Lady, can’t you read?

Heads will roll dept.

Today in the Toronto Star and Car Advertiser, a couple great letters to the editor appeared. That they both found print is a remarkable fact. We predict, as usual, that Heads will roll.

Letter no. 1:

We need to curb our affection for wheels

Nov 03, 2007 04:30 AM

He just got it … they all have it …

are you next?

Special section, Nov. 1

In this enlightening special section, diabetes is described as the “price of a sedentary lifestyle.” Paul Dalby writes that to avoid an increased risk of developing this crippling affliction, we must curb our affections for the car and become more physically fit. Yet the Star is a newspaper that publishes three “Wheels” sections on Saturdays. Perhaps the Star needs to reflect further on the message it sends to its readers through the publication of such material.

Elissa Ross, Toronto

To which we imagine the testy editor replying: “Lady, can’t you read? It’s a car advertiser. That’s what we do. If you don’t like it, get your news somewhere else!”

But the Star and Car Advertiser is taking it from all sides these days.

Letter no. 2: This one is in response to a letter published by the Star and Car Advertiser from some deep thinker, who chose to attack the subject of a previously published article decrying cycling conditions in the city of Toronto (we blobbed about this story here). The attack took the familiar form of “blaming the victim” saying that the fact she’d been hit by cars more than once indicates she must be a “bad cyclist” and should take a CAN-BIKE course. Her response is a must-read:

Leaflets would suffice to help cyclists in T.O.

Nov 03, 2007

Bike lanes not safe enough

Letter, Oct. 31

I figured that at least one person would write a letter suggesting that my accidents are my fault. I thought about that and about the CAN-BIKE suggestion.

CAN-BIKE, organized by the Canadian Cycling Association, is designed for less experienced cyclists. Ironically, one of its suggestions – that cyclists occupy the middle of the lane where the lanes are too narrow for cars to safely pass – is what got me hit once.

When I reflect on what I’ve learned that resulted in reducing the five accidents in my first eight months in Toronto to only two accidents in my next eight months, it’s simply that values are different in this city than they are elsewhere in the country. In fact, I think CAN-BIKE courses could be much shorter and more to the point if they simply handed everyone a leaflet that said: “Welcome to Toronto. Here, motorists value their time and convenience much more highly than they value your life. They will jeopardize your life in order to save themselves time or effort. Happy trails!”

Kristen Courtney, Toronto

One Response to “Lady, can’t you read?”


    I'm thinking the "Lady, Can't You Read" slogan could become the next big thing, as Toronto mortorists catch on to the new CAN-BIKE educational materials Kristen Courtney proposes. Every time a mortorist cuts off a cyclist, passes too closely, or parks in the bikelane, they could toss the pamphlet to any agitated cyclist nearby.

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