Letter to the editor: Calgary’s cycling infrastructure sucks
In response to an editorial urging cyclists to stop riding during the winter and calling upon the City of Calgary to cease clearing snow from bike lanes, I wrote a letter arguing that the City must provide far better cycling infrastructure, both in winter and other seasons, which was published on Friday. The full text of my letter follows.
Re: “Save cycling for a better day,” Editorial, Dec. 27.
The Herald’s complaint that cyclists will never be safe on city streets during the winter is easily remedied by introducing infrastructure that separates bikes from cars. Yet any proposal to accommodate cyclists is invariably met by virulent opposition.
In this season, such attacks are justified by claiming that our four-month winter makes cycling in Calgary impossible. This perception is mistaken. Minneapolis, a city whose winter is no less frigid than ours, was recently named by Bicycling magazine as the best cycling city in the U.S.
Minneapolis has made a serious commitment to cycling. Calgary has paid only lip service. Consider that we have more than 18,000 kilometres of road lanes dedicated to cars, but just 1.2 kilometres of separated bike lanes. Any cyclist who braves the onroad bike routes in which bikes and cars share the same space will be regularly harassed by homicidal drivers.
Six months post-flood, the pathway system remains unusable for southeast cyclists needing a safe route into downtown, as the city has moved much too slowly in restoring flood-damaged sections.
If Calgary is to reap the myriad benefits that come from embracing cycling, in winter and other seasons, it must provide far better infrastructure.
Alas, it seems I’m one of the few letter writers who will write in favour of cycling issues; few of my biwheeled brethren seem to frequent the letters section. I am, however, happy that my terminal assertion was selected as “quote of the day.”