Call For Letters Re. Bike Share Program

By Adrian Duyzer
Published March 15, 2013

Last month, councillors deferred a decision on a public bike share program in Hamilton, requesting more information from staff. In particular, councillors would like to know whether the program would expose the City to potential liabilities.

This is in spite of the fact that as of 2011, there were 375 bike sharing programs across the globe, including dozens in the US and at least five in Canada (Kitchener, Montreal, Quebec City, Ottawa and Toronto), with another expected to launch in Vancouver this summer.

The word on the street right now is that councillors urgently need to hear from us if they're going to consider adding Hamilton to this growing list of cities that host successful bike sharing programs, in spite of the fact that Metrolinx will pay the entire cost of the system in Hamilton. Please consider contacting City Council and writing a letter to the editor of the Hamilton Spectator. Email addresses for City Council can be found here. Send letters to the Spec to

Here's my letter to Council:

Dear Mayor, members of City Council,

I'm writing today to share with you a revolutionary mode of transportation. This mode:

  • is the most efficient mode of transportation in existence
  • is astonishingly inexpensive
  • does not produce pollution
  • takes up a small fraction of the space of an automobile
  • is cheap and affordable
  • causes the people who use it to become healthier and live longer

This mode is, of course, cycling. And it's these advantages that have made bicycles the world's most common means of mechanical transportation - there are a billion bicycles worldwide, twice as many as automobiles.

Unfortunately, Hamilton lags behind many of our counterparts in its adoption of this remarkable form of transportation, including many of our counterparts here in Canada. You now have a chance to change this situation by agreeing to host a bike share program here in Hamilton - a program that will be fully funded by Metrolinx.

I understand there are some concerns about liability, but let's not be so risk-averse that we miss out on an amazing - and provincially funded! - opportunity to join the 200 other cities that are already running bike share programs. Riding a bike is not dangerous. I take my five-year-old son on a tandem bicycle to senior kindergarten every weekday, and although I would welcome more cycle paths in Hamilton, we've never even come close to having an accident.

What is dangerous is air pollution, obesity and inactivity, and this program has the potential to help mitigate all of those issues. I look forward to seeing a bike share program here in Hamilton. Thank you for your time.

Please feel free to post your letters in the comments.

Adrian Duyzer is an entrepreneur, business owner, and Associate Editor of Raise the Hammer. He lives in downtown Hamilton with his family. On Twitter: adriandz


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By jason (registered) | Posted March 16, 2013 at 14:04:49

FYI, in the couple weeks since council punted this back to staff, San Fran and Pittsburgh both approved their bike share systems. These are our direct competitors in the new economy. And for the past 40 years I can only think of one area that we have been ahead of them on - food trucks. Lets start leading more often. Liability can't really be that big of a concern to council or they wouldn't just leave these 5-lane freeways barreling past family homes, schools and parks for decades on end.

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By Noted (anonymous) | Posted March 16, 2013 at 14:49:00 in reply to Comment 87267

"San Fran and Pittsburgh... are our direct competitors in the new economy."

"And for the past 40 years I can only think of one area that we have been ahead of them on - food trucks. "

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By jason (registered) | Posted March 17, 2013 at 00:55:40 in reply to Comment 87268

So perhaps we've led in 0 areas. Ok, even better. Let's get off our duffs and get with it already!

EDIT: and by the way, us and Pittsburgh were like two peas in a pod not long ago. The fact that it's grown leaps and bounds ahead of us further cements my point. We've virtually done nothing but build townhomes on farmland for the past 40 years.
Cities that would have viewed us as competition 30-50 years ago have left us in their dust. With any semblance of leadership and vision we can get back in the global game.

Comment edited by jason on 2013-03-17 00:59:17

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By Conrad664 (registered) | Posted March 18, 2013 at 10:41:33 in reply to Comment 87273

So true Jason

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By Mal (anonymous) | Posted March 19, 2013 at 19:09:06 in reply to Comment 87278

Hamilton has been thinking about Bixi for longer than I suspected: 52 months and counting!

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By LOL all over again (anonymous) | Posted March 16, 2013 at 15:31:43 in reply to Comment 87268

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By Noted (anonymous) | Posted March 20, 2013 at 20:14:37


It's official. Bikeshare program passes unanimously. #HamOnt

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