Comment 981

By adrian (registered) | Posted September 20, 2006 at 09:07:43

Climate change will have one beneficial side effect: warmer, shorter winters remove or mitigate one of the main reasons people think bicycle transportation in Hamilton is unfeasible.

There's no doubt a bicycle-oriented transportation system can work. Travel to the Netherlands and you'll see it working, and winters get pretty chilly up there in Northern Europe as well. There is one main difference, however: the Netherlands is very flat.

Anyone whose travels regularly take them up and down the escarpment are going to tell you that bicycle transportation is unfeasible for them (I used to work on the mountain and I did bike some days, but man that stairway climb was gruelling, with my bike over my shoulder).

That's why we badly need city investment in making this form of transportation more viable. First, we need public transportation to embrace bicycles, by creating convenient places to stash them on buses (and on trams, if we ever get those back). And creating some bicycle 'elevators' that run up and down the escarpment would go a long way to helping out mountain residents who work downtown and vice versa.

Secondly, we badly need proper bike paths in this city. Any city I've been to where bicycle transportation is common has them, from Amsterdam to Montreal. Riding on the street is all well and good for the road warrior types - or just those who are young and fit and by themselves - but for bicycle transportation to really be workable in Hamilton, it has to work for everyone. That includes children on their own, parents with children in tow, and the elderly.

Believe it or not, the elderly in some countries really do zip around on the bike paths. But after surviving for decades, not many elderly are going to take their lives in their hands by battling traffic on King Street.

Please, Hamilton, make this city bicycle-friendly!

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