Copenhagen knows that nothing is more convenient and environmentally friendly than a journey through downtown on a bike. Photo: Adele Peters, Fast Company
Consider the full cost of owning a car -- it hurts your brain doesn't it?
Owning a car has its perks -- long-distance traveling at your own convenience, a sheltered transport for avoiding the cold, wet, dreary rain, and the all-important storage for our bag of groceries. But bearing the cost of the finances that come with it is a tremendous headache that you would not be able to afford in the long-run. In British Columbia, premiums have been steadily increasing over the past six years, and today, the average BC driver pays $1550 per vehicle each year. A primary driver of rising insurance costs has been the increase in settlement claims -- the premiums we currently pay is not high enough to cover to cost of most paying claims.
We can change this.
Copenhagen has a long standing history of its deeply entrenched cycling culture. Seventy percent of the population owns a bike, not because of rocket-high prices of owning personal vehicles, but rather their extensive and wide array of the modes of transportation made available to them.
Since cars are made redundant in the city, the Copenhagen City Heart Study involving nearly 20,000 city inhabitants aged 20 to 100 years old in a cardiovascular population study concluded that cycling at high or average speeds increase life espectancy of the participants by 5 and 3 years respectively. Additionally, it is found that there is a 30-percent decrease in mortality rate among adults who commute by bicycle daily
Our society could gain an increase in productivity from a healthier work force when we promote cycling in central business districts. Promoting a bicycling culture in British Columbia would also spark a positive economic impact towards local bicycle rental shops and for our wholesale dealers in the private sector. If that's not enough, our tourism industry would also receive as well as provide major economic benefits to our cities.Official response from Alice Tang submitted
Alice Tang responded to Red Light Cameras For Speed Enforcement Would Save Lives with submitted 2017-08-14 15:41:24 -0700
Photo: Jaenelle Schneider, Vancouver Sun
The lack of speed enforcement is a rising concern for BC residents. ICBC's speed data reported that between 2011 and 2012, of the daily 1.1 billion vehicles that pass through those sites over the two-year period, 1.1 million were traveling at an excessive speed, which is defined by more than 40 km/h. It is precisely because of the lack of speed control enforcements that roadway fatal casualties have increased to 275 in British Columbia with as many as 94 fatal crashes in the Lower Mainland since 2011.
Fortunately, to-date, BC has over 140 automated intersection cameras, which has been crucial measure in providing safety for all road users. However, more lives could be saved if we follow UK's leading practice in targetted speed enforcements.
Studies from the National Safety Camera Programme concluded that installing red light cameras would see upwards to 100 reduced fatalities per year and have at least 4,230 fewer personal injury collisions. Overall, this program delivered enhanced results for road safety management as deaths and serious injuries were reduced by 42%. The ICBC review estimated that the introduction of speed enforcements at the high-risk intersection camera (ISC) sites could reduce the frequency of accidents by 14%–25% and the severity of the accidents by 11%–45%. This could result in a cost savings of $89 million per year, which could be used to lower insurance costs.
Although many of the victims in the NSCP study were passengers, it is important to note that people walking and cycling are more vulnerable to the dangers of high motor vehicle speeds. If you want our government to implement a program as promising as the one in UK, please do not hesitate to inform our government.Official response from Alice Tang submitted
Alice Tang published Queensland's Safer Passing Laws in British Columbia in Safer Passing Law 2017-07-25 13:11:11 -0700
Queensland's cycling laws enforced with technology should be adopted in BC. Photo: Rob Homer, Brisbane Times
Safer Passing Laws are paramount to cyclists' safety. Besides advocating for better cycling facilities, the BC Cycling Coalition has partnered with members of the BC Road Safety Law Reforming Group in hopes of amending the Motor Vehicle Act for better road rules that protect and reduce on-road fatalities for cyclists.
The Minimum Passing Distance Law -- also known as the MPDL -- has been introduced all over the world, including 28 states within the US. Several notable cities in Europe have paved the way for making biking the ultimate mode of transport, and down south, a strong "Share the Road" message was broadcasted primarily to improve cyclist safety.
In Queensland, a report after a two-year trial of the Minimum Passing Distance rule enforced concluded that motorists' awareness of cyclists within one metre of their proximity has increased significantly. In fact, survey results from the QUT review show that 75% of cyclists and 60% of drivers believe that they can accurately judge a one-meter distance from passing drivers and cyclists even when traveling at 60 km/h.
As of the end of November, there had been only three cyclist fatalities, down from 11 at the same time in 2013 before the changes were introduced. -Shadow Transport Minister, Scott Emerson (2015)
The BC Cycling Coalition wants British Columbians to be able to cycle and walk in safety. Our movement for the Active Transportation Strategy to be implemented provides facilities that will not only benefit the cycling community, but also our environment as we attempt to address climate change.
Although British Columbia has undergone several strategies to provide greener public transportation, cycling should be of priority when it comes to designing suitable infrastructure for pedestrian, cyclists' and motorists' safety.
We urge you now to take action now and write a letter to our government legislatures regarding this matter; highlight Queensland's two-year trial case to show what can be done.
Addressing the Potential Challenges
QPS officers stressed the challenge of enforcing the MPD road rule. The difficulty lied within assessing whether or not vehicles were following the rules as there was no concrete evidence to prove so. Carrs-Q reported, "the officers felt that this inability to accurately determine passing distances leads to erratic passing manoeuvres".
Fortunately, since the enactment of the two-year trial, the QPS officers saw improvement in vehicle-bicycle interactions. Further suggestions to curtail ambiguity include conducting a series of road safety classes in the lead-up to the introduction of the road rule as well as in-class simulations of appropriate cycling passing distances and behaviour.Official response from Alice Tang submitted
Alice Tang responded to Better Laws Needed to Keep Cyclists Safe - Lily Watters with submitted 2017-07-11 14:27:30 -0700
Ellen Watters at Tour de White Rock - Photo: Scott Robarts
When we advocate for better, more inclusive rules on our roadways, we make ourselves accountable for our joy in cycling. I have been a cycling commuter since I started riding my bike to school at 9, and a "lifestyle" cyclist since a few years before that. I've lately started racking up kilometers on a road bike, so I can say without exaggeration that riding a bike has been a big part of my life for a long time. But I don't want to give the impression that I'm just in this to increase my personal freedom. This isn't just about making safe decisions as individuals or getting more of what each of us may want in our cycling niche, but being ambassadors for our sport and our choice of transportation. Taking a critical look, and speaking up about cycling safety forces us to acknowledge the risk involved.
Unfortunately, many of us already know about these risks from personal experience, near misses for a friend, or the loss of someone dear. There is too much at stake to only complain about motorists after a ride, and too much to be gained to only post our happiness on social media. We already know what a group of focused cyclists can accomplish when they challenge themselves in their discipline; let's put that to work in advocating for better laws to keep cyclists safe on the roads.
- Lily Watters, Sister of Ellen Watters
Following the death of Lily's sister and rising cycling star, Ellen Watters, on a training ride in December 2016, the New Brunswick legislature moved quickly to pass a safe passing distance law.Official response from Alice Tang submitted
Alice Tang signed A Billion for Biking & Walking Petition 2017-06-15 11:23:20 -0700The importance of safe and protected bike lanes are now ever more critical as we encourage more people to use sustainable modes of transport.
Bold Action Now
It is time for bold action now to enable every person, including older adults and children, in BC to cycle or walk for their everyday trips.
Investing $1 billion over ten years in cycling and walking will send a strong message to the world that BC is serious about addressing Climate Change.
Cycling and walking will become attractive choices for everyone, leading to significantly improved fitness and reduced greenhouse gas emissions, pollution, congestion, and traffic injuries and fatalities. The paths and protected bike lanes could also be used by people in wheelchairs and other mobile devices.
Investing in cycling and walking will benefit the economy by increasing tourism, reducing healthcare costs, increasing workplace productivity, attracting talented workers, and reducing the societal costs of traffic fatalities and injuries.
Cycling is Popular
There is broad public support for cycling improvements. In the B.C. on the Move Engagement Survey, 72% of respondents supported enhancing cycling infrastructure. Cycling is popular. Almost 70% of adults in BC ride a bicycle at least once a year, 42% at least once a month and 25% at least once a week. Many want to cycle more, with around 65% indicating they would ride more if there were separated bike lanes that protected them from traffic.
A Transportation Bargain
On a per dollar basis, we all benefit more from cycling more than other modes. While bike paths and protected bike lanes are a bargain that will benefit far more people per dollar invested than other transportation projects, it does take a significant amount of cash to build networks of them in communities around the Province. For example:
- Metro Vancouver: $850 million
- Capital Regional District: $275 million
- City of Kelowna: $267 million (cycling and walking)
- City of Chilliwack: $27 Million
- City of Kamloops: $13 Million
At current rates of investment, these plans will take 30, 40 or even 50 years to complete, leaving people to brave busy roads on their bikes or more likely, not bothering to bike at all. Today's children will be grandparents by then.
The Provincial investment combined with local and federal funds will enable the completion of ambitious local and regional plans across BC. For example, the Metro Vancouver Regional Cycling Strategy predicts that upon network build out, cycling will increase to 10% of trips. The CRD Regional Pedestrian and Cycling Master Plan predicts cycling network build out cycling mode share will increase to 15%.
The funding for the $1 billion investment could come from a variety of sources including an increase in the Carbon Tax, predicted budget surpluses, a reallocation of transportation budget, cutting the tax break on those earning over $150,000 or a tax on sugary drinks.
By providing people with practical and safe transportation choices, this investment would decrease the rate of the Carbon Tax required to meet Provincial goals also saving money for those who don't cycle or walk.
I call upon the Government of BC to enable everyone in BC to cycle & walk in safety as part of their daily lives by implementing an Active Transportation Strategy that includes:
- Investing $1 billion over the next ten years to:
- Upgrade cycling & walking facilities on provincial roads & bridges
- Complete cycling & walking networks in communities across BC
- Provide safe routes to school for children
- Build trails & routes for cycling & walking tourism
- Ensuring that paths & protected bike lanes can be safely shared by people using wheelchairs, skateboards & in-line skates
- Enhancing cycling education for children & adults
- Promoting cycling & walking
- Encouraging electric bike use by eliminating the PST & providing rebates