Are you running for office? Need some advice? Here are some suggestions for your campaign according to the level of government for which you are running.
Step 1. Make promises.
- Build your city's bike network. Really! Please do it.
- Consider new ideas. Consider bicycle infrastructure that is not currently popular in Canada like: Bicycle boulevards, bike boxes.
- Expand the local CanBike program. Make it more convenient for people interested in learning. Help children learn how to ride a bike safely by getting CanBike running in schools.
- Implement a bike sharing program. It's a cheap and effective way of getting people short distances around a city. More cyclists mean safer streets for everyone.
- Change development practice. This is a daunting but important problem. Force developers to end sprawling neighbourhoods; increase density with mixed residential and employment buildings in a single area. Reduce distances to effective transit.
- Improve education and enforcement for motor vehicle operators. Cyclists too often reminded of how many drivers are unfamiliar with the law. A recent study showed that a driver's education program in Ontario actually increased the likelihood of being in a collision. Something is wrong with the current system.
- Connect Cities. Help municipalities co-ordinate their bike networks. People often use bicycles to get to places that are on the other side of a city boundary.
- Highway crossings. Make sure that there are a number of safe ways for cyclists to cross the "400 series" highways in your area. These highways are maintained (and expanded) by the province, and create a huge barrier to cyclists moving safely across a city.
- Teach people about bicycles. Improve funding for programs like CanBike to help cyclists learn how to ride in traffic.
- Help people be healthy. Remember that supporting bicycle transportation means helping people get regular exercise. Isn't that what our doctors keep telling us about?
- Require side guards on large trucks. These are mandatory in Europe to protect cyclists, pedestrians and even small cars from being drawn under the wheels by a brush of the front side of the wheel.
- Remove the GST from bikes and bike accessories.
- Fund Public Transit. Transit friendly areas tend to be more welcoming to pedestrians and cyclists.
One of the most comprehensive studies carried out in our area was the Recommendations for reducing cycling injuries and death, by the Toronto Coroner in 1998. It is vital reading for anyone with the power to make a difference.