At the AGM we welcomed some new faces to the Bike Ottawa Board of Directors, and had a bit of a shuffle for some of our previous members.
Heather Shearer has stepped down from her role as President, and our newly elected President is Érinn Cunningham.
Érinn has been an active member of Bike Ottawa for many years through the Advocacy Working Group, and as a Member-at-Large. Riding everything from cargo bikes to road bikes, biking the rural roads of Ottawa and the downtown core in all seasons, he’s ready to take on the role of President.
A message from the new President
As a volunteer-driven organization, Bike Ottawa brings many strengths to the table: as people who ride in the city and take the time to learn about safe streets and bike infrastructure, as people who use data to find innovative solutions, and as people who build relationships in our communities, at City Hall, and with our partners. The work we do as volunteers plays an important role in moving Ottawa towards becoming a biking city, and will continue to do so.
In the coming year, we have many challenges ahead. We’ve seen that COVID-19 has had a major impact on how people get around, with more people choosing to use bikes to shop, go to work, or get outside to improve their mental health. In all parts of the city, we have seen people eagerly using what space has been made available for safe social distancing, showing that Ottawans value safe infrastructure.
Now more than ever, the city needs a strong voice for Vision Zero. Ottawa is much more of a biking city than it was in 2011 when the Laurier Avenue segregated bike lanes opened. But there is still progress to be made. Our city has declared a climate emergency that gives us an opportunity to continue to have a conversation with city council and staff, and the biking community about how Ottawa could look as an active transportation city. the city has identified 29 intersections that are high risk for pedestrians and people on bikes, and the draft city budget delays building critical bike infrastructure such as the Albert and Slater Street bike lanes. As a bike advocacy organization Bike Ottawa can play an important role building support with our partners and showing the value of investing in safe infrastructure that allows everyone to ride a bike, whether they are 8 or 80 years old.
We know that safe streets where everyone can ride a bike means making sure that as bike advocates, we are listening to everyone, and making equity, diversity and inclusion a core part of our work. As we move forward as an organization, the incoming Board will be starting some important conversations with our membership, the biking community, and community groups to understand how we can make sure that we are supporting and making space for Black people, Indigenous Peoples and People of Colour, so that our advocacy work addresses the needs, hopes and aspirations of everyone.
Meet the rest of the Board of Directors
Shawn Gettler, board member since 2018, will continue to be our Vice President.
“Outside the board, I am involved with producing the Bike Ottawa Annual Report and with the Data Group. I also try to make it to as many outreach events as I can, for the chance to tell people about the work Bike Ottawa is doing, and to hear new perspectives on how we can improve cycling in Ottawa.”
Florence Lehmann is shifting her place as a Member-at-Large to our Secretary.
“Les usagers vulnérables devraient être le point de départ de toute planification urbaine. Voilà ce à quoi on devrait aspirer”
We are welcoming a new Treasurer, Chris Hansen. Chris is a CPA candidate and brings experience with non-profit accounting and governance.
“I’m someone who relies on my bike to get around. Whenever there are gaps in public transit, my bike is there to get me to where I need to go. I think Bike Ottawa does great work and I would be honoured to join the board.”
Kate Hunt has stepped down as Secretary, but is staying with us as a Member-at-Large. Kate is a self-proclaimed “noisy cyclist”, who is always up to the task of advocating about cycling issues in her own blog, and also in Ottawa news and magazines.
“Lately I’ve been advocating for improvements to cycling and pedestrian links in and around Heron Gate and South Bank Street along with the Healthy Transportation Coalition.”
Zara Ansar is a well known face in Ottawa’s biking community with her photo website XOVélo.
“If I had to make a difference in the cycling community it would be to encourage more people to ride bikes, especially people of BIPOC communities. It’s interesting because I cycle in different neighbourhoods all over Ottawa and it’s very interesting to see the majority of people riding bikes are in fact white. I’d really love to see Ottawa become the next Amsterdam or Copenhagen with more safe bike paths and networks.”
Paul Joseph is bringing his background in business administration and his love of advocacy and biking to the group.
“I make cycling in Ottawa better by advocating for more and safer infrastructure. I stay up to date on the latest issues. I’m no stranger to my City Councillor and MPP. I’ve volunteered a bit with CfSC in the past. I’ve been a member since 2016. Cycling has been such a positive force in my life. I want to help make everyone feel that way!”
Pascal René may already be known to you as Bekanecycles, a fixie rider, immersed in the culture that exists around these famously fast and sleek bikes.
“One of my greatest moments during our bike adventure was when I ran into a cyclist who saw me wearing Bekanecycles merchandise and mentioned to me that he follows that Instagram page not knowing that I am the one who runs it. It felt that my mission to connect people through our love for cycling was being accomplished by meeting this man.”
Dave Robertson is new as a board member, but has been active with Bike Ottawa through the Advocacy Working Group.
“The City of Ottawa has the “bones” to build upon to create a well-connected cycling network, allowing residents to use their bicycle for a majority of their trips year-round. I believe we should strive to expand a safe network as quickly as possible, all while keeping in mind matters of accessibility, equity, race, age and gender.”
Lastly, Barbara Greenberg remains a Member-at-Large in her second year of her two year term.
“The City is a place to live, grow, and be enjoyed. Ottawa has made some good steps toward being a liveable city, but still has work to do in making sure it prioritizes active transportation as the central component for its infrastructure building. As a Bike Ottawa board member I continue to advocate for equitable streets that are accessible for all people regardless of age, gender, or race.”