1) What are your views on cycling in Windsor?
I support cycling as a method of transportation and as a recreational pursuit. I believe Council should support policies and initiatives that make it safer to use a bicycle as a commuter vehicle, while increasing the number of opportunities for recreational riding. I particularly want to see policy that addresses the safety of children in bike trailers, on bike buddies or children’s bicyles.
2) Do you own a bike? How often do you ride it?
Yes, each member of my family owns a bike. I do not ride as often as I should, however, that’s generally because 1) I don’t like breathing in exhaust as I ride in a bike lane; and 2) riding in traffic scares the bejeezus out of me. Yes, I believe that bikes are vehicular traffic. Does that mean I want to do it? No, because I don’t like riding alongside of cars. I think it’s too dangerous and I am pretty risk averse. Should that inhibit others? No. I support bikes as vehicles. 3 children ago, I used to ride my bike to work. Now, with 3 children under 7, I’ve seen the ‘cargo bikes/utility bikes’. They are not for me, even with a car seat installed. Nor do I believe that many parents will see them as viable options, especially if they’re riding on streets.
3) Recent research shows that 65% of Windsorites have ridden a bike in the last year. What do you think can be done to get more windsorites cycling more often?
I think most people don’t want to ride a bike as a commuter vehicle for two reasons: 1) their workplace has no shower/refresh facilities; and 2) they don’t want to ride in traffic. So I think to attract commuter bikers, those two things need to be addressed. I’m not sure how to do that, frankly. Perhaps working with the BIAs to provide funding to businesses that retrofit or add to create those facilites at their workplace. The bike-to-work gym pass to Waterworld is a great idea, but, it isn’t marketed enough, and it serves a limited geography. To encourage recreational biking, we need to build an east/west mid-town bike path (maybe the Grand Marais route, but without the portage between Dougall & Howard), an east/west southern bike path connected to the Chrysler Greenway and a city centre north-south path, perhaps in partnership with the Continental Rail Gateway in the Wellington Avenue cut, or on our own in the Caron Avenue cut. Either way, the paths should be well lit, patrolled, and accessible.
4) What do you think needs to be done to make Windsor more bicycle friendly?
More bike paths (e/w midtown & southside; n/s city centre -caron or wellington cuts), wider bike lanes, more patrols, more emergency phones on paths, better access to bike tune ups & helmet fittings,
5) What are your views on enforcing cycling laws in Windsor?
We’ve got a problem with bylaw enforcement of all flavours – and Council seems to only push enforcement when publicly embarrassed (eg lawn mowing), and I’d like to do a Community Safety Audit of the public spaces in Ward 3 with police, fire and building inspection services that would include looking at the resources each service has to do their jobs – like enforcing cycling laws. It’s dangerous to citizens to bike on the sidewalks, and I for one am a total chicken about biking on the street. So where does that leave me? In the minivan – until we start enforcing cycling laws and until we come up with a better way to combine one tonne vehicles with people on little pieces of aluminum.
6) Are you willing to make a commitment to bike to at least 4 city council meetings per year, to lead by example?
Yes. *sigh* Because it’s the right thing to do, even if I’m chicken. And it will make my heart healthy, likely me a little skinnier – never a bad thing. But the hill on Dougall will make me grumpy. Lucky for me, it’s on the way home.