Last Saturday, January 23, 2016, Citizens for Safe Cycling organised the annual Family Winter Bike Parade for the 5th time already. Traditionally, the ride starts at City Hall as it is fairly central.
Obviously with a city the size of a Netherlands’ province, you can’t get that far out of the centre for a one hour bike tour. We usually plot a route of about 5 km but this year, with the ever increasing bike network, we were able to put a nice -and longer- route together that incorporated new bike infrastructure near Nanny Goat Hill.
About 60 of us enjoyed wonderful weather. Although a wind chill of -25C put @Centretowner off, it turned out that the weather was really nice. The wind was hardly noticeable and the sun worked hard to keep us warm. Here is the route, based on a number of us with Strava running in the pocket. (Thank you Kevin for putting this together).
There were many familiar faces, but quite a number of people who participated for the first time too. That is very encouraging. Felicity and I were interviewed by CTV. It isn’t easy to answer questions without saying too much ‘eh’ and ‘ah’ (although editing afterwards does wonders).
— Mathieu Fleury (@MathieuFleury) January 23, 2016
We were very happy to see no less than four councillors participating, all year round cyclists: Catherine McKenney, Mathieu Fleury, Jeff Leiper and Tobi Nussbaum. They talked extensively about the snow clearing after the first snow dump this year. Fleury told us that they were inundated with complaints about sidewalks but not one complaint about road clearing came in. What is wrong with the picture when sidewalk and road have the same level of service agreement?
— Hans on the Bike (@HansontheBike) January 23, 2016
All councillors mentioned that social media are good to keep the pressure on certain issues, but social media are not the right tool for filing complaints as (and we all know that) not all Tweets are being read. Also, social media complaints can not be forwarded to a department nor can they be logged in a CRM system. A proper letter or email can be addressed much easier. Calling 311 or using the on line equivalent gives your complaint a tracking number and the info can be used for data collection.
And the Ottawa Paramedic joined the parade as welll, which was really appreciated.
Here is my 2016 Family Winter Bike Parade in 2:45 minutes
We received lots of positive feedback. CTV showed up to interview Felicity about winter cycling and safety and they didn’t add a poll if winter cycling should be forbidden. Scroll to 16:40.
Screen grab from CTV Ottawa. The Photo links to the news item on our event