Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Night and Day...

Jim Watson, the newly elected Mayor of Ottawa, has a 10 point plan to increase and improve cycling in our nation's capital. It reads like a cycling wish list. You can check it out here.

“Safety is at the heart of this initiative,” said Watson. “I am concerned that the recent string of bike tragedies is having an effect on confidence. We can’t wait for safety. If the balance tips and people start to view cycling as risk, or antagonism builds with motorists, then we’ll suffer a real loss here in Ottawa."

"With the incredible beauty of Ottawa and the surrounding area, we simply have not made enough of the explosion in cycling tourism,” said Watson. “We can be a hub, and you think of it especially at this time of year with a natural colour show easy distance that is hard to match to the east, west, north and south of us in Ottawa. We need to jump start confidence in Ottawa as a safe and fantastic place to cycle.”

Compare that to what Toronto has voted for.  Toronto's new mayor Rob Ford says, "I can't support bike lanes. Roads are built for buses, cars, and trucks. My heart bleeds when someone gets killed, but it's their own fault at the end of the day." He is also on record as saying "cyclists are a pain in the ass" and made 'no more cycling routes' an election promise. This guy is a real piece of work but if T.O. cyclists get too frustrated they can always move to Ottawa or Vancouver like I did.  There may be some dark days ahead for Torontonians of the velo-persuasion. Good luck. You'll need it.


  1. Cycling tourism is something the Niagara region has capitalized on over the past few years and other Ontario cities have looked at us as an example.
    While most sectors of the tourist industry were down, bike tourism was booming.

    The first ever Bike Train was from Toronto to Niagara. So many of the wineries now offer bike specific tours.
    Niagara-on-the-Lake and Niagara Falls have rentals in the tourist areas during the summer.

    We have a trail that connects St. Catharines to Port Colborne (Lake Ontario to Lake Erie). The only time you leave the trail is to cross roads, other than that it is completely away from traffic.
    Actually the entire trail is called the "Greater Niagara Circle route" because it circles the entire region. In total it's around 140 km.

    Ottawa definitely can and should work on the tourist side of cycling. May not seem like it but it's helped out commuter cyclists here with more paths and trails to get around on.

  2. I actually grew up in Hamilton and my brother and I did several bike rides from there to Niagara Falls and back in the summer. It was my first taste of cycle touring. I'm sure that the highways that we traveled back in the 70's would not be suitable for a couple of kids to be riding today.

  3. Cycling has has been used as a wedge issue for knuckle-draggers like Ford in Toronto or the rabid anti-bike opposition in Vancouver, exemplified by annoying retro-grouches like Bruce Allen. It's a very quick way to tell the difference between people who are using their brains and trying to figure out ways to make our cities more liveable places and those who want to plant their brainless skulls firmly in the sand and pretend that we can carry on forever with the failed automobile domination that is destroying not just our cities but our world.

    Unfortunately, playing to the idiots if often a successful political strategy. Sigh ....

  4. The service road from Hamilton to St. Catharines is actually pretty good to ride on, despite it being in rough shape in some areas. The only time you really have to worry about traffic is if there is an accident on the highway.

    Lakeshore road from Lock 1 in St. Catharines to NOTL has a paved shoulder/bike lane now nearly the entire way out.
    While Thorold Stone Rd. from Thorold to Niagara Falls has a paved shoulder all the way out all be it a narrow shoulder.

    Although traffic has increased, the roads really aren't all that bad...from a touring perspective.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.