered an accident because there was no bike lane for me to ride in. Right after the accident, good people got out of their cars and helped me to the side of the road and stayed with me while we waited for the ambulance to arrive. I was quite shaken up and these perfect strangers showed me a world of compassion. The police that appeared on the scene deemed that neither they, nor myself were at fault for the incident, but that a bike lane would have avoided the whole thing.
The response time for the emergency services was excellent, as well; the personnel were kind and very professional. Im glad this city still spends tax dollars on these life saving services.  
I arrived at the hospital and was waiting for a bed to become available, and as I lay there, still bloody, with my tooth in a rubber glove beside me, I thought of your words. I thought of the fact that according to you what happened to me was my fault and that if I had died, as many have before me, that you wouldn't lose a wink of sleep and you would have blamed me, simply for trying to bike in this city. 
I am taking the time to write to you, because I have just been through a near-death experience and it has provided some clarity on what is really important in life. 
Whether you have been a decent mayor is not what I want to discuss; what's more important is whether you have been a decent human being. You have decided that cyclists are not a concern to you, and you have made up a paranoid delusion that there is a 'war on the car' and made other people believe it. You believe that 'car' people and 'bike' people are somehow different classes of people and you have done what you can to pit these groups against each other. Worst of all, you have forgotten what it means to be a compassionate loving person, capable of empathy and remorse. I really think you should take time out of city politics to get back in touch with these qualities--the qualities you claimed to have when you were elected. You think the world is dog eat dog (and you are trying to be the biggest, baddest dog out there). But the truth is, that is not the case. People haven't launched a 'war on the car', but you have spun fear into the hearts of drivers and bikers alike, making them think there is. 
What I witnessed after my accident reflected the exact opposite reality. Folk came together and helped me in my time of need. No one thought of each other as 'car' or 'bike' people, just as people, sharing this experience of living in this great city of Toronto, and willing to help each other when we are down. 
I am still recovering, but I will be getting back on the road. This has not deterred me from wanting to get around this city on bicycle; most of the time it is a healthy and environmentally friendly option to get around and I urge you to try it. If you did I'm sure you would see how badly more bike lanes and better education for drivers is needed so you can get around safely. That Toronto Sun journalist certainly did.
Respect for cyclists isn't a new idea. Many cities around the world have far better infrastructure for cyclists than Toronto does. It has been proven that better infrastructure for cyclists lowers accident rates and improves driving time for cars as well. 
Please prove my friends wrong and show that you do indeed have a brain, and a heart, and that both are operating in good condition. 
Here's hoping you take a minute before reacting to truly hear what i have said.
See you on the road. Please don't be on your phone or reading some reports, or giving the finger to mothers and their children - you might miss me.
Taylor Flook



update: I received this letter from Mayor Ford's office in response. It stands in stark contrast to the outpouring of support I have since received online. 

From: Mayor Ford <>
Date: Tue, Aug 27, 2013 at 3:14 PM
Subject: Re: Fwd: bike lanes (Fiiling a claim against the city)
To: taylor flook <**********@****.***>

Thank you for contacting the Mayor’s Office
The Mayor cannot act on, comment on  or adjuciate claims made against the City of Toronto. The City’s insurance adjusters  Granite Insurance – adjudicate all claims against the city.

Making a Claim against the City of Toronto
If you believe that the City has been negligent in its maintenance of City facilities, roads, trees and sewers, which has caused bodily injury or damage to your property, you can file a claim against the City of Toronto.
What you should consider when making a claim
Any damage to your property can be upsetting and disruptive; however, it's important to know that the City of Toronto is not your insurer.
If you have auto or property insurance, we suggest you consult your insurance company or broker first, for advice on how to deal with your loss. Your insurance coverage may be more extensive than what you can recover from the City.
If your insurer believes the City is responsible for your damages they may seek compensation against the City on your behalf.

A complaint may be made in a number of ways:
•       Verbal complaints are made by telephone to our General Inquiry line at (416) 397-4212.
•       Written complaints may be made by filling in a complaint form and submitting it by mail, fax or e-mail:
•       By Mail:
Corporate Finance Division
Insurance & Risk Management - Claims Complaint
5th Floor, East Tower, City Hall
100 Queen Street West, Toronto, ON, M5H 2N2
•       By Fax:   416-397-4555
•       By e-mail:
Your complaint should include the following:
•       Contact details of the complainant
•       Summary of the complaint (details, location, staff involved, resolution requested, enclosures, date complaint submitted)
•       Type of the complaint
•       Desired outcome
Note: The complaint process is not intended to deal with the outcome of your claim (e.g. a denial or settlement amount). The insurance claims process involves you (the claimant) and the Granite Claims Solutions insurance adjuster assigned to act on behalf of the City's liability insurance policy. If your claim has been denied, your remedy is to seek independent legal advice.

As noted under Insurance Claims above, the City's insurance adjuster pays only when the City is legally liable which is determined by them considering your proof of claim.

The City's insurance adjuster's assessment of your claim is final and it can only be reviewed by them if you can provide additional relevant evidence to support your claim which was not considered by the adjuster originally.
Best Wishes

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1177 words


Are you for real

People like yourself sicken me to my core, not going to say much else or otherwse I would be lumped in with you.  

Care to elaborate?

Care to elaborate?

in-credible is that there are people like you.  Keep our opinions out in the dirty east my friend.

The process involves

The process involves gathering relevant financial information, setting life goals, examining your current financial status and coming up with a strategy or plan for how you can meet your goals given your current situation and future plans. budgeting-articles


Thank you for this exceptionally well written letter.  You've captured the Toronto cycling problem perfectly and you've really highlighted how far a little human kindness and compassion can go.  

I hope he takes your advice, gets a cruiser and follows you up the high road.
Get well soon and hope to you see you in a bike lane before too long!

get well

Taylor. Sorry to hear about your incident.  I do 8000km of commuting by bicycle annually, and can certainly sympathize with you.

This may not have to do with your incident specifically, however when you do get back out there, try to take the lane wherever possible.  By controlling your position you can possibly prevent people from trying to squeeze by.  Any lane you are in IS a bike lane.   Your safety is more important than courtesy.


Safe riding

respect works both ways

I firmly believe that is cyclists want to share the road and be respected they need to follow the rules of the road. I think the following 9 points should be laws. And tickets handed out to those who no not follow them.

1 - ride single file, just as cars do. Not three wide on the shoulder.

2- signal before turning or changing lanes and stopping!

3- wear a 'flipping' helmet! At all times!!! Chin strap done up!

4- wear high visibility gear - like the city road crews and construction sites do. Is it more dangerous to ride your bike in traffic?? or work in traffic? We mandate the high visibilty for workers. Why not cycalists. There have been many nights when a bike comes along side me in the dark and the rider is in all black. The rider flips me the bird when I cut him off!  If I can clearly see you - I won't hit you!

5- Lights!!!!!!!!!!!!! A white head light and a red tail light - just like all other vehicules on the road must have.

6- Don't come to a stop light on the road and then cross the intersection at the cross walk to beat the light. Are you on the road? or the sidewalk??

7- Riding with all means of bags, cases, guitars strapped to yourself is not safe. Wobbling down the street off balance.... not being able to see behind you

8- have a horn or a bell. When coming up along side traffic - make noise so we can hear you. When passing slower cycalists, make noise to warn them you are coming

9- NO EAR PHONES!! NO CEL PHONES! You need to be able to hear what is going on around you. It is illegal to wear headphones and use cel phones when driving - to prevent distracted drivers and possible accidents. I have seen a cycalist run right into a parked car on the phone! Seriously!!

I ride my bike through the city, I always wear a helmet, have lights on (even in the day) and put on a high Visibility shirt. I have never in 9 years had a problem. I follow all rules of the road and respect all vehicules on the road that I am sharing

Life sucks

Sorry about your accident.  I'm not sure what your expecatations are and why you choose to lay the blame for your accident on the Mayor as opposed to the driver of the car or posssibly even yourself.  I do know of what I speak, I was involved in a bike accident as well and as it turned out it was my error that led to the accident, would a bike lane have changed the outcome, maybe.  But in the end it was my veering out to far away from the curb into the path of a vehicle that caused the accident.  I have no expecations of teh city providing bike lanes on each and every road and think that too many cyclists are expecting and demanding too too much.  I lok at roads with bike lanse and see that far to few riders are even taking advantadge and people must realize that there is a cost involved be it financially or the reduction of traffice lanes which has a direct impact on teh cost of doing business in a city.




You are a hero(ine)

Dear Taylor,

Thank you for writing this. Many people in your situation would have simply focused on healing themselves, and not trying to heal a damaged system. You are a true heroine, and those sending ugly remarks on this forum should really be ashamed of themselves.

History will show that a) bicycling is a way out of our dead-end, climate-wrecking system; b) your loving approach is what will get us through the chaos that is surely coming; and c) a healthy sense of humor is vital to maintaining our dignity as human beings - car-drivers and bikers alike. That letter from the mayor's office is, um, hilarious.

If you haven't already, check out these two videos. They will inspire you! (Bikes vs. Cars - includes Canada's least-favorite mayor, and visions of a better life)  (Groningen - biking paradise)


Best of luck, and my heartfelt wishes for a speedy recovery,

Vanessa (also a bike-on-car accident survivor)

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