Hard to know what the research was that Kitchissippi Councillor Jeff Leiper bought from the lobby group Citizens For Safe Cycling (he won’t release it), but The Bulldog sat down and did a little research of its own.
These figures propose to reflect the bike usage of average Ottawans … the ones who don’t cycle in the winter or on rainy days or high heat days. They do not reflect the usage of biking zealots such as Leiper.
For the average cyclist, half the year is unsuitable for biking. Those are the cold weather months.
During biking months, Ottawa has about 70 rainy days on which cycling is unlikely for the average person.
As well, Ottawa experiences about five high-heat days in which cycling can be dangerous.
So look at the facts for the average cyclist, not the elite lobbying for expensive bike lanes that retard other forms of commuting, but just Joe or Jill Biker.
This is it: 255 days a year are unsuitable for the average cyclist to bike.
Less than one-third of Ottawa days work for the average cyclist. On Sunday driving a number of times down the highly expensive and highly touted Churchill Avenue complete street from Carling Avenue to Scott Street, your agent saw one cyclist. One. Just one.
God bless people who cycle to save the environment and improve their health. I support them. But let’s not get carried away. It makes little sense to build extensive bike networks that are used for less than a third of the year. Bike advocates cite Helsinki as a model Ottawa should emulate as a cycling town. Ottawa is not Helsinki and it never will be.
We are building an expensive and inefficient bike system for a noisy, small elite who want their way without paying for it. They want you to pay for their passion.
That’s not right.