â€œIâ€™ve been riding my bike for nearly 40 years in the city, and itâ€™s high time we have something like a union,â€ Ms. Marks explained last weekend. â€œI donâ€™t fly around like the youngsters. But if we were able to have better bike lanes and benefits like a union, youâ€™d see more people out here who are my age.â€
Believed to be a global first, the union already has enrolled hundreds of card-carrying members since it formed in May. Modeled on auto programs like AAA, the union plans to offer members insurance, roadside assistance, and advocacy on their behalf â€“ all for a $24 annual fee.
â€œOur primary goal is give a voice to urban cyclists who use their bikes in their daily lives as a mode of transportation,â€ explains David Meslin, founder of the Toronto Cyclists Union. â€œCyclists donâ€™t feel safe on the streets, and if they know there is a group fighting for safer conditions, I believe a lot more will join.â€