Gregor Robertson issues written apology on red light incident

Post by Daniel Fontaine in


Good follow-up coverage from CBC TV on the "Red Light Robertson" story

Who would have thought that sitting in my office and shooting a bit of video of countless cyclists breaking the rules of the road could translate into such a hot debate? But it did. Dozens of people weighed in yesterday on both sides of the debate and it made for very interesting reading. For their part, the cyclist lobby were trying to divert attention away from the video and onto other more salient issues such as the driving habits of bad car drivers. The other camp piled on and suggested there needs to be more enforcement to reduce the number of bad cyclists on the road. But somewhat lost in all this banter was the man who actually got the whole debate started – Mayor Gregor Robertson.

Last evening both CTV and CBC television (see above) ran great stories and interviewed Michele MacDonald, a very well-spoken transit driver who recounted her version of events regarding her altercation with the Mayor. By all accounts, it was a rather frightening experience for both her and the passengers. Needless to say, as the story went to air I thought we'd also get the Mayor’s version of events which would include a mea culpa. Well, it never happened.

In what some might perceive as a tad arrogant, Robertson chose not to do any television interviews yesterday. He opted to send the media a written statement from his 3rd floor "bunker" at City Hall instead. Here is what he told CTV:

"It was a good lesson for me and I hope it serves as a reminder to everyone to use caution and follow the rules when out on the road..."

I’m told by a good source that his communication spin doctors realized putting him out there on the heels of his infamous “effing NPA hacks” statement was probably not a good idea. After all, who knows what the Mayor could say or do next?

The public was left with a reasonable sounding transit driver who provided a very public scolding of a Mayor that normally jumps at every opportunity to do a bicycle story. In the end, the Mayor looked like he was hiding – yet again. However, if he and his crafty spin meisters were a little cleverer, they could have used this as an opportunity to gain a few points with the public who are increasingly growing weary of Robertson’s lack openness and transparency.

Robertson clearly should have come out in front of the cameras and admitted his mistake, then committed himself to working on a public information campaign about the need for cycling safety. How about Vision buying a few billboards with the Mayor’s mug shot exclaiming “Run a Red, Risk Your Life”? Or better yet “Only losers don’t wear helmets.” Okay, I’ll leave it to the pros in Vision's massive communications department to come up with the right marketing spin to make their boss look good.

For better or worse, Gregor Robertson is Vancouver's most famous (or is it infamous) cyclist. If this were the Tour de France, following closely on his heels would be Vision councillor Geoff Meggs. A few months ago he was seriously injured after he failed to halt at a stop sign. Here is an excerpt from Megg's interview with Mike Howell at the Vancouver Courier:

Vision Vancouver Coun. Geoff Meggs’s memory of his bike crash March 9 is foggy but he’s got a theory on how it happened. Meggs was riding south on Angus Drive and approaching the intersection at 43rd Avenue when the collision occurred. There’s a stop sign on Angus Drive.

“Although I don’t remember it, and I don’t make a practice of ignoring any traffic signs, the only way I could have wound up where I was is if I had missed that stop sign,” Meggs recalled Wednesday.

The Mayor's profile provides him with a great opportunity to set a high standard for Vancouver's youth when it comes to the  importance of bike safety. As Chair of the Police Board, he is also in a good position to influence a whole lot of adults who think regularly breaking transportation laws is a perfectly acceptable thing to do.

I’m told by people close to the Mayor and his advisors that he’s just laughing this one off as a middle-of-the-summer story that will fade away quickly. Their hope is everyone is simply too busy on the BBQ circuit to be paying much attention to the Mayor’s foibles in the hot and hazy days of late July. They’re probably right on that score.

However, given all the bad press the Mayor’s had lately, a trip to his exclusive resort property on Cortes Island is still looking mighty appealing right about now. And the good thing is the Island doesn’t have a daily newspaper and the Mayor is still considered by some locals as a bit of a folk hero.

So Mr. Mayor, why don't you sit back, relax and enjoy the current summer recess of council. That's because by this time next year every politico in town will be gunning for your job (and that may include some within your own Vision party...more to come on that soon) and gearing up for a very crucial 2011 municipal election. As a self-described died-in-the-wool civic watcher, this should all make for great television.

- Post by Daniel


Ahh I can see it coming

the NPA election Ad

A stop light with Robertson's photo inside the red light and a red circle with a red slash through it.

Stop Robertson!

it could serve the dual purpose of reminding the Mayor to stop for red lights and remind voters enough of the the tomfoolery of the mayor and his gang...

Thanks Mayor Robertson... keep em coming lol

The possibilities are endless..

First the transit debacle, then this.

Seems the rules only apply to the unwashed masses.

I would refer to that as a 'non apology'.

Now how about apologizes from everyone else who has broken any rules of the road. Productivity would plummet as all we would be doing is apologizing all the time. Canadians already say sorry all the time anyway so maybe we are all just apologizing in advance.

That's hardly an apology. Getting out of your office and saying I'm sorry is more like it. As for dear Richard and his misguided commentary. Need we remind you that the mayor is no ordinary citizen. He is the FREAKIN head of the police department. Don't you get it? Stop being his apologist..

I don't think it's this single action that's gotten people's attention.

Robertson's red light in-action is just a symptom of his consistent arrogance (which fits in with Vision Vancouver.)

It's his arrogance and photo-opp-hunting-smile that have people angered.

STOP hunting for PHOTO-OPS, STOP ducking/dodging/weaseling past the issues and get to MANAGING THE CITY!

Be the mayor you were elected to be!

Stop sending Meggs to take out your dirty laundry & be the mayor you were elected to be!

Where were you when your partisan hack Patti was squandering $1,000's/yr of school money on a VSB office cafeteria? Where were you when that hack wanted schools at very low capacity to stay open? Where were you when olympic protesters were terrorizing torch bearers? Where were you when the heat shelter residents weren't "harmoniously" (your word not mine) existing with tax-paying-voting-residents nearby? Where were you when your Burrard bike lanes were sending some businesses into the red & out of business?

Well, that's all i can think of now... oh yeah... START BEING THE MAYOR YOU WERE ELECTED TO BE, STOP HUNTING FOR PHOTO-OP ISSUES.

Don't be such a tease. Who within Vision is angling to take Gregor down? It's got to be Louie. He's the only one with enough of a support base to make it happen. He'd make a lot more sense than the flake they got as their leader now.

I've just been advised the Ming Pao newspaper is reporting Robertson denies having gone through a red light. This is contrary to what has been reported in the MSM. I don't read Chinese, so can anybody else confirm if that's what they reported today?

Cyclists need to be

1. insured.
2. Required to carry provincially or government issued ids.
3. help pay for these road changes.

Cycling is growing fast in Vancouver. The City of Vancouver tells us that there are 60,000 bike trips taken here on the average day. The Burrard Street bridge has attracted over 1,000,000 cycle trips in the year or so since the bike lane went in. The growth rate is large and it is clear that safe and effective infrastructure attracts cyclists.

Most cyclists that we speak to (many thousands per year) and our members (close to 1,000) ride their bikes around town because it is a fun and easy way to get around. For many trips, we also find it faster than any other way. The health benefits are immediate and personal. The environmental benefits are, quite frankly, welcome but secondary.

We totally agree that cyclists should obey the rules of the road. In fact, we teach these rules in our Streetwise courses and at every other opportunity that we get.

We also agree that everyone should obey the rules of the road. The Mayor made a mistake as we all do - whether by bike, car, truck, or even walking. Good to see he's human and great to see the bus drive do a great job and avoid a potential accident, protecting the cyclists and her passengers in the process.

"Road changes" in the city are paid for through property taxes, which everyone pays, including people who ride bikes.

As far as requiring cyclists to carry id, what would be the point. The police don't even have the resources to crack down on the dangerous driving that is killing 20 to 30 people each year in Vancouver. It is ridiculous to think that the police would waste their time checking to see if cyclists had id.

The Thought of The Day

"I'm sorry I've got caught. Again. For that, I'm truly sorry."

This is what I've got from Robertson's message. And of course, I can only imagine his silent middle finger addressed to all the NPA Hacks out there.
Not taking chances anymore when a microphone is present.

What did you get?
Anyway, next time (aka 'next week') he'll better make use of Brenda Lee's apology. That...I like.

We live in Vancouver and this keeps us busy.

He's leading by example.

Allowing (and have ridden with, when he wanted their votes), the monthly bike pack that clog the intersections in Vancouver.
Now he's showing that he himself doesn't respect the laws of the road which lets some (but not all) cyclists feel they can do things like this:

Thanks for wasting all our money on more bike lanes that are ignored.

This is another great example of Gregor Robertson's extremely poor leadership and self-centred ways. He preaches about make Vancouver a leading city but he is not the best person to represent our community.

His offenses include:

- Makes one sided changes to public roads to "Bikes Rules" but himself does not follow standard road safety rules
- Unprofessional in his acceptance of views of the public at general council meetings
- Only interested in anything that benefits his political and career and not what is best for the citizens of Vancouver
- Does not believe that the rules apply to him i.e. running red lights, does not wear a helmet while biking, and does not pay for the use of public transit

Please citizens of Vancouver, don't re-elect Robertson and salvage our community pride.

Where were you when the heat shelter residents weren't "harmoniously" (your word not mine) existing with tax-paying-voting-residents nearby?


Nathan, I am glad you opened the door on this topic.

The Bosman Hotel in the 1000 block of Howe Street was taken over by the city to be refurbished and used for housing the 'homeless' However, they are operating it under the same parameters as the HEAT shelters - little to know restrictions.

This shelter now has residents.

I work in the 900 block of Howe.

Yesterday as I was heading home, a bike whizzes past me (sidewalk). Aside from the guy on the bike trying to weave around the pedestrians, his helmet was very noticeable. So 1/2 block up and right across the street from the Bosman is this guy selling drugs to a blond haired woman in a drive way by a business. There is a sandwich shop and City Cupcakes right there.

She gets her goods and tries to head back to Bosmans weaving through the oncoming traffic until she reaches the 'gated door', buzzes in and off she goes.

The sad thing - there was another younger woman with her that upon first glance, looks like she does have mental health issues. She stood, blank eyed and child-like, and was left standing on the sidewalk by herself, waiting for the traffic to stop so she could head back as well.

The other woman was waving at her to come and then had just left her.

So, if this younger woman is not yet drug addicted, she will be from being in the environment she is now in.

As for the bike drug courier - male, white, early 20's, light brown short hair, slight build - I think his eyes were blue. The bike was a small build - and his helmet - bright orange with flames on it.

Will take pics in the future.

Thank you to the city for bringing the open drug trade to this neighborhood.

Is there an award for World's Worst Mayor. I think we've got a winner.

World's worst mayor award for Sam Sullivan? Yup, you got that right. He was right up there with King Phillip Owen.

So, Vancouver 24 hours newspaper has this side brief in today's paper:

Bike Talk

Vancouver and Mayor Gregor Robertson are ready to tackle their favorite topic again: bike lanes. The city is holding and information session Aug. 11 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Pacific Centre Mall to discuss a proposed plan to connect the existing Burrard Bridge and Dunsmuir Street bike lanes with new dedicated cycling lanes. Consultations run from now to mid-September.


Correct me if I am wrong - but has the decision not already been made? Several news outlets have reported the 'new route' already.

Let's take a stab at it - the decision is done and this 'consulting process' is once again for show.

Head over to A.G.'s blog and read what these 'bike lanes' are going to cost us.

Oh, and the info on the 'done deal' surrounding the Dunsmuir viaducts is a bloody interesting tidbit as well.

Sorry for the language - but this 'new' NPA hack is past the point of seething.

See, Gregor does insight change. He has moved me to join the NPA to 'fight the evil'.

@ Ken
Please, what does the previous Mayor have to do with Gregor and cyclists behaving badly on public streets.
I don't think Sam even rides a bike.

@ Max

Be sure not to disagree with AGT over there--or you'll be quickly labeled a fascist!

@ Chase

I wonder about this argument that he is pandering to people just to get re-elected/serve his political interests.

If cyclists constitutes 4% of Vancouverites, why would he pander to such a minority? He would guarantee himself a loss...

@ Max, Nathan

Right on, sadly. Many who suffered through the HEAT shelter debacle spoke at the (rubber-stamp) permit board hearing for Bosman's housing of 100+ folk last fall.

Look out! All nearby residents & businesses should know that NO SAFETY precautions were addressed in the operational plans whatsoever.

Advice? Lock up everything, watch the weapons, drug dealers and used syringes proliferate and send your photos to the Media.

The city is in the process of turning "Downtown South" into the new DTES. There is already a "youth" shelter on Burrard near Helmcken, a drop in centre at Helmcken and Richards, just for starters. The neighbourhood went in a few short years from quiet and orderly to a garbage-strewn drug dealing paradise.

Great pictures! I see this every day. I even sometimes point out the bike lanes to them when I see this. It usually results in being F-bombed. Where do these people come from?

We have another Vision trend coming to 'light', so to speak. there is 'red light Rob' & as well, is there 'stop sign Meggs'?

While @ a personal level, I continue to wish Councillor Meggs well for a full recovery, there remain some unanswered ?s. there have been suggestions that he may have run a stop sign. Did he or did he not? The driver stayed @ the scene & felt badly for Mr. Meggs.

Bottom line is, 2 vehicles collided on a public right of way. Someone was seriously injured. No one has been charged. If it had been the fault of the driver, clearly he/she would have been charged & the reverse.

I may have missed some of what has transpired on this since it happened a few months back, so pls advise if so. Otherwise, what did happen that night?

Hi Bill,
I heard Councilor Meggs on the news shortly after the accident, he stated that he missed the stop sign, something he claimed he never does, my understanding was it was near his home, shortly before 9:00am.
He was on his way to a biking event for the city, I can't remember but I believe it was the opening of a bike lane:)
There really hasn't been much said has there... good point.
On the up side I notice he is recovering, the neck brace is gone.

Check out!

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