Special Report: Cycling

Hunter Bike Lanes Blocked with Snow Piles

Leaving bike lanes uncleared creates safety concerns for people travelling by bike and possible traffic concerns for people travelling by motorized vehicles, and is a waste of city resources.

By Rob Rombouts
Published February 06, 2015

Why is the City of Hamilton not clearing the bike lanes on Hunter Street?

The state of the lanes after the recent snowfalls make them essentially unusable and therefore wasted space. It creates safety concerns for people travelling by bike and possible traffic concerns for people travelling by motorized vehicles, and is a waste of city resources.

I travel from my home in Ward 3 to my work in Ward 2 each weekday. I travel with my daughter, to drop her off at daycare. I most often use a bike with a built-in carrier, as this is the quickest and most convenient way for us to travel. I will sometimes walk or take the bus.

My bike trip is short, but does bring me in close contact with enough traffic that I prefer to use the bike lane if possible. The bike lanes are dedicated space allowing me to feel safe, while also not bothering pedestrians who may be using the multi-use trail that runs along the rail line.

As we are a one-car family, I bike year-round. I understand that travelling in the winter is difficult and everyone has to adjust to less than ideal conditions, but I think the state of the bike lanes goes beyond that.

I have included four pictures, showing different access points to the Hunter Street bike line. One picture shows the lane at Ferguson, the next at Walnut. The remaining two show the turning lane from Catharine to the Hunter Street bike lane.

Hunter bike lane at Ferguson
Hunter bike lane at Ferguson

Hunter bike lane at Walnut
Hunter bike lane at Walnut

Left turn lane from Catharine onto Hunter
Left turn lane from Catharine onto Hunter

Left turn lane from Catharine onto Hunter
Left turn lane from Catharine onto Hunter

The snow piles on these areas make the lanes essentially unusable. Trying to access the lane, or biking around these piles at the intersection once I am in the lane, would put me and my daughter into a live lane of traffic.

This is one thing if I am biking the same direction as automobile traffic, but an entirely difference consideration if I am in the contra-flow lane.

The pile at Catharine blocks access to the lane going eastbound. If someone is trying to get to the contra-flow lane, they would use the turning lane on Catharine, but that lane is made completely inaccessible by the large snowbank where Catharine meets Hunter.

If bike lanes are available, people travelling by bike will reasonably think that they can travel along them. When they get to those lanes and find they are impassible or inaccessible, they must make snap decisions on which way they should travel.

They could travel in live traffic lanes, leaving them in danger of contact with drivers who may not be expecting them. They may decided to travel on the sidewalks, which is illegal and causes difficulty for pedestrians. They could try to use side streets, but those may also be uncleared and unsafe for cycling.

I understand the City of Hamilton is largely in an experimental stage regarding bike lanes. If the city is going to commit resources to the bike lanes, then they should also commit to making them usable.

By not clearing them, or by clearing them and then essentially blocking them, it represents a worse use of resources and space than not providing the lanes at all. If these were lanes for motorized vehicles, the corners and access points would not be left uncleared.

This is not about getting special treatment for bikes. It is about ensuring that the resources provided are actually accessible and making the most of the city's infrastructure for all citizens.

This article is adapted from a letter to the City.

Rob Rombouts lives in Ward 3 and works in Ward 2, as a marketing professional. He is committed to active transport, through all sorts of weather.

110 Comments

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By KevinLove (registered) | Posted February 06, 2015 at 12:38:47

The new Cannon Street cycle lanes were essentially unusable last evening and this morning due to snow dumped into them.

I've got photos that I sent to Daryl Bender at the City.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted February 06, 2015 at 12:53:59 in reply to Comment 108793

I was just in it this morning - it's not unusable. The snow is there, but it's thin. The problem is more the blocks of frozen snow that fall in from nearby driveways and the Cannon traffic. The lane needs a proper curb to keep this crap out instead of rubber and knockdown sticks, and bylaw needs to pay attention to ploughs that leave snowbanks on the road alongside their driveways (this is a problem everywhere, not just in bike-lanes)

Comment edited by Pxtl on 2015-02-06 12:59:45

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By KevinLove (registered) | Posted February 06, 2015 at 19:50:30 in reply to Comment 108799

By "unusable" I meant that people who are not part of the strong and fearless 1% are willing to use it. As opposed to people who are saying, "bike on snow and ice? Swerve into car traffic around snow piles that block both Eastbound AND Westbound cycle lanes? Are you crazy?"

Transportation infrastructure is only effective if everyone can use it. If they cannot, then I call it unusable.

Proper snow clearing is not rocket science. Here is how the Dutch ensure cycle paths are always clear.

Comment edited by KevinLove on 2015-02-06 19:53:33

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By LOL_all_over_again (registered) | Posted February 06, 2015 at 20:59:58 in reply to Comment 108839

And of course we all know that the Dutch are world leaders in dealing with snow because they get so much of it. What do they average 5 or 6 inches a winter? There are streets in Hamilton that haven't seen a snowplow yet and you start whining that the bike lanes aren't perfect. Give your head a shake. Streets and sidewalks are way more important than bike lanes based solely on the number of people using them.

This is some of the most asinine complaining I have ever heard. Even for this site.

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By kevlahan (registered) | Posted February 06, 2015 at 21:10:27 in reply to Comment 108842

Why then does that Dutch city invest so much in fancy snow clearing equipment that you seem sure they don't really need? Maybe you should contact them to tell them they're just wasting their time since they don't really have snow.

Would you support municipal snow clearing of sidewalks? Snow clearing of sidewalks by property owners does not work: each block has at least one property that doesn't clear its sidewalks, and it is particularly bad for some high pedestrian traffic areas with commercial buildings and rental properties (e.g. east side of Dundurn across from Fortinos). The current volunteer system will never be sufficient for sidewalks but the city refuses to spend the money to get it done properly.

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By LOL_all_over_again (registered) | Posted February 07, 2015 at 10:19:34 in reply to Comment 108845

I love the idea of the city clearing the sidewalks. Where do you propose to get the money from? Police services? Transit? Bike lanes? Parks? I'm sure that dutch have invested in snow clearing equipment and I would love to see them handle the amount of snow we received in the last little while. Bet you dollars to donuts that they would be in a lot worse shape than we are. When is the last time they got a couple feet of snow in a few days? Ever?

That's the big thing so many on this site never ever take into account. The cost of things. From the Billion dollars for LRT to more buses and more bus routes and on and on and on. It's pretty easy to tell others how to spend their money (Don't tear that down, that ugly building has historical value) or the bike lanes have to be plowed even if there are only a dozen of us that use them but it's pretty tough to fund these things, no matter how wonderful you think it is.

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By jason (registered) | Posted February 07, 2015 at 10:21:43 in reply to Comment 108866

actually this site takes the 'cost of things' into account more than anyone at city hall or anywhere else in this city:

http://raisethehammer.org/article/2161/c...

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By LOL_all_over_again (registered) | Posted February 07, 2015 at 22:27:49 in reply to Comment 108867

Of course this site whines about the money spent on roads. The roads that the huge majority of citizens use not to mention the police and fire and ambulance.

The auto industry is a huge segment of our economy. Without it we would all be in trouble. As would every level of government. How much does the bicycle industry contribute to our economy? Enough to worry about? No. Not at all. About the same as the buggy whip industry I think. The auto industry which so many of you rail against at any opportunity is the very thing which enables our economy to do as well as it does.

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By arienc (registered) | Posted February 12, 2015 at 12:03:27 in reply to Comment 108873

Did you know that the bicycle industry in Europe employs more people than do the 3 largest North American auto manufacturers combined?

I'm going to guess not.

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By LOL_all_over_again (registered) | Posted February 27, 2015 at 00:58:33 in reply to Comment 109086

just did a quick check on Wikipedia. It says Ford the 5th largest auto maker in the world employs about 213,000 world wide. I doubt the entire bike industry employs that many people.

Give your head a shake.

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By rawrrrrrr (anonymous) | Posted February 27, 2015 at 09:37:08 in reply to Comment 109776

THIS JUST IN! TROLL DOUBTS THINGS!

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By LOL_all_over_again (registered) | Posted February 27, 2015 at 00:54:31 in reply to Comment 109086

Didn't know that. Don't believe it for an instant. Where oh where did you get your numbers from? Sounds like utter nonsense to me. An industry where the low priced items cost $100 compared to an industry where the low priced models come in close to $20,000. And they still sell lots. Not to mention that bike maintenance must be about 1% of a car.

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By downtown in lol (anonymous) | Posted February 12, 2015 at 13:13:11 in reply to Comment 109086

that will nevar happin hear cauz amoricainz luv cars a lots

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By jason (registered) | Posted February 07, 2015 at 22:39:23 in reply to Comment 108873

who said we shouldn't have roads??

What we absolutely shouldn't have is roads that are 2 and 3x wider than necessary.

Surely if we're so rich we can afford to build all our streets twice as large as necessary, we can afford some measly bike lanes and decent transit.

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By LOL_all_over_again (registered) | Posted February 09, 2015 at 22:09:37 in reply to Comment 108874

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By arienc (registered) | Posted February 12, 2015 at 15:39:39 in reply to Comment 108924

But which came first...the roads or the cars? Many would say that cars are the main mode of transport in the city because we have such wide streets.

The infrastructure we have influences to a great extent how people use it. If we build bike routes that are not protected from fast moving cars, such that it requires a daredevil to transport themselves by bicycle, or being a pedestrian requires one to submit to all kinds of inconveniences, then we shouldn't be surprised that few people ride bikes or walk in the city.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted February 10, 2015 at 12:43:47 in reply to Comment 108924

Surely you can see that the difference between 9ish or 10ish Westbound arterial lanes for cars is less significant than the difference between 1/2 a westbound lane for bikes and zero.

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By earplugs (anonymous) | Posted February 09, 2015 at 22:26:10 in reply to Comment 108924

by engineering standards our roads are overbuilt by one two three or even more lanes depending on the stretch. our own roads manager even agrees and his job depends on building and maintaining roads! just keep your fingers in your ears and keep screaming LA LA LA like a good little 5 year old

how do you benefit from trolling? forget bike licenses, we need computer licencing to keep psychopaths off the internet

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By LOL_all_over_again (registered) | Posted February 10, 2015 at 17:43:21 in reply to Comment 108927

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By earplugs (anonymous) | Posted February 10, 2015 at 17:48:34 in reply to Comment 108975

Man - people have been feeding you answers worth much more than a damn for over a year yet you continue to make the same invalid points over and over. At some point it becomes clear you are not interested in honest conversation. You are earning your reputation with each post but are too immature to live with it.

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By LOL_all_over_again (registered) | Posted February 10, 2015 at 17:56:42 in reply to Comment 108976

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By earplugs (anonymous) | Posted February 10, 2015 at 22:58:50 in reply to Comment 108978

You can believe what you want about your points. Most people used to believe the world was flat no matter how many times they were proven wrong. You pretend not to care, but you spend more time on this site than most of the actual article writers do.

If you feel your points are valid, go find some resources to back them up and write up an article. Good luck!

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By mikeonthemountain (registered) | Posted February 06, 2015 at 21:42:51 in reply to Comment 108845

Well, in Burlington the sidewalks are done by the city.

The bike lanes are only clear if it's by fluke. Pretty much all ice mounds and frozen car tire track, completely unusable. And this is allegedly the most cycle friendly city in southern ontario. Yet on-road bike lanes very much appear to be excluded, and are simply not mentioned at all in the city snow control document.

Therefore the cyclist is evidently expected to use the road. And I control the right lane with almost no trouble from anybody, motorists seem to know what's up. And people are out riding bikes, regardless of what any village idiot says. The two I passed and three or four in opposite direction were not figments of my imagination.

So Hamilton will take the lead if it gets a bike lane snow control program. Yes it is extremely far removed from the sweepers dusting off every last snowflake off a Copenhagen bikeway. But for the immediate GTHA, Hamilton is putting in an effort that as far as I can tell leads the immediate area.

My opinion - get a good fleet of sidewalk gear, use it to do sidewalks, then run down the bike lanes afterward. I'd like to see both cities do that.

Comment edited by mikeonthemountain on 2015-02-06 21:56:55

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By KevinLove (registered) | Posted February 07, 2015 at 02:28:26 in reply to Comment 108851

Since you mentioned Copenhagen...

Here's a video of Copenhagen snow clearing from the bike paths. A quote from the accompanying text:

I spotted one of our lovely street sweepers/snow removers at work the other day. It really is the loveliest sound on the streets during winter. We've had about 45 cm of snow at time of writing but these working class heroes keep the bike lanes clear.

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By LOL_all_over_again (registered) | Posted February 10, 2015 at 17:48:36 in reply to Comment 108860

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By arienc (registered) | Posted February 12, 2015 at 16:19:26 in reply to Comment 108977

An interesting comparison between the transportation systems in two countries.

Not to suggest that Germany is the best example out there, but take a good look at the cost differential. Even with much higher gasoline costs, Germans spend far less as a percentage of their incomes, as well as considerably fewer tax dollars on transportation compared to their US bretheren.

Another thing to note is the safety factor (which in Canada with medical care paid for by the state also impacts our tax bill quite substantially).

Conclusion - those who believe that a car-dominant transportation system is more cost-effective than a multi-modal one need to have their heads checked.

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By LOL_all_over_again (registered) | Posted February 27, 2015 at 01:04:01 in reply to Comment 109091

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By under the bridge downtown (anonymous) | Posted February 27, 2015 at 09:38:38 in reply to Comment 109777

I guess they don't teach cause and effect in troll college

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By LOL_all_over_again (registered) | Posted February 07, 2015 at 23:19:22 in reply to Comment 108860

Clearing snow with a sweeper. Wow. I don't know who wrote the quote but that picture did not have 45 cm of snow. 10 maybe 15 I believe but no way is that 45 cm. Ia that your quote? Did the person misspeak? or did you deliberately change it?

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By notlloyd (registered) - website | Posted February 12, 2015 at 19:34:14 in reply to Comment 108875

Lake Placid, which get ample snow and is very cold, uses a sweeper on all their sidewalks and some roads and paths.

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted February 08, 2015 at 10:40:47 in reply to Comment 108875

Hamilton clears sidewalks in the BIAs with sweepers.

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted February 09, 2015 at 17:49:29 in reply to Comment 108881

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By notlloyd (registered) - website | Posted February 12, 2015 at 19:35:21 in reply to Comment 108916

I was in Lake Placid last week and there was a foot of snow overnight. The paths and sidewalks were cleared with sweepers quite quickly.

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted February 12, 2015 at 23:40:44 in reply to Comment 109095

So I guess you saw them out there clearing that?

I love it. If you throw personal opinion out, it's cool. If someone who disagrees with what this site pushes lately it's trolling. LOL

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By seer (anonymous) | Posted February 13, 2015 at 09:05:45 in reply to Comment 109100

The sad thing about trolls is they are psychopaths who have so much trouble understanding why trolling is pathetic and annoying that they don't even recognize what trolling is. This means they can't see it in themselves and will never change - while at the same time arguing to the death that all they are doing is having a different opinion.

We've seen enough trolls come and go on this website, you're just the latest in a long line and you'll get tired of it eventually.

In the meantime, the rational ones here can use you to hone debating skills that help in the real world, where they do real things to make a difference.

LOL

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted February 13, 2015 at 09:50:20 in reply to Comment 109106

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By seer (anonymous) | Posted February 13, 2015 at 10:17:06 in reply to Comment 109113

There's lots of room for debate with people capable of understanding facts and logic. you are a self-identified downtown hater who thinks it's only for losers who have no other choice and you aren't interested in actual debate. There is definitely an echo chamber at play but it's in your own head.

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted February 16, 2015 at 21:07:12 in reply to Comment 109114

you are a self-identified downtown hater who thinks it's only for losers who have no other choice and you aren't interested in actual debate.

Really? I lived downtown for over 5 years, by choice, in Corktown. We moved away in the summer, after spending about 6 months trying to find a house in the lower city that gave us what we wanted (a yard, a basement someone over 6 feet can stand in, and in our price range) yet ended up settling on the mountain. I can't say I really miss being downtown, but by no means hate the core. I am still there regularly, though.

Thanks for trying to frame it as if I'm the crackpot, but an anon-troll is what it is.

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By jason (registered) | Posted February 12, 2015 at 20:51:22 in reply to Comment 109095

if only such technology existed in Hamilton. Oh well

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By notlloyd (registered) - website | Posted February 12, 2015 at 20:53:31 in reply to Comment 109096

I bet if we were not a closed shop union town and labor prices weren't through the roof, we could have that technology up and running and part time student help could clear the snow in a jiffy.

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By mikeonthemountain (registered) | Posted February 08, 2015 at 00:56:06 in reply to Comment 108875

Historical weather data for Copenhagen area for 2010

The graph under the Snow > Depth section confirms that there was 45cm of snow on the ground in December in the Copenhagen area.

Photos, particularly as someone writes a blog article, can be gathered over days. December had the greatest accumulation during the month, right around the date of the blog post. The graph supports multiple photos having less snow in some, over a foot in others. The observant will notice that year was above average snowfall as well.

Comment edited by mikeonthemountain on 2015-02-08 01:03:52

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By jason (registered) | Posted February 06, 2015 at 21:27:45 in reply to Comment 108845

Yep, nobody wants to cycle in the winter.

Oulu, Finland. Looks balmy:

http://vimeo.com/67039532

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By LOL_all_over_again (registered) | Posted February 07, 2015 at 23:23:26 in reply to Comment 108847

Listen to the video. Cyclists from all over the world gathered ... Not like this is what cycling really looks like there in the winter. But that's what you wanted to convey wasn't it. If the facts don't fit your argument just lie or mislead. Goes to show how silly your arguement is when you have to lie about it.

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By mikeonthemountain (registered) | Posted February 08, 2015 at 00:59:18 in reply to Comment 108876

Not like this is what cycling really looks like there in the winter.

This video explains the snow control processes in Finland and confirms that not only is snow control not isolated for an international event, it is taken as seriously to be ready for rush hour, as roads.

Have anything else stupid to say that you'd like fact checked?

Comment edited by mikeonthemountain on 2015-02-08 01:01:05

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By LOL_all_over_again (registered) | Posted February 10, 2015 at 17:59:06 in reply to Comment 108878

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By LOL_all_over_again (registered) | Posted February 09, 2015 at 22:21:47 in reply to Comment 108878

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By Centerline (anonymous) | Posted February 06, 2015 at 12:40:20

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By AP (registered) | Posted February 07, 2015 at 09:27:16 in reply to Comment 108794

I typically have two competing thoughts when riding in the winter when I come across terrible conditions in the bike lanes right next to 2, 3, 4 lanes of bone-dry, perfectly cleared automobile lanes: (1) It's winter, in Canada, be patient; (2) If the adjacent lanes can be that good, we can do much better on these. The "in Canada" is the key driver in both: We do have some snow-filled winters, but so do other places, some of which choose to prioritize clearing of their bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure and reap the benefits. On Main over the 403 this past week, the protected lane was great on Wednesday but somehow, through human/plow interaction, worse on Thursday without any additional snowfall. Which confirms for me that priorities and perspective are the key determining factors, not our country's climate. I'm grateful for the perspective shared here, for the call for better service; it's called vision and advocacy and adds up to progress.

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By AnjoMan (registered) | Posted February 11, 2015 at 15:31:16 in reply to Comment 108864

"Be patient" works for the rail trail, but not for the few existing cycling routes. To me it is not unreasonable that a lane like Cannon should be as high a priority as the car lanes on the same road, since it is a cycling artery

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By AnjoMan (registered) | Posted February 06, 2015 at 13:42:12 in reply to Comment 108794

Ironically this is exactly what we expect the city to provide for those who drive.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted February 06, 2015 at 12:48:51 in reply to Comment 108794

Funny, I don't see giant snowbanks blocking entire lanes of auto traffic.

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By LOL_all_over_again (registered) | Posted February 06, 2015 at 21:01:58 in reply to Comment 108796

And that's because for every bike out in this weather there are hundreds of cars.

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By kevlahan (registered) | Posted February 06, 2015 at 12:51:00

Are you talking about the beautifully streets adjacent to the cycle lanes (not much different from August)? The constant chorus of complaints by residents that their side streets are not properly cleared? Are cyclists and pedestrians the only ones not entitled to properly cleared routes in the winter?

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted February 06, 2015 at 12:52:14

The bi-directional lane on King in Westdale near Macklin is similarly blocked, and in a terribly dangerous fashion that gradually pushes a cyclist into oncoming traffic.

I understood that being a reasonable temporary measure on Monday during the blizzard, but it's Friday now and it's still there. The big frustration is the South side of king is unused in this area - it's a dead-end lane that's constricted by snowbanks anyways. Nobody drives in it. It would be an ideal place to pile it high.

And it's definitely city staff piling the snow there - the nearby parking lots have their own internal mountains.

Comment edited by Pxtl on 2015-02-06 12:52:25

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By Centerline (anonymous) | Posted February 06, 2015 at 13:11:27

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By Borderline (anonymous) | Posted February 06, 2015 at 14:34:57 in reply to Comment 108801

Ya, "my huge 4x4 Suv" if there was any doubt as to your douchebaggery from your last comment this pretty much seals the deal.

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By TheProblem (anonymous) | Posted February 06, 2015 at 14:54:49 in reply to Comment 108810

I betcha Centerline is the first person bitching about the city not spending enough to fix our roads, even though his "huge 4x4 Suv" is doing more than it's fare share to crush the roadbed and cause pot holes.

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By yah (anonymous) | Posted February 06, 2015 at 15:07:07 in reply to Comment 108813

das for sure and he/she probably likes wolves more then puppy dogs

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By RobRombouts (registered) | Posted February 06, 2015 at 14:02:57 in reply to Comment 108801

I do have a snow tire on my bike, but as others have pointed out, even snow tires won't help with the piles.

And as per the earlier comment about expecting August conditions all-year round, no, I don't, and I stated that clearly in the piece. I know the conditions aren't ideal, but there is a world of difference between not ideal and not accessible.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted February 06, 2015 at 13:16:58 in reply to Comment 108801

I think your 4x4 might have trouble with this:

snowbanks

That snowbank has actually grown and hardened in the 2 days since the photo was taken.

https://twitter.com/SpencerSnowling/stat...

/hat tip to Spencer.

Comment edited by Pxtl on 2015-02-06 13:17:08

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By SSnowling (registered) | Posted February 06, 2015 at 15:16:02 in reply to Comment 108803

You're welcome. Yes, that huge mountain that forces eastbound bikes into the oncoming westbound traffic is brutal and dangerous.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted February 06, 2015 at 21:20:56 in reply to Comment 108817

They fixed it up this afternoon! King/Macklin is finally clear. Was good to see on my ride home today.

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By kevlahan (registered) | Posted February 06, 2015 at 13:13:42 in reply to Comment 108801

I have Kenda Klondike studded snow tires on my bike. They don't help on rutted ice or get you through metre high snowdrifts!

http://www.kendatire.com/en/bicycle/stud...

Comment edited by kevlahan on 2015-02-06 13:14:46

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By winter (anonymous) | Posted February 06, 2015 at 14:26:35

Guess what? The snow piles on my street have rendered it all by useless as well. There's is barely vehicle that can get through, and adjacent to that 'lane' are 6/7 foot snow piles. Getting out of my driveway is dangerous...i can't see pedestrians on the sidewalks or vehicles on the road. It's winter...deal with it. And sorry to say, but let's focus City efforts on clearing huge drifts that are causing a safety concern for more people than those using the bike lanes.
Let the onslaught begin...

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By Stephen (anonymous) | Posted February 06, 2015 at 14:48:17 in reply to Comment 108808

Out of curiosity, what street is that?

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By winter (anonymous) | Posted February 06, 2015 at 15:57:09 in reply to Comment 108811

It's a crescent on the mountain.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted February 06, 2015 at 16:02:19 in reply to Comment 108825

Most of the arguments one could make about the tiny ridership of the bike-lane could be made about your little crescent road too. We endlessly hear about how the bike-lanes are empty... if I walked by your street, would I see anyone driving in it at this moment?

And yet your road is plowed at all.

We're not arguing the difference between "low" and "high" priority plowing. At this point, it's about plowing and actively using the plow to construct barriers for cyclists as happened on King and Macklin.

You got a plow to come buy. You received non-zero service. Yay. We're talking about negative service.

Comment edited by Pxtl on 2015-02-06 16:03:29

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted February 06, 2015 at 18:14:19 in reply to Comment 108827

Can we replace "Bike lane" with "the space in front of any driveway" or "the sidewalk in front of any property" for most of the comments and this article here?

It's life. Deal with it. For the small percentage of winter riders, the city will prioritize the snow cleanup and removal. On Monday, our street had a plow go down twice with a third coming by but not doing anything - guess the roads were fine. We have an elementary school on our street so maybe that's why. However, we were left with multiple times to get out and clear off the mountains of snow boulders left by the plow, trying to get the snow off the sidewalks but not back onto the roads. We now have 4-5-6 foot tall snowbanks everywhere on the street, including on corners, which make it very dangerous. But you know what? We'll get by. Suck it up, buttercup - the bike lanes will be cleared, just not immediately after a snowstorm.

Comment edited by DowntownInHamilton on 2015-02-06 18:44:42

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By AnjoMan (registered) | Posted February 06, 2015 at 18:51:36 in reply to Comment 108835

Can we replace "Bike lane" with "the space in front of any driveway" or "the sidewalk in front of any property" for most of the comments and this article here?

No, you can't. There are very few bike lanes in Hamilton, and even fewer options for cyclists to take a different route. Blocking a cycling lane in Hamilton is the equivalent of blocking an arterial or collector road in the effect it has on the cycling network.

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted February 06, 2015 at 21:35:25 in reply to Comment 108838

There are very few bike lanes in Hamilton, and even fewer options for cyclists to take a different route.

You're right. I guess the roads are just not the place for a bike. They absolutely must have a dedicated lane. The bike network in the city is disjointed - how on earth does one ever get anywhere using just bike lanes?

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By AnjoMan (registered) | Posted February 11, 2015 at 15:36:44 in reply to Comment 108848

What you are really saying is that bike lanes shouldn't exist. If they should exist, they should be cleared so they can be used --- otherwise, why are we bothering to build them?

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted February 11, 2015 at 18:56:05 in reply to Comment 109045

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Comment edited by DowntownInHamilton on 2015-02-11 19:01:34

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By Refund (anonymous) | Posted February 11, 2015 at 20:13:11 in reply to Comment 109054

According to the city website, on street bike lanes should be treated like arterials and have the snow cleared as such. The yet to be answered question is why hasn't the city cleared the Hunter Street lanes.

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted February 12, 2015 at 23:50:26 in reply to Comment 109060

Basing your argument on what's posted on the website is funny. There's way too much outdated/incorrect/broken linked information there.

I can't believe that this is still an issue. There's still lots of bus stops and other city property not properly cleared. Bike lanes are a low priority, deal with it.

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By so high and mighty (anonymous) | Posted February 11, 2015 at 19:37:16 in reply to Comment 109054

Please refrain from being obtuse and selfish

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted February 11, 2015 at 20:03:09 in reply to Comment 109056

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By pot (anonymous) | Posted February 11, 2015 at 22:24:44 in reply to Comment 109059

kettle

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted February 12, 2015 at 23:41:57 in reply to Comment 109066

Thanks for the laugh

Stay away from pot, it's turning your brain to mush.

Comment edited by DowntownInHamilton on 2015-02-12 23:42:12

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By Cultosaurus (registered) | Posted February 11, 2015 at 20:19:58 in reply to Comment 109059

Just please refrain in general from posting.

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted February 12, 2015 at 23:41:40 in reply to Comment 109061

Thanks

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By LOL_all_over_again (registered) | Posted February 06, 2015 at 21:09:06 in reply to Comment 108838

Calling it a arterial or collector road implies a lot of traffic. There just isn't a lot of bike traffic in Hamilton in the weather we have had lately. Even in the best of weather there are a lot more cars than bikes in this city.

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By AnjoMan (registered) | Posted February 11, 2015 at 15:38:08 in reply to Comment 108844

Even in the best of weather there are a lot more cars than bikes in this city.

I wonder how much car traffic there would be if Main were never plowed.

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted February 11, 2015 at 18:56:54 in reply to Comment 109046

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By mikeonthemountain (registered) | Posted February 06, 2015 at 14:32:11

In most cases drivers are pretty considerate with sharing the right lane when the bike lanes are blocked.

It feels weird riding in the road on a street with a bike lane ... it does feel like a pointless waste of space for the bike lane to be under the snow.

However, yes Canadian winters easily overwhelm snow removal in the short term after a storm, so ride in the road if it is not safe to use the bike lane.

People even use the road to walk on after a storm ... sharing the road takes a new meaning for several days after a huge snowstorm.

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By denial (anonymous) | Posted February 06, 2015 at 14:49:14

It seems to me that these decisions are made by people who do not commute on bicycle. So, they cannot relate, or even believe, that other people would ride bicycles in winter. HWhat makes perfect sense to us cyclists is not even considered by others. Similar to the issues with HSR: no politicians ride the bus, so they have no clue about its realities.

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By LOL_all_over_again (registered) | Posted February 09, 2015 at 22:31:20 in reply to Comment 108812

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By AnjoMan (registered) | Posted February 11, 2015 at 15:45:17 in reply to Comment 108929

This isn't true, but it might as well be as long as out policies assume it to be true. Who is going to choose to bike in the winter when urban design ignores them?

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted February 10, 2015 at 12:36:58 in reply to Comment 108929

Why can't you just live and let live?

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By TheBaldasaro (registered) - website | Posted February 06, 2015 at 15:35:23

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted February 06, 2015 at 15:46:54 in reply to Comment 108819

I see pedestrians breaking laws frequently too. Shall we stop wasting money on sidewalks and start licensing pedestrians?

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By TheBaldasaro (registered) - website | Posted February 06, 2015 at 15:54:32 in reply to Comment 108822

No. We should do as Vancouver does, fine them for jay walking etc, bicycles also. The corner of King and James would be a good place to start looking for jay walkers. If bike riders had to be licensed, to share the road as other licensed vehicle operators must, that would pay at least a little for the upkeep of the bike lanes riiders are using for free now. I have seen many bikes riding the sidewalks on Cannon Street it makes me wonder why bother with bike lanes when what we really need are pedestrian lanes.

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By kevlahan (registered) | Posted February 06, 2015 at 16:04:56 in reply to Comment 108824

All municipal roads are paid out of property taxes. Which every resident, cyclists included, contribute to! Cyclists more than pay their share of municipal roads considering how little space and wear and tear they produce.

Hamilton police do fine "jaywalkers" and cyclists.

http://www.thespec.com/news-story/2214646-police-crack-down-on-sidewalk-cyclists-jaywalkers/ http://www.thespec.com/news-story/220042...

Vancouver has a policy of building greenways, bike paths, and good pedestrian amenities throughout the city. They have refused to build new roads or widen existing ones for over 40 years. We are extremely far behind them. And I've never heard that Vancouver is particularly aggressive about fining jaywalkers! Every city has periodic crackdowns.

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By thebaldasaro (registered) - website | Posted February 06, 2015 at 22:08:20 in reply to Comment 108828

Automobiles pay for the roads and all taxes are what our Country, Provinces and Cities are bleeding red ink with deficits and debt. And we want the broke Province and Ottawa to send us money they do not have. There is much to change. The automotive Industry, manufacture, parts and repair, plays a huge role in our economy. So popular is the car that everyone wants a CAReer. NOTE: Vancouver is an Island. Hamilton is not Vancouver. They have rain and very little, if any, snow to shovel into their green bike paths during our stormy winters. Might I suggest that we turn our alleyways into bike paths? I travelled throughout Hamilton in alleyways on my bicycles some 40 years. For Hamilton to think it can replace the Automobile is ludicrous and it is plugging up traffic and creating a dangerous situation on Cannon Street for the vehicles, licensed, insured and professionally operated for which Cannon and steets like it were made in the first place.

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By mikeonthemountain (registered) | Posted February 06, 2015 at 22:22:50 in reply to Comment 108854

Ahh bullcrap, Cannon was not made "dangerous" for you by turning three of your driving lanes into two. What it did to was implement the wishes of that neighborhood and create the first proper cycling route across the city.

Second. Property taxes pay for roads. I moved somewhere where my rent increased by 50% so that I could live car free and cycle safely. This is the part where I tell you to shut something something up.

Third, are you able to Google Map these alleyways for us? I'm sure a few of us cycling citizens would try to map realistic commutes using these routes you used for 40 years that worked for you. I think you're lying, but I'm open to being wrong about that.

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By LOL_all_over_again (registered) | Posted February 09, 2015 at 22:38:35 in reply to Comment 108856

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By reality calling (anonymous) | Posted February 11, 2015 at 19:49:54 in reply to Comment 108932

it took me almost ten seconds to figure out he's exaggerating

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted February 11, 2015 at 18:39:48 in reply to Comment 108932

So the city has so much high-speed auto-traffic that it took him 10 minutes to back out and not one driver had the decency to let him into their lane... and he blames the cyclists for it?

What's next, it's the cyclists fault that the right-hand lane is too narrowed by snowbanks to be useful?

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By mikeonthemountain (registered) | Posted February 11, 2015 at 18:56:01 in reply to Comment 109049

A literal 10 minutes is what, 4 light cycles - it's implausible. Without more context I don't believe it, personally. If it was literally 10 minutes, there was some factor like an accident or outlier cause. If this happened on a regular basis there'd be riots by now. Just a hunch, maybe it wasn't literally 10 minutes but is being embellished a bit, and reality was, say, closer to 10 seconds.

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By LOL@LOL (anonymous) | Posted February 12, 2015 at 08:06:34 in reply to Comment 109053

It's more implausible that LOL has any friends living on Cannon St. The way he looks down his nose at people too poor to not live downtown (if they don't like the street they should move, if they can't afford to move too bad) I can't see that psychopath rubbing shoulders with anyone on Cannon.

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted February 06, 2015 at 15:45:02 in reply to Comment 108819

Bike lanes are EXTREMELY cheap compared to our entire roads budget and bike licensing is EXTREMELY expensive for no return. Licensing car drivers doesn't stop them from breaking the rules of the road every single day...

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted February 06, 2015 at 18:45:29 in reply to Comment 108821

No, but it is a revenue stream.

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By kevlahan (registered) | Posted February 06, 2015 at 20:50:27 in reply to Comment 108837

Not to the City. And we're talking about urban cycling here (proportionally very few cyclists ride on provincial roads).

It's a (small: equivalent to less than two return trips on the 407) revenue stream for the Province. It is the City that pays to build and maintain municipal roads through property taxes.

In any case, vehicle licensing depends on vehicle weight, so a hypothetical bicycle license would be a little cheaper than a moped, which is $12. http://www.ontario.ca/driving-and-roads/...

$10 sounds about right for a bicycle. Do you really think it is worth trying to collect $10 from cyclists? With administrative costs you'd be lucky to net $5 per bicycle.

Comment edited by kevlahan on 2015-02-06 20:51:58

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By arienc (registered) | Posted February 07, 2015 at 13:46:43 in reply to Comment 108841

The vehicle licensing system costs about $30 per driver to administer, so at $12 it would be 100% destined to require extra taxpayer funding to run a licensing system for bicycles. And that takes into account the economies of scale of having over 8 million people using the system. Even if a bike license cost the same as a car license it would lose money.

And how is this fair? If I drive my car 6000 km a year and my bike 6,000 km a year, I have to pay double the licensing cost compared to someone who drives 12,000 km a year? Forget it - I'll just take the car instead and add to your traffic. Great way to encourage a mode of travel that has enormous payback to every taxpayer, whether they bike or not.

I understand the feeling that "cars have to be licensed to ride on the roads, so why not bikes" but really no one wins from the idea of licensing bikes.

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By moylek (registered) - website | Posted February 06, 2015 at 16:09:01

King Street West as in ends at McMaster is interesting.

The South side, with parking adjacent to the curb, is ploughed clear right up to the curb.

The North side, with a bike lane next to the curb, has a curb lane full of snow.

If it's possible to clear the whole roadway on the South side, why not the North side?

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By Dylan (registered) | Posted February 06, 2015 at 17:56:42

In general the city seemed a bit slow with snow removal. Correct me if I'm wrong here, but I didnt notice any mass removals i.e. dump trucks hauling it away, until last night. Main was down two lanes for most of the week. Fortunately, and perhaps this is telling, it was left with three and functioned just fine.

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By -Hammer- (registered) | Posted February 07, 2015 at 01:38:49

So, I guess the only way to make cyclists happy would be to plow snow onto the middle of the road, completely halt car traffic and make everyone use bikes. Genius!

The only way to stop snowbanks from incurring into the far left and right lane is the purchase the expensive, vehicle sized snow blowers that cost tens of thousands of dollars to purchase and even more to reliably run.

Given the city is in a budget crunch and is teetering on millions in lost revenue if US Steel closes, not a worthwhile investment at this time. Money better invested in higher density building grants in the core, brownfield remediation and low density brown building reconstruction. Oh and saving money to purchase US Steel lands for Bayfront remediation and to relocate the Tiffany CN Marshalling yards.

Comment edited by -Hammer- on 2015-02-07 01:45:54

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By AnjoMan (registered) | Posted February 13, 2015 at 13:01:18 in reply to Comment 108859

Maybe you should read the article before commenting.

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By hammered (anonymous) | Posted February 13, 2015 at 13:25:26 in reply to Comment 109124

Easier and more fun to keep beating up on that strawman

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By loves cars and bikes (anonymous) | Posted February 17, 2015 at 09:05:39

Everyone will be debating this topic till the end of time in Ontario.

I have been involved in the bike industry for a very long time and cyclists from every city complain about this topic every winter.

It starts in Hi School, when your told your a loser if you ride a bike past 16.

It is ingrained in our culture here in Canada and especially Southern Ontario.

Essentially we are all programmed to think we made it to the big leagues if we drive a car and the lower class citizens are losers who ride bikes.

This is so far from the truth....but welcome to Ontario where if you drive a car you apparently have a bigger voice.

We all know someone who's father or mother worked at GM or Ford growing up.

This economy unfortunately relies on the automotive industry.

Until council and city staff members actually become cyclists and ride to work, like several do in Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary and other major cities that share more modes of transport.

Most of the people involved in decision making here in Hamilton drive and come from the same mind set that your a loser if you ride a bike.

It is going to be several years before some young fresh minds take over in our fine city.

Oh and for the record....the bike lanes in Toronto are not cleared immediately if at all sometimes.

Most seasoned cyclists use thin tires with or without studs to cut through the snow and get down to the concrete. This is how most couriers and commuters get through the snow.

If you want to float on top of the snow, buy a fat bike.

Stop the war on car vs bike.

Start educating people that you are not a loser if you ride a bicycle.

I spent 12 years in Toronto helping convert people from car to bike, it can be done.

New Hope, Noble, Hounds, and bike Locke all spend there time trying to convert people and proving you can ride all year. If we had a bike friendly city, you would see these shops open full time hours.

There is too many opinions and bickering back and forth, pitting car against bike.

If everyone keeps this battle up....It will become like it was in Toronto after Ford said it is the war on the car.

Car drivers were charged with a serious sense of entitlement.

We need a culture shift.






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