Home > Advocacy

Jordan Peterson doesn’t seem to understand winter cycling in Canada

The controversial professor has some strong opinions about cycling infrastructure

Photo by: Jordan Peterson/Twitter

Dr. Jordan Peterson, a professor emeritus of the University of Toronto and public speaker, has shared his opinions about the Yonge Street bike lanes saga. On Monday, Toronto council voted to make the infrastructure permanent, but not everyone was happy about it.

Brian Lilley, writing for the Toronto Sun, said that the bike lanes should be removed in his piece. “City Hall needs to put safety ahead of ideology on Yonge bike lanes,” he writes. There is a pro-car lobby group, BeRationalTO, that has had a petition since 2021, promoting the idea that the additional bike paths have increased congestion and made it dangerous for emergency services. “Residents in this area say that they want to see clear data from the city on emergency response times but are being stonewalled. Requests for this data were denied, according to BeRationalTO, and the report on making the bike lanes permanent doesn’t show relevant information,” Lilley writes.

Bike lanes make Yonge safer

Both these claims have been refuted by Yonge4All’s spokespeople.

“Those opposed to the Midtown Yonge Complete Street disregard the data that show that bike lanes and other complete street elements benefit local businesses, keep everyone safer—even drivers!—and do not hinder emergency services from responding to calls in a timely manner,” Robin Richardson says.

Some of the anti-bike lane lobbyists question the data, despite the city having collected and presenting it to the public. Richardson says that the numbers are part of an ongoing refocus to get people out of their cars, and to use bikes or walking.

Data is reliable

“City council voted unanimously to approve both TransformTO, which calls for 75 per cent of work/school trips less than 5-km long to be made by walking, cycling and transit and Vision Zero which seeks to eliminate serious injuries and deaths from traffic incidents across the city. Councillors know that Midtown Yonge Complete Street helps to achieve both of these objectives. Additionally, city staff have done an amazing job of consultation, adaptation, data collection and analysis,” she said.

Peterson, whose outspoken views have often divided people on the Internet, weighed in on the bike lanes.

He used a common, and easily refuted argument that Canadians can’t ride their bikes all year long.

If he is suggesting that Torontonians can’t ride their bikes all year long, thankfully there are several handy dandy articles on Canadian Cycling Magazine with some tricks and tips.