I appreciate Ken Cote’s comments about cycling in Prince Rupert, (The Northern View Aug. 22).
I agree with Ken, that getting more cyclists on the road here is of great importance. I beg to differ, on the other hand, with his characterization of Rupert as not cyclist friendly. I have cycled in Vancouver, and Montreal extensively, and in comparison, I give Prince Rupert drivers high marks for safety, and courtesy
As a citizen, I have gone before city council with a proposal for bike lanes, but I was turned down, with the argument that they don’t have the funds and there isn’t enough demand from cyclists for bike lanes or paths. Unfortunately, one of the reasons that there aren’t more cyclists is exactly Ken’s point – without bike lanes, it’s too scary for a lot of adult riders who are taking cycling up after a long hiatus. This creates a kind of catch-twenty-two – as long as we don’t have bike lanes, there won’t be more cyclists, so there won’t be a demand for bike lanes. Problem solved, as far as the city is concerned.
Need I point out that this is short-sighted thinking on the part of city council? The trend in the rest of the world, and in places like Vancouver and Montreal is to actively encourage cycling, and it has worked, bringing more cyclists on the road, decreasing the number of cars and increasing the safety of cyclists.
Why cater to cyclists you might ask? Because it makes for a more attractive and a more livable city. Because it’s good for people’s health. And because it encourages people to drive cars less. Prince Rupert is the perfect size for cycling to work and to school.
In the mean time I encourage citizens to think ahead to the future health of our children. Why not encourage our kids to ride or walk to school? Instead of driving them back and forth, why not accompany them by walking or biking. In order to maintain good health, it makes sense to create good habits of physical fitness from the time we are young. Otherwise all we are doing is training them to be couch potatoes when they grow-
And one more thing – Why doesn’t the local bike shop sell electric bikes? It makes it a lot easier to get up hills if you are out-of-shape. Terrace and Smithers have bike shops that feature e-bikes, Why doesn’t Rupert? There is a lot that we could do to get more people on bikes in Prince Rupert, with or without the help of the city. I invite anybody who is interested in encouraging more cyclists in Prince Rupert to contact me, Charles Justice.
The more people that are involved the more likely it will make a difference.