1) What are your views on cycling in Windsor?
With its flat topography and temperate climate, Windsor is well-positioned to become one of Canada’s best cities for cycling. While some progress has been made in implementing the Bicycle Use Master Plan (BUMP) since its inception, a lack of political support for cycling has kept Windsor far behind other Canadian cities and even its surrounding bedroom communities.
In the twenty first century, effective cycling infrastructure has become an economic imperative. Simply put, Windsor will lose investment opportunities if we don’t start addressing this issue more seriously.
2) Do you own a bike? How often do you ride it?
Thank you for the opportunity to get my bike geek on. I own two. One, my pride an joy, is an early 1980s Peugeot racing bike converted to a fixed gear assembly. I try to use it as my daily commuter, but Windsor’s roads can be punishing and I frequently get flat tires. When it’s out of commission I ride a Giant mountain bike which is indestructible, but not as much fun.
I cycle to work almost every day from April to December, and then occasionally for errands on weekends.
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?
A critical mass of people seem eager to take it up more frequently, but they don’t feel safe. (My wife is among them.) Cyclists who move here from other cities often stop cycling because of safety concerns. Infrastructure changes that separate bike riders from vehicular traffic are the gold standard for making people feel safe, and these should be part of our long term strategy.
There is a shortage of bike parking spaces and lock posts in even the most dense areas of the city. This is a relatively simple fix that would help people live their lives through cycling.
Moreover, there is still a bit of a stigma attached to bike riding in Windsor. Having people in public positions riding bikes would send a positive message to Windsorites and build confidence. If elected, I would promote cycling by riding to Council meetings.
4) What do you think needs to be done to make Windsor more bicycle friendly?
Dedicated bike paths should be our aim, but this will take a while. In the mean time, we need to be creative. Streets with regular vehicular traffic calming also make good cycling routes, since the difference in speed between bicyles and vehicles is reduced. There are a number of streets that would benefit from traffic calming and I would like to see the maximum speed limit on residential streets reduced from 50km/h to 40 km/h.
It may be time for a new BUMP, but if that’s not possible, I’m confident that we could do just as well by engaging Windsor’s cycling community in an unprecedented way.
Windsor’s current approach to accommodating bikes on roads is sensible in that we try to incorporate bike lanes as we go when completing regular road maintenance. It’s terribly flawed in that we only incorporate bike components when a street is one of the few identified in the bike plan. A more sensible approach would be to consider cyclists with every infrastructure project undertaken and completing one or two signature bke infrastructure projects for the sake of bike infrastructure projects.
5) What are your views on enforcing cycling laws in Windsor?
The lack of enforcement of cycling laws in Windsor is a serious problem. Many cities enforce cycling laws effectively through regular enforcement campaigns. It might be sufficient to just issue warnings in order to educate the public. There are two areas of concern:
A) Cyclists riding on sidewalks, not stopping at intersections and travelling the wrong way streets. Not only is this a tremendous irritant to pedestrians, but it is extremely dangerous. Some cyclists feel safer riding on sidewalks, but statistically speaking, it is the most common factor in bike fatalities.
Obviously, the police need to use their discretion effectively. In certain areas of the city, it is more sensible to ride on sidewalks, such as Huron Church Road. Enforcement blitzes sould target, for example, business improvement areas. There is absolutely no reason for cyclists to ride on the sidewalk on Ouellette Avenue in the heart of downtown.
B) Aggressive drivers. Almost all Windsor cyclists have had frightening confrontations with the minority of vehicle drivers who are not prepared to share the road. The police should be enforcing in this area too, in order to shore up cyclists’ confidence.
6) Are you willing to make a commitment to bike to at least 4 city council meetings per year, to lead by example?
I do commit to ride to at least 4 city council meetings per year.