I turn 50th this year. In lieu of presents, cake and gasp, even beer, please give everyone the gift of cycling by making a donation to or becoming a member of the British Columbia Cycling Coalition.
For half of that half a century, I’ve had the pleasure of working with many of you to improve cycling around Vancouver and BC through HUB, BEST, Canada Bikes and the BCCC. Working with political leaders and staff in all levels of government, we have had many successes. From wider sidewalks on the Lions Gate Bridge and the Ironworks Bridge, the Bicycle and Pedestrian Path on the Canada Line Bridge, to the Central Valley Greenway. All told, these improvements total around $70 million.
While there are many reasons why I work to move cycling forward, what I find most rewarding is seeing more and more people cycling. Especially families with children.
Still, there is much to do. BC is a large province with great potential.
We need cycle tracks along main streets so people can safely and comfortably cycle to shops, cafes, restaurants, offices and other businesses. More and more homes are being built along major streets. As well, in many cases, there are not convenient direct side streets nearby making separated bike lanes the only option. We are working with Streets for Everyone to secure funding for a pilot grassroots campaign on Commercial Drive that will serve as a model that can be used in communities around the Province.
We need safe connections between communities for locals and tourists. At least wide shoulders free of debris and preferable paths separated from high speed traffic.
We need to improve the Motor Vehicle Act or even better, replace it with a modern road users act that makes the safety of people cycling and walking the priority. Key changes include removing the requirement to ride single file allowing you to legally ride beside friends and families and a safe passing distance law.
We need improved standards for paths and roads ensuring that obstacles are not placed on or near bicycle paths, that fencing and railings do not cause crashes or serious injuries and that shoulders are wide, well maintained and kept clear of hazards.
We need improved and expanded education for people cycling driving. This October, in conjunction with the BCCC Conference in Victoria, thanks to a grant from the Capital Regional District, we are hosting a Bike Sense workshop to review educational material and plan the expansion and improvement of educational efforts.
We need increased funding for cycling. With a Federal election coming up next year and infrastructure spending a key election issue, we have the opportunity to ensure that improved cycling and walking networks receive the funding that is required so that every Canadian has the freedom to chose cycling or walking for recreation, transportation and vacation.
We need need to build stronger more organized cycling community across the Province to encourage leaders to make commitments to improve cycling and to provide the grassroots support they need when they show leadership in moving cycling.
We need your support to make this all happen. As the BCCC not a charity, we can’t issue tax receipts. However, that means we are not limited in the amount of money that we can and will devote for advocacy.
I look forward to continue working with you over the next 25 years making this beautiful province a great place for people of all ages to enjoy cycling.
Thank you for your great work and support.