Saturday, 09 June 2007 19:00
Urban cycling is a safe pastime
The Ottawa Citizen
Published: Sunday, June 10, 2007
Re: Terrifying practice, June 5.
If letter-writer Iain Davidson is not comfortable cycling on roads, he doesn't have to do it. But he should not pass his fear onto the rest of us who do cycle.
Bicycles are not just toys, they are vehicles, and cyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as other vehicle operators. Cycling is a safe and efficient mode of transportation that is so popular in Ottawa that we have the highest level of cyclists among North American cities. Cycling reduces congestion, provides exercise, and saves money for cyclists and for our road-building council
For decades, the City of Ottawa has had programs to encourage residents to use their bikes for transportation, and to co-ordinate defensive cycling courses that give cyclists the skills to ride confidently in traffic. These city programs were delivered by Citizens for Safe Cycling for many years until 2006, and they must continue and expand in the future.
Since these programs were established in the 1980s, along with many improvements to road infrastructure and enforcement, the number of cyclist deaths in Ottawa has dropped to nearly zero, so cycling is hardly the "suicidal" activity that Mr. Davidson fears it is.
President, Citizens for Safe Cycling