Archive for the ‘opinion’ Category

Assume all drivers want to kill you

January 21, 2009

Here is an article about biking in winter from the Montreal Gazette.

Thanks to Dylan in Mtl for the story.

Keep up the good work on your site.


Next meeting

December 1, 2008

Don’t forget the next meeting of the coalition this Thursday at 4pm.
It will be very exciting.

Tonight is the inauguration of the city council and I look forward to seeing some of the new councillors act on cycling issues.


Bicycle death leads to time served

December 1, 2008

Patrick Chagnon has been in jail for nearly nine months, awaiting trial in the death of cyclist John Patrick James Robinson.

Tuesday, 28-year-old Chagnon was sentenced to 18 months in jail after pleading guilty to dangerous driving causing death.

read more here

Still haven’t decided? Kelowna Election 2008

November 10, 2008

The following is a list of email addresses for the councillor candidates in Kelowna for the November 15th election. If you haven’t seen them speak or read any of their info please try emailing them your questions and concerns.

We need safe, accessible cycle facilities ASAP.

Let me know what you have here.


Matthew Reed
Dorothee Birker
André Blanleil
Kevin Craig
Donald Forbes
Gunnar Forrstrom
Joe Gates
Gunnar Forsstrom
Gretchen Gebhard
Brian Given
Mary-Ann Graham
Janice Henry
Jerry Hlady
Robert Hobson
Charlie Hodge
Graeme James
Cody Lanoue
Perry Mack
John Marshall
John Manton
Shelley Nicholl
Murli Pendharkar
Toby Pike
Andrew Powell
Mo Rajabally
J.C. Rathwell
Angela Reid
Michele Rule
Jason Rock
Lisa Simone
Luke Stack
Cheryl Stone
Mark Thompson
Bill Vaughn
Crystal Wariach
Scott Yule
John Zeger

The Glenmore Valley Community Association candidates forum Wed Oct 29th

October 26, 2008

Fellow cyclists:

Here is a wonderful opportunity to get some good publicity for cycling.
Please consider having a bit of fun and supporting cycling in our

The Glenmore Valley Community Association is having an all candidates
forum this coming wed. evening at 7 pm at the Kelowna Bible Chapel,
across Bernard Ave. from the Apple Bowl.

The format is a bit different in that the directors of the association
will be spending about 30 to 45 min. addressing the council candidates
about issues of interest to Glenmore and North Glenmore.  Once the
presentation is over the candidates will have the opportunity to take
some refreshment and meet the candidates.

I, as a director, will be speaking briefly about transportation, mainly
non motorized transport and bus service/facilities.  I will also be
speaking about a Smart Growth BC pamphlet we will be providing the
audience and candidates.

I make a point of riding my bike to all of our directors and general
meetings to let people know that a bike is a practical method of getting
around even when it is colder out and dark.

It would be fantastic if you could bike to and from the meeting.  There
is no bike parking anywhere nearby so bring the bike into the
downstairs.  This is a really effective way to make a gentle point to
our mayor and prospective council members and if we can get a lot of
cyclists to turnout may well make a difference in their attitudes once
they become council members.

Please consider turning up on a bike.  It’s time that cyclists started
to let our city know that they too have a vote.

Also please consider asking a cycling friend or two to come out in
support.  There will be coffee and cookies to recharge before heading

Thank you,

John C. Suttie
Cyclist, member B.C. Sustainable Energy Assoc.
and director of the Glenmore Valley Community Assoc.
PS There will be a door prize for someone arriving by bike.

Learn to share the road or get off it

July 3, 2008

The following is one of many comments from the website accomanying to the story about the cycling fatalities in Manitoba that took the life of local resident Robert Carrier and Daniel Hurtubise from Quebec.

‘Beaconsfield Ray’ is sadly deluded like many other motorists into thinking that through the taxes he pays on gas that he fully pays for the public cost of driving. The reality is that every vehicle on the road is subsidized to the the tune of something like $6000/year. That’s how much it costs various governments to keep cars on the road AFTER taking into account all the tax revenue from gas.
I don’t think most motorists know just how much it costs society to build and maintain all those roads, especially if you include the costs of policing those roads, the court system costs when there are charges brought against drivers, or to enforce road laws, the cost of legislation, the cost of 911 services, the cost of health care related to motor vehicle accidents (it’s the leading cause of death among young people), the direct costs to government to take care of people that are permanently crippled in accidents and the lost productivity of those people that are permanently injured.

So please, please stop coming up with asinine comments like “cyclists should pay for their own road.” First of all most cyclists also drive, so they also pay gas taxes. And the cyclists that don’t drive pay more than their fair share for the roads that everyone uses.

Learn to share the road or get off it.

Recommendations for reducing cycling injuries and death

June 5, 2008

An excerpt From a Toronto Coroner’s Report
A report on cycling fatalites in Toronto
1986 – 1998: recommendations

Adults are role models for young people and the age limit of mandatory helmet use sends a mixed message. Numerous articles have been published in recent years supporting the effectiveness of bicycle safety helmets. Control studies have provided convincing evidence that riders not wearing helmets are between two and three times as likely as a helmeted rider to suffer a head injury in a crash. Other reports conclude that up to 80 per cent of deaths among bicyclists are due to severe head injury. To be effective, however, bicycle helmets must be worn properly with the proper retention device to prevent them from coming off during a crash.

It must be recognized, however, that helmet use is not a panacea for drastically reducing cycling related fatalities or serious head injuries. Stricter bicycle helmet legislation and mass helmet usage in other countries (U.S.A., Australia, and New Zealand) have failed to produce any statistically significant reduction in the rates of fatalities and head injuries, despite optimistic projections. In addition, compulsory helmet use may result in reduced bicycle usage.

New Bridge

May 26, 2008

We are looking for feedback on the cycling / pedestrian facilities on our new Lk Okanagan Bridge.

When you get a chance to take your bike on the bridge let us know what you think.

Maryland Avenue Bicycle Bridge over I-17 in Phoenix, Arizona.

City of Kelowna budget for cycling facilities

April 5, 2008

According to an excellent source, the City of Kelowna puts $400,000 per year towards bike lane projects in Kelowna. They also get monies from the Province and Feds on an irregular basis amounting to another $200,000 per year. Occasionally they put more money towards major projects – the latest example being the Rails with Trails where the City put up $1,000,000 and the Province put up the same amount – for the first phase. This took well over 5 years of planning so realistically the funds should be spread over that time, and not regarded as a one time “grant”.

The city also looks at bike projects from the point of view of safety, usage, suitability, and cost. They claim that their main goal is to reduce the number of vehicles on City roads however I was told by a manager that their main concern is to reduce peak usage (eg. around 8 am weekday mornings and 5 pm or so on weekday evenings). My conclusion from these “goals” is that health, pollution and greenhouse gas issues are not considered priorities. Support for this opinion is the fact that the City of Kelowna refuses to pass an anti idling bylaw – certainly a first step to recognizing the effects of car emissions on health, pollution and GHG’s.

The city does try to add bike lanes and other infrastructure when roads are being constructed or rebuilt as it is the least costly method of providing these facilities. This certainly makes sense.

The City’s current priorities for cycling infrastructure are:

– lanes along Abbott and Lakeshore.

– offroad lanes along part of Gordon Drive.

– trails in Rutland.

There are two glaring omissions in the above list. It is interesting that the City is one of the first to declare the benefits of UBCO to our area and yet the last to make a determined effort to gain legitimate cycling access to the campus.

Putting in safe, effective and practical access to the campus would be one of the most effective means of reducing the number of motor vehicles on city roads. Is there any other large group of people in our community likely to get on a bike than students? I sincerely doubt it.

The second big omission is the Glenmore road to Lake Country situation. As mentioned in previous posts, there are no safe and enjoyable routes from near Lake Country to the Okanagan Lake Bridge. This certainly is a bottleneck when considering the Soaring Eagle Wine route from Osoyoos to Vernon.

I will take a look at monies spent on motor vehicle facilities (roads, parking and the like) in another post.


Further to 1 in 7 kelowna residents commutes by bike

March 27, 2008

At the end of February 2008 Karen Cairns of the City told me that Jerry Dombowsky would respond to my queries about the above claim – see previous posts. I have forwarded the following email to see if I can drum up a response.



As you may recall I contacted you at the end of February regarding the
above noted claim made in the City publication – “City of Kelowna
Sustainability 2008”. You pointed me to a study done last year by
Synovate. I responded that the study indicated a rather lower rate (in
the area of 2% in May 2007) and that that was a far cry from 1 in 7

On the 2nd of March 2008, you indicated that Jerry Dombowski would be following this up. Despite contacting Jerry Dombowski by email on the 9th of March I have not had a response.

You may wonder why I would care about these figures. The City puts an
extremely positive spin on all of it’s activities saying that we are
“sustainable” – a word that now has little meaning. Unfortunately I
suppose that is to be expected. It does however confuse people who
don’t really know what sustainable is (many of our citizens) and it
gives the majority lots of excuses as to why they should not change
their ways. After all if our City is a leader in sustainability why
should we be expected to do more. We can continue on our merry way with no thought to the effects on environment, climate or our children.

Claims such as this argue that there is little need for further cycling
infrastructure – that the City of Kelowna can now relax as they have
such great cycling facilities and programs that little more must be

A couple of very glaring inconsistencies arise here – students at UBCO
cannot safely and legally ride to and from downtown Kelowna to the
campus. People commuting to and from LakeCountry take their life in
their hands trying to ride to Kelowna on either Hwy 97 or Glenmore Road; commuting just isn’t safe even though the City’s boundaries extend well into LakeCountry. Many roads with bike lanes (Glenmore, Spall, Springfield and many more) are becoming so busy that the existing cycling infrastructure is no longer adequate and safe. I could go on.

I would appreciate an answer to my queries. If this is a mistake on the
part of the City then admit it and get on with life. If it can be
justified then let me know and I will trumpet to the heavens that
Kelowna has the highest percentage of trips by bicycle in North America and that we are rivalling many European cities in this regard.

Thank you,