To the Editor:
I have a good deal of sympathy for our merchants’ concerns re: parking and agree with much of what they propose. However, to suggest that giving over some sections of our roads to bike lanes, “would not change the nature of the bike ride into town” has no merit at all and could only be asserted by those with very little experience on a bicycle. As an avid bicyclist, I talk biking a lot and have found that people who once happily biked around town no longer do so. The reason? “It’s not safe on our streets.”
I can surely assert that in the brief period last year when bike lanes were temporarily opened on Hamilton, it made the world of difference to one’s ride. One felt, and indeed was, safe. Indeed, in the past year, I have experienced many close shaves with drivers barging their way into my tiny space on the road. And it is getting worse. Bicyclists seem to be regarded as a nuisance rather than fellow drivers.
For everybody’s sake, bike riding and walking should be encouraged. It is cheap and healthy, has no carbon footprint and can be counted as one less 3000lb vehicle on our already busy streets. If you live within a ten minute drive of town, as I do, you can be at your mid-town destination in less time on a bike. And you can arrive right at your destination without wasting fuel driving about looking for parking
We need bike lanes and we need a commitment to opening more. We need more people feeling confident that they can ride their bikes safely into town.