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Two Toronto councillors - Del Grande and Wong-Tam, feel that motorcyclists are getting too good a deal in this city. It's OK that we can't use HOV lanes, or park in regular parking lots, or that we pay higher road taxes than we should - now they want to rescind our free parking:
I just sent my councillor a message about this as below. You should do the same, as it appears that even though the story broke today, they vote tomorrow. Oh, and maybe show some support by forwarding our manifesto
Dear Mr Layton,
(Don Peat (as the original author of the story) Marina Mann (our CEO/CMO) CC'ed)
I understand after reading this article (http://www.torontosun.com/2011/11/29/motorcycle-free-parking-faces-to-ban) that Toronto council intends to vote on the issue of rescinding free motorcycle parking in the city. As my representative on council, I wanted you to understand that this would not be in the best interests of the city.
Firstly, the arguments being advanced by Del Grande and Wong-Tam are, to say the least, biased: While motorcyclists do indeed burn gas, they burn significantly less of it, especially in urban centres. That they also can't name a dollar figure being lost is somewhat odd. How would they know the law was a success, for example?
Secondly, we take up significantly less road, both whilst driving and parked. We also cause far less damage to the surface due to lighter vehicles. Of course, if this is about fairness it would be reflected in our significantly lower road taxes but that is not the case.
Thirdly, forcing motorcyclists to pay for parking in the city centre would all but ban them, which is an odd choice as the province has recently prioritized motorcycle tourism as a growth area. As it stands, motorcycles are already discriminated against by being disallowed from most parking lots. On-street parking is often difficult to find as it is and with Toronto's ticket based system, we would have no way of demonstrating we had paid - we don't have a dashboard to leave a ticket in. Maybe the councillors think replacing all the meters would fix that? Sounds like a net spend to me.
There's also the timing aspect. I know it's often slow to change the law, but this would seem to be a simply by-law change and thus happen quickly which makes November a strange month to push it through. There's only one or two of us brave souls out there still riding. There's no lost revenue to collect for at least four-six months.
The company I am a founder of, EatSleepRIDE, is about advancing the causes of motorcyclists everywhere. We even recently wrote a manifesto about how motorcycles can make this city, indeed any city, better (http://eatsleepride.com/c/4418/We+the+Motorcycles+Are+Here+to+Save+Toronto) from a traffic perspective. I would dearly love to find a way to get this discussed at the various government levels.
As such, I would humbly ask that you:
a) Vote against this bill tomorrow.
b) Ask the councillor(s) if they are looking for parity in the one area where are treated well, how do they intend to address the many areas where we are discriminated on (excessively high road taxes, unable to use HOV lanes, unable to use public and private parking lots /etc)?
c) Remind the council that there is no loss to them for at least 4-6 months and that all their constituents are best served by taking advantage of this time to study the facts
d) Allow me some time to meet with you, so that we can discuss how motorcycles can be better represented as positive modes of urban transport.