Open Letter to my Alderman: Make Calgary Bicycle Friendly


*I sent a copy of this letter to my alderman today, to ask him to support improving Calgary's bicycle infrastructure*

I [just read that there is a vote coming up in council](http://www.civiccamp.org/2010/06/a-comprehensive-bike-strategy/), regarding a potential bicycle strategy for the City of Calgary.

I urge you to support endorsing a comprehensive bicycle transportation strategy, aimed at making Calgary a bike-friendly city. It is currently extremely unfriendly, even dangerous, to those of us who ride bicycles.

Currently, we have several hundred kilometres of recreational pathways, but most destinations aren't served by this system and require riding on city roads. Roads in this city (especially suburban NW) are extremely bicycle-hostile, dangerous places. Bike routes, where they exist, are poorly marked. Drivers are aggressive and dangerous. Bike routes, where they exist, are narrow, often obstructed by parked cars, debris, and snow, pushing bicycle traffic into the regular flow of vehicular traffic. Many roads don't have adequate shoulders at all, forcing bicycles to "take the lane" in order to ride safely - and risking the wrath of angry drivers in doing so. Signage for bike routes and pathways is either completely absent, poorly visible, or confusing. It's generally a bad scenario, but is fixable.

If we are to have more people ride their bicycles as a mode of transportation (and not simply as recreation) then we need to do more as a city to help make the roads safe for bicycles. We need to raise awareness, so drivers know that bicycles are allowed on the roads (I've lost track of the number of times angry drivers have yelled at me to get off the road). We need to designate bicycle lanes on all major roads - and not force bicycles to bypass city roads by using the recreational pathway system that doesn't serve most destinations.

My son, currently in grade 1, wants to ride his bike home with me after school. I'm afraid to do that with him, because of the dangerous riding conditions that he'd have to navigate.

I ride my bike as my primary transportation - almost all year round (except for when the roads become impassible by bike because of snow piled up along the sides, and dangerous drivers not wanting to share the remaining ruts with bikes).

I ride over 5000km every year. I **always** follow traffic laws, stopping where required, and riding where designated. But even I feel unsafe on the city roads. I can't imagine how a new rider would feel.

A [recent article in the Calgary Herald](http://www.calgaryherald.com/travel/Going+cycle+pathic+about+Vancouver+bike+lanes/3105430/story.html#) perfectly outlines what we need to do as a city.

If there is anything I can do to help make Calgary bike-friendly, please let me know.

See Also