Stats show that postings on this blog average a few dozen readers, while the same articles cross-posted to the corresponding Facebook page reach hundreds on average, with a few postings topping 1,000 or more (Brockville and area residents).
Matt Pender’s piece in The Star, talking about the success of Toronto’s Bloor St bicycle facilities, reminds us once again that when we build cycling facilities that serve the majority, we’re not serving the already-committed minority who would call themselves cyclists. Rather, we are targeting the nearly two-thirds of people who occasionally ride a bike and will eagerly do so more often when they feel safe. Indeed, designing for the “everyday cyclist” always results in a large uptake of cycling activity. The growth is entirely from the cohort of “people who ride a bike”. This busts the myth of the few remaining anti-laners who proclaim, “We don’t need bike lanes; there are no cyclists on the street.” The evidence is clear. Build it and people will ride. Read Matt’s article here.
Andre Picards’ opinion piece in the Globe and Mail summarizes quite nicely several years of research and case studies on the economic and health benefits of designing cities to be more walkable. His short and insightful piece summarizes our current state well: “Walking has to become a lever for social change, big and small – for everything from healthier neighbourhoods to a more sustainable planet – and walkability needs to be imbued into the DNA of urban planning.” Read the article here.
Ontario is the provincial leader in moving to prioritize “complete streets” approaches to planning. Indeed, 84% of Ontarians now live in a municipality where complete streets are either provincially mandated or have been adopted as city policy. This reporter believes it won’t be long until all Ontario municipalities fall under the same requirements and road grants will be predicated upon the inclusion of complete streets design. Against this backdrop, there are many small cities who likely don’t have a clue what complete streets are all about. There’s lots of general information out there, along with many city guides (e.g. Toronto, Ottawa). The article highlighted here delves into some of the intricacies that go into approaching a complete streets design for a project. Read the article here.
There seems to be no end of articles highlighting the economic boost that small towns gain when they consciously attract and serve the growing cycle tourism sector. There are lots of case studies right here in Ontario, accompanied by compelling research published by Ontario By Bike, to back up the claims. Sometimes though, it’s nice just to read about small-town success stories and find ideas that can be adapted and adopted for local benefit. This is one such article, which you can read here.
“Are Bike Lanes Good for Traffic?” is the title, yet the article is really a wide-ranging description of the progress being made everywhere as public roads are transformed to be safer for moving people regardless of choice of transportation. It was published in autotrader.ca and serves to both illuminate and describe the variety of approaches, designs, and social factors brought into play as roads built first for cars are now reshaped to serve moving people. Read the article here.
Those of us who live in slow-starter small cities rely on the larger cities and their deeper resources to figure out what works really well and what doesn’t, and to measure and publish their results. Cities like Seattle, Portland, Minneapolis, Montréal, Ottawa, Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton and others have all got great stories to tell. In this short article, New York City’s Department of Transportation summarizes the results of a multi-year investment in cycling facilities, revealing some stunning yet not surprising numbers over a five-year period, including a 50% increase in regular cyclists and an 80% increase in cycle commuting.
Read the article here, or download the report PDF here.
Eight national health organizations are calling on the federal government to develop and implement an active transportation strategy for Canada, citing research that links moderate amounts of exercise woven into the activities of daily living with significant reductions in the instance and severity of several chronic diseases and their associated healthcare costs. Read the article here.
Ontario drivers who put others at risk, especially those walking or cycling, risk losing their privilege to drive, paying much steeper fines, facing jail time, and earning higher demerit points that come with years of higher insurance premiums. Of special note, convictions for distracted driving will incur escalating penalties up to a 30 day license suspension, $3,000 fine and 6 demerit points for 3rd conviction. Failing to stop at a pedestrian crosswalk, crossover or school crossing will earn you a $1,000 fine and four demerit points. Continue reading “Ontario Introducing Tougher Penalties For Bad Driving”
Much has been written about the need to design cycling facilities that serve the majority of people, those who are “interested yet concerned”. This cohort represents the majority, those who are quite willing to use a bicycle more often for everyday activities, yet are dissuaded by safety concerns. Designing to this cohort’s needs led to the adoption of protected lanes as the default wherever possible. And indeed, the largest uptakes in cycling activity occur with the implementation of protected lanes.
In Ontario, survey results have yielded the same outcomes and MTO has embedded the findings as part of their design guidelines in the Ontario Traffic Manual (OTM Book 18 – Cycling Facilities). Available here (large PDF download).
In Lanark County the Council of Smiths Falls is making an important first step toward joining Mississippi Mills as a bike friendly community. Town council has approved an initial priority list of cycling infrastructure projects as part of an application for provincial OMCCP funding. Read more here.
One doesn’t need to spend much time cycling around Brockville anywhere near parked cars to quickly learn that most car drivers are pretty lazy when it comes to checking for oncoming traffic, including those on bikes, before opening their car door and potentially dooring someone.
Quite simply, bike lanes help to calm traffic at the same time as they make roads safer for biking for all ages and all abilities. Roads with cycling facilities become more family-friendly and that in turn helps neighbourhoods become more attractive to families. The evidence supporting the positive impact of bike lanes on property values has been well-established for over a decade, and has been reported on this blog before (here and here). Yet every once in a while an article comes along that weaves this information and more into a compelling picture of how cycling facilities are an integral part of family-friendly neighbourhoods – places where families are willing to pay more to relocate. Read more here.
One of the best ways to help your kids be healthier is to be active with them. And one of the easiest ways for anyone to get more active is to weave activity into everyday activities like, say, biking to school. It’s well established that kids who walk, run, ride, or roll to school arrive more refreshed and ready to learn, and that translates to improved performance. It’s also well-established that kids of parents who engage with them in activities are more likely to be active on their own and develop a more active lifestyle. With all that in mind, if you’re interested in learning how to gear up for that school journey with your kids by bike this article provides some great tips. Read more here.
Their are times when segments of our multi-use trails get quite busy and it’s wise to walk your wheels. There are also some places where wheels are not to be ridden at any time, for the safety of people of all ages, all abilities.
While the current sign in the Tunnel (upper left, above) suggests you can ride at walking speed, the Tunnel Committee and Cycling Advisory Committee agreed over a year ago that cycling in the tunnel would be restricted for a number of reasons:
People walking, especially families with young children, are distracted by the lights, paying attention to the tunnel walls, taking care to avoid tripping on the dark curb, and quite often, looking up!
Even when riding a bike at walking speed, maneuverability in the tunnel is quite limited; brushing a tire against the dark curb or a handlebar against the wall could easily lead to a fall and injury – for you and others.
The Tunnel is often busy and best enjoyed at a slow walk.
So please, when visiting the Tunnel, “Walk your Wheels”. That includes your bike, your unicycle, your scooter, and your skateboard.
There are a few other places where riding a bicycle is expressly prohibited as well, even if not signed. These include the sidewalks along King Street downtown, the Brock Trail walk around Blockhouse Island, and the Brock Trail boardwalk along the River in Hardy Park.
Visiting Downtown Brockville on an “open streets” day when King Street is blocked to vehicles? Walk your Wheels – riding through a crowd of meandering families begs calamity.
At all other times on the Brock Trail, generally accepted trail etiquette applies:
Those walking have the right-of-way
When on wheels, yield to those walking
Keep to the right so others can pass; yes, that includes when walking your dog
When walking your dog, shorten the leash when passing or being passed
When riding your bike, unicycle, scooter, blades or skateboard, ding your bell or call out to those you’re about to pass, e.g. “Passing on your left!”
when riding, keep speed slow – below 20 km/h, and slower when nearing people walking.
Please also note that none of the restrictions on wheels apply to those using mobility assistance devices.
Let’s act together to make sure our shared pathways remain attractive, comfortable and safe for those of all ages and all abilities.
Heading out in Brockville and looking for a heritage walking tour, bike parking locations, park facilities or other features of our fine town? Well, the City’s growing collection of online maps may be just the thing you need.
From the Alberta Centre for Active Living comes an updated summary of the diverse and many benefits of active transportation. It’s current, evidence based and complete with references to source case studies and research. Read and/or download below.
As Doctors for Safe Cycling point out in this recent article in the Toronto Star, “Cycling is very effective in promoting good physical and mental health, and it’s infrastructure like protected lanes that makes widespread bike use possible.”
StatsCan reports that fully 41% of Canadians over the age of 12 are at least occasional cyclists now, and cites the evidence that, “The health benefits of physical activity, including cycling, are widely recognized. In an era when nearly a third of children and youth and just under two-thirds of adults are overweight or obese, cycling for leisure or transport is a valuable form of exercise. Cycling is also good for the environment ― commuting by bicycle helps to alleviate road congestion and noise pollution and reduces emissions.”
It’s time for Brockville to join the 21st century and work to become bicycle friendly. There will always be naysayers and NIMBYs who fight to keep streets unsafe, children at risk and property values depressed, but it’s time to move ahead and create a better Brockville.
Heading to Brockville’s waterfront this weekend? How about using your bike? Here’s how to do that. Whether you’re starting from in town or driving in with bikes and parking away from the downtown area, follow the Brock Trail (map here) right to the heart of the events. The Brock Trail provides an off-road family-friendly route.
After crossing the Tom Dailey Bridge behind the Mill Restaurant, in addition to all the bike racks and rings throughout the downtown area, you’ll find some large bike racks at the main Water Street entrance to Rib Fest, to which you can lock your bike.
Alternately, continue along Water Street to the Water Street parking lot where you’ll find bicycle parking under the big tent in the picture above. The tent will be staffed by volunteers from 8 to 8 on Saturday, and from 10 to 5 on Sunday, providing a supervised parking area.