About the Blog:

Guelph Politico is locally sourced and dedicated to covering the political and cultural scene in the City of Guelph. Est. 2008.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

I Want to Ride My Bi-Cyc-Le!

Bike riders of Guelph: Stay by your phones! Apparently, starting today, the city will begin a series of random telephone surveys to gauge how bicycling can be made safer and easier in the Royal City.

Behold! The press release:

Cycling survey will measure how Guelph goes by bike
Bicycle-Friendly Guelph Initiative works to lower greenhouse gas emissions


GUELPH, ON, April 15, 2009 – The City of Guelph hopes to learn about residents’ cycling habits and attitudes when it begins a random telephone survey today. The research is a first step toward making cycling safer and easier in the city.

The City will poll 400 randomly selected residents, age 16 years and over, about their cycling habits, how they feel about cycling in the city, and what would make them more likely to go by bike. Respondents can expect the survey to take less than 10 minutes.

"The majority of daily trips in Guelph are less than five kilometres, but only about 1% of those trips are made by bicycle," says Jennifer McDowell, the City’s Transportation Demand Management Co-ordinator. "The survey will help us identify where we can make improvements to make it easier, safer, and more convenient for people to cycle in Guelph."

Bicycle-Friendly Guelph, intended to make Guelph a bike-friendly city where 3 per cent of all daily trips are made by bike within ten years, is using a five-E approach to make cycling more convenient. "Using encouragement, education, engineering, enforcement and evaluation, Bicycle-Friendly Guelph hopes to triple the number of daily bike trips in Guelph by 2018," says McDowell.

The City expects the survey to reveal what motivates people to cycle more often, what challenges exist, and which routes would benefit most from improved cycling facilities. Environics Research Group will conduct the survey on the City’s behalf.

As Guelph learns to go by bike, the city reduces greenhouse gas emissions caused by daily driving, and increases community well-being through more active, healthy living.

So far, so good. Now I'm a biker rider, so I'll save the city the two quarters to call me and offer my advice.

First of all, there are worst places to be a bike rider, I've lived there.

But secondly, there's a respect gap, and I mean that for both riders and drivers. However, as I always point out: in the battle between bike versus car, there's no battle. I've seen cars and buses - at times - give very little regard to bikers even when they're in the bike lane; a lot of near misses. Guelph seems to have a consistent presence on "Canada's Worst Driver," which should tell you something. But I say again, biker's share responsibility for conduct on the roads: use you signals, watch traffic rules and remember that the right of way is not a right worth dying for.

Next is the fact that I had to spent 10 minutes searching online before I found trail maps for the City of Guelph. And personally, I find the City's website somewhat lacking in this area of coverage; the trail maps aren't found under the "Parks & Trails" section of the site, but under the much more generic "Maps" area along with Street maps, attraction maps, transportation truck and winter maintenance routes. One of the keys to getting more people on bikes, at least to me, is making the bike paths more noticeable and more known. That kind of relates back to the whole Car V. Bike thing.

Lastly, I suggest more bike routes, especially where I live in the west end. I live on the other side of the Hanlon, so if I want to ride my bike down to the south end, I have to backtrack back over the Hanlon again so that I can go on my merry little way. There's no trail I can ride, not even a road that leads anywhere but to another detour. The key is ease, not that I'm lazy, it's just that I don't want my route to a given destination to look like one of those 'Family Circus' strips with Billy and the dotted line.

But enough about me, what about you. What would you tell the City about biking in Guelph?

1 comment:

Stacey Hare said...

I work in the City of Guelph's Communication Department and I invite you and your subscribers to join the Bicycle-Friendly Guelph facebook group where you can share more GREAT ideas like the one you have posted here on your blog.

Check it out here