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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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