Facebook Contest: Save Cycling in Toronto
updated December 21, 2010 By Shanny Hill
Help us create a campaign to combat Toronto Mayor Rob Ford's stance on cycling in the city.
At the end of July 2011 our first ever bike tour of North America, the North American Epic (NAE), will roll into our hometown of Toronto and we’d like to use the opportunity to send a message to our somewhat controversial Mayor about his stance regarding cyclists in the city.
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, like many people brought up in a car culture, doesn’t seem to appreciate the utility and efficiency of the bicycle. His public statements and actions demonstrate a clear stance that prefers motorized traffic over human powered transport. We love our city and the large cycling community here is pretty upset at our new Mayor’s attitude towards our beloved sport. We want to change his mind and we’re willing to bribe you to help.
We’ve got our hands on 10 books from bike blogger extraordinaire, Bike Snob New York City (BSNYC), and we’re running a contest to generate ideas of how to best address the issue with our Mayor. When the NAE rolls into Toronto in July, we’ll launch a campaign, based on your ideas, to change his mind and improve cycling in the city.
So here’s the deal:
If you’ve never read BSNYC’s blog I highly recommend you check it out: http://bikesnobnyc.blogspot.com/. Few people critique the world of cycling and its myriad absurdities as well, or as humorously, as Bike Snob New York City. He also has a monthly column with Bicycling Magazine.
Until Jan 21st we’ll be accepting submissions of ideas that can help change our Mayor’s stance regarding bicycles. We’re committed to taking the best of these ideas and making them a reality but there are a few criteria:
1. The idea has to be civil.
If you want to use this as an opportunity to vent your frustration about the lack of vision of certain public officials that’s OK, and humor is always welcome. But realize we won’t take your idea seriously if it slanders or proposes any kind of action that would be considered in poor taste.
2. The idea has to be doable.
We’re a small company and we need ideas that can be effective with out being overly expensive or complex.
Those of you who come up with the 10 best ideas will each receive a copy of the BSNYC book. But that’s not all…
When the North American Epic arrives in Toronto on July 27, 2011 we will launch a campaign, using your ideas, to convince Mayor Ford and his supporters to reconsider their stance on the importance of cycling in and around the city. Who knows, a successful campaign here in Toronto may help us recreate similar initiatives in other cities on our route in future years. We certainly hope so.
What kind of ideas are we talking about?
The brain trust here at the office has come up with a few potential ideas:
The Bloomberg Meet and Greet.
Unlike Mayor Ford, Mayor Bloomberg has overseen the construction of more than 200 miles (320km) of bike lanes in the city that never sleeps and ridership has doubled since 2005. Cycling related accidents have remained level during the same period. Perhaps a meeting between the two will help convince Mayor Ford that you can be rich and powerful and still be a proponent for positive change.
The Free Trip.
Send Mr. Ford on a trip to the Netherlands (no not permanently). Cities like Amsterdam and Rotterdam are great examples of how bicycle and pedestrian traffic can be integrated into a cities infrastructure. We know the Mayor will enjoy the coffee houses, maybe he’ll also learn a thing or two about the positive economic and environmental impact a pro-bike policy can have on a city.
The Poster Campaign.
Who doesn’t love a good poster? The idea is to create an info-graphic that demonstrates how bikes can reduce pollution, save gas, reduce traffic, free up parking space, reduce obesity and generally improve the quality of life of a city’s residents.
Any any and all ideas are welcome but remember we’re not interested in creating controversy or promoting a war on cars. We simply believe that a city’s infrastructure should accommodate all forms of traffic, whether a car, bike or pedestrian and that our public officials should be innovative and proactive in dealing with tough problems. Ideas that educate cyclists and drivers, create informed debate and propose cost effective solutions are the way forward. We also encourage you to come up with ideas that are fun.
We’re open to any ideas you may have. And feel free to take the ideas above and make them your own, think them through a little more and see where it takes you. We’re just a bunch of guys who like cycling and want to join in the movement to improve cycling in our city.
And we need talented people like you to help.
Two ways to submit your ideas:
1. You can post it our Facebook page (you’ll have to ‘like’ our page first). When you visit our page you’ll notice a new tab called “Contests”. Click on that tab and submit your entry.
Note: The contest page on Facebook only allows for essay type entries. If you have a photo or video to go along with you entry then please submit it to us via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
2. If you don’t use Facebook or want your submission to remain anonymous you can also email your entry by sending a message to email@example.com. We will post any ideas submitted via email to our Facebook Page so it can be voted on but you can remain anonymous if you like (just let us know in the email).
The more developed your idea is, the better chance it has of course. For example “Get more people to ride bikes” is a good idea but unlikely to win.
However “Here’s an info graphic I designed that demonstrates the average commute time for a bike vs a car in rush hour that shows bikes are actually faster based on the latest data from… I suggest we print posters and distribute them all over the city.” Would be a pretty killer idea.
After the 30 day submission period there will be a 15 day voting period on Facebook. The top 10 ideas with the most votes will get a great book from BSNYC and the opportunity to turn that idea into a real campaign to make a difference in Toronto and possibly other cities in North America.
When the NAE rolls into Toronto in July 2011 we’ll announce the launch of our campaign to improve cycling in the city.
Submit your ideas under the Contest Tab on our Facebook Page
(You may have to 'like' our page first)
(You may have to 'like' our page first)
Here are some resources to help you learn more about Mayor Ford, important facts about cycling and what other cities are doing to create change:
Sign the Petition:
Roads are for Cars?
I Bike T.O.:
Bikes Belong – A great resource for facts and ideas:
Make it Fun:
Rob Ford News: (it’s not going to be easy)
It’s our Fault:
We’re a pain in the Ass:
On Public Transport:
Have fun and good luck!