May 17th– We learned a lot at the Friendly Streets Ideation Workshop for active transportation (Eva Rothwell Centre). This workshop focused on ideas to help residents prepare for and participate in the annual 100 in 1 Day Hamilton, June 3rd. Many ideas were generated, including ways to slow down traffic: painted potholes on plywood, rainbow crosswalks, a citizen parade, all under the campaign title, “Experience 30 Km/hr.”
Other major ideas that came out of the workshop:
1. The Cannon street bike lanes need more attention to safety. Perhaps green paint could be put down on intersections of the track to draw attention.
2. There was further expression for the need for bike lane connectivity across the city.
3. There was interest in also improving bus connectivity.
We also chatted with residents coming into the centre for sewing classes. There were some who expressed a real frustration for cyclists, claiming that they do not ride responsibly, that they are a danger to motorists. We were surprised to learn that some residents believe that the reason for these irresponsible cyclists, is that they are part of a population that have had their licenses taken away as a result of drunk driving! Cycling is the only recourse and they do this in a drunken state as well!
One person said that visibility of cyclists is an issue, and our impression was that cyclists are a plague on the streets that makes drivers have to be more vigilant.
Overall, there was the desire for cyclists to have to take safety courses, kids to learn how to ride bikes properly, including the rules of the road (via Safety Rodeos and work shops). Also, one person suggested that parents need to learn how to ride safely with their kids (don’t ride in front of your kid, but behind them, for example).
Brief exchange with guy at the front desk, Eva Rothwell centre.
“What do you think about the bike lanes?” he asks us.
“They are fine, but I think there needs to be more protected lanes and far more connectivity. What about you?”
“I hate them,” he says passionately.
“Lots of potential for accidents. Interaction with cars, bikes, pedestrians needs work. For example, Cannon at Victoria, you can can’t turn left but at Catherine you can.”
He continues, “Besides, people don’t use the bike lands properly. They go through red lights (uh, don’t drivers do this too?? With far worse consequences).
In the end, he comes around, saying that it is a good idea to have bike lanes, “but cyclists need to share the bike lane with other cyclists,” and there needs to be more monitoring than what there is now, with patrolling the lane.
“I would ride more if people shared the bike lane. You see signs on cars, saying share the road.”