Archive for January, 2010

Winter cycling and the increasing ranks of the hardcore

The Citizen has an article today on winter cycling, which looks at an apparent increase in numbers.

The key quote:

“When I first started in the winter, occasionally I would see bike tracks in the snow on the bridge, so I would know there is somebody out there sometimes. And then just gradually I started to see more and more people on bicycles, and now, I don’t go a day, no matter how bad the weather, without seeing at least one other bicycle, and usually like five to 10 bicycles,” said Hickey.

This more or less reflects my thoughts on winter biking. Now, I don’t actually bike in the winter because the added hassle of bundling up offsets the time that I’d save over walking to work. But if I lived much farther away, I’d totally invest in a winter bike because it seems eminently doable. Mostly, I really don’t like the bus, but at least part of me just wants to say that I winter bike. Oh, authenticity: you haunt me still.

City Cycling Safety/Lane study?

News out of transportation committee today: a motion from Clive Doucet calls for a city-wide study of cycling safety hazards and whether or not segregated lanes might be a solution. The Citizen and CBC have it covered.

Doucet, quoted in the CBC:

“I hope to see Ottawa becoming much safer,” Doucet said Wednesday. “We’ll hopefully have an east-west dedicated lane through the centre of the city, which we don’t have now. I mean talk to my staff, who come to work down Gladstone and have to share the lane with a bus — pretty scary.”

Now, I bike down Gladstone all the time and have never really felt unsafe given the volume of traffic. But I also bike 9 months of the year and contribute to a cycling blog, so I’m probably not the best judge of average. A full set of city-wide cycling lanes designed for commuting would certainly be nice, and would probably help to get more people onto bikes. I know I’d certainly appreciate something a bit more dedicated in the downtown core, given that Queen St., and the risk of door prizes and people making blind right turns, represents that most dangerous couple minutes of my day.

These lanes require dedicated funding for cycling projects, which have been something that the city has not always been great about finding. Also, while it doesn’t seem to be in either of the links above, I seem to recall staff mentioning somewhere else that in most of the areas where we’ve seen accidents segregated lanes are not really feasible.

These now go onto full council for further discussion, so emailing your councilor support would be handy.