It's Your Turn: Cycling Advisory Committee Nominations Now Open

Tired of exasperating drivers cutting you off during your ride to work? Are you sick of having to swerve into traffic in order to miss those huge potholes in the street? How do you feel about the lack of any major east-west bike lane? If you have an opinion regarding cycling in Toronto that you think is worth defending, maybe it's time to step up and get yourself nominated for the new Toronto Cycling Advisory Committee.

Nominations are now open for the next two-year term (ending Nov. 30, 2010), and will remain open until Wednesday, July 18th at 4:30pm (sharp!). There have been some changes made compared to the previous cycling committees- there won't be any representatives from local cycling groups or from the Toronto Pedestrian Committee. Unless, of course, you belong to any of these organizations and you decide to help out with the Cycling Advisory Committee.

Councillor A. A. Heaps has been recently appointed as the Chair of the TCAC, and Toronto City Council will appoint eight citizens-at-large to join him, after a series of application procedures. A short list of nominees will be compiled at the end of this month, and then interviews will take place. A report will then be forwarded to the Planning and Growth Management Committee, and their recommendations will be given to Toronto City Council at the end of September.

The TCAC meets on a quarterly basis (that's it?!?), and responsibilities include representing the interests of cyclists in the city, and assisting with other TCAC work, like their newsletters and the annual Bike Week event. Successful applicants must possess a broad interest and knowledge of cycling (duh), and be able to devote the the time necessary to prepare for meetings and participate in various special initiatives the committee plans. They're specifically looking for people with a knowledge in marketing, education, public relations and communications, public/private enterprises, fund-raising and advocacy. It helps if your a CAN-BIKE graduate, too.

If you're looking to advocate change towards increasing the safety of cyclists in the city (not to mention leaving the air a bit cleaner, and everyone in our communities a bit healthier), check out the TCAC's website, or contact Frank Baldassini, Committee Secretary, Toronto Cycling Advisory Committee, at (416) 395-7337 or email him at [email protected].

I really think cycling is the optimum mode of transportation in this city. When I moved here four years ago, one of the first things I did was sell my Honda CRV. That was when I lived up in North York, and even then, having a car was more of a burden than a help. With the impending climate crisis looming, how can anyone with an ounce of compassion even think to drive their car downtown when there are so many smart alternatives. Cycling keeps you healthy, creates almost no pollution, and causes less damage to our city streets (think of the money we'd save on health care and road maintenance). Cycling on a daily basis is getting more and more popular, and I think the Toronto Cycling Advisory Committee is going to have to adjust to the surge of cyclists. Starting, in my opinion, with more frequent, regular meetings. Hopefully, the new committee is up to the task.

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