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Saskatoon Cycles April 2024 Newsletter

College and Wiggins: City Council Votes for Bike Box!

Clockwise from top left: Greg McKee, Dr. James Arnold, Tod Fox, James Dobson

When 400 cyclists showed up to ride for Natasha Fox on May 31, 2023, they weren’t just there to mourn her death. They were there because they knew she represented all the close calls, harassment, injuries, and fear that they all felt as fellow riders. They were there to show solidarity, and wanted changes to ensure that deaths like Natasha’s (and later, Darin Kinniewess’) didn’t happen again.

On April 24, 2024, exactly 11 months after Natasha’s death, city council delivered a signal that those voices were being heard.

First introduced by Councilor Block on June 28th, 2023, the motion for a Road Safety Audit at College Drive and Wiggins Avenue seemed unnecessary given the recent tragedy that had occurred there, but the consultant’s report, released in January 2024, documented many of the historical concerns raised by cyclists, such as high traffic volumes and regular near-misses. The report also listed a number of recommendations to mitigate the danger at the intersection.

One of those recommendations (later known as #8) stated: “Recommended for temporary implementation. Install bike boxes, a northbound painted bike lane, “No Right Turn on Red” and ‘Turning Vehicles Yield to Bicycles’ signs.”

Though not supported by city administration due to existing recommendations for bike lane widths and concerns over all season visibility and compliance, council overwhelmingly voted for the painted bike box, lane, and “no right turn on red” recommendation. They also voted to “report back on opportunities for the City and Council to support changes to commercial vehicle standards and relevant regulations that would reduce driver blind spots”.

No one is viewing “Recommendation #8” as the perfect fix, but as a reasonable interim attempt to make one intersection in the city a little bit safer. It sends a message that cyclists’ concerns are being heard and taken seriously, and that until more permanent infrastructure can be deployed, steps to potentially mitigate danger spots can be implemented.

We want to acknowledge the tireless work of Natasha’s husband Tod, the speakers at council, the letter writers, the cyclists on the street who have not forgotten about these issues, and for city administration and council for moving things forward despite differences of opinion. It illustrates that while the wheels may feel like they’re moving slowly, there is always a great deal of energy and thought being put into these issues. Change can happen.

Some excerpts from letters to council:

This is not about pitting one group of road users against another but, rather, finding ways to make commuting in our city safer for everyone…

Daniel

Feeling safe while commuting should not be reserved for persons in cars. People should feel safe whether regardless of their age, mobility or method of transportation.

Megan

I think about Natasha Fox and Darin Kinniewess all the time; we don’t need more deaths to know that we need real change.

Emily

More information can be found at the City of Saskatoon’s agenda files here, or at the CBC news article here.

Not sure what a “bike box” is? Check out the City of Edmonton’s video here.

“Showers for Flowers” Slow Roll – Sat. April 27

It’s a questionable rear wheel, but not a bad image coming from a collection of algorithms and whatnot.

Here’s your official reminder of the “Showers for Flowers” Slow Roll on Saturday, April 27, 2024.

The forecast is for sun and a high of 18C, so not likely any literal showers, but we DO have some unpredictable weather here (really!) and we just never know.

The details we can accurately deliver:

  • River Landing Fire Vessel is the muster point (just south of the Remai Modern Gallery)
  • 2PM will be the departure time (try to arrive at least one minute early)
  • We hope to see you there for a nice, leisurely roll around some pleasant trails

BYXE Week – Spring 2024

Saskatoon, get ready to hop on your bike for the next edition of BYXE Week: Spring 2024!!!

The City of Saskatoon/Saskatoon Cycles initiative is gearing up for another NINE days of fun that will include:

  • The 2nd Annual Great Saskatoon Bike Passport Adventure!
  • The skill-testing, city-exploring Scavenger Hunt
  • The Tune-up Tent
  • Ride to Work Day
  • Prizes! Prizes! Prizes!
  • and more

Help us launch the week with our Slow Roll on May 11 – REGISTER HERE to ensure your treat – and be sure to visit our BYXE Week page for all the details!

Bike Valet Approaching

We’re getting really excited about the festival and event season approaching, because it means we get to once again provide the BIKE VALET and help Saskatoon cyclists access their favourite venues by bike and have their wheels secured by watchful volunteers.

Our first volunteer opportunity is now posted and available for shifts to be claimed:

Saskatchewan Marathon – Saturday, May 25, 2024 – Sunday, May 26, 2024

Once again this year, we’ll be offering our cool blue T-shirts to new volunteers (or super experienced volunteers who’ve worn one out).

This year we’re also strongly encouraging all of our volunteers to get a criminal record check including a vulnerable sector check. This has been mandatory at the Children’s Festival venue for years, but as the Bike Valet grows to serve more and more diverse events, we want to be able to ensure that everyone is protected as much as possible.

The process is straightforward and the cost of checks are waived when accompanied by a volunteer letter. (There may be a small processing fee for online applications.)

If you live in Saskatoon, you can apply in person at Saskatoon Police Service or online here. Use our volunteer letter to have the fees waived: Saskatoon Cycles letter for Saskatoon City Police

If you live outside Saskatoon, you can apply in person at your local RCMP detachment or police service: Saskatoon Cycles letter for the RCMP

Please note: If you already have a valid vulnerable sector check letter (processed within the last two (2) years), you will not need to apply for one this year. Please bring your letter with you for Bike Valet staff verification.

If you have any questions about this year’s Bike Valet, please contact us at bikevalet@saskatooncycles.org

We’re looking forward to seeing you out for another great year of bike parking at Saskatoon’s most enjoyable festivals and events!

2024 Ride for Your Life Saskatoon

Mark June 15, 2024 on your calendar: The 2024 Ride for Your Life Saskatoon is being organized by Tod Fox in memory of Natasha and the many other cyclists and pedestrians who have needlessly lost their lives on Saskatoon streets and around the country. Described as “a rally for change and remembrance”, the event hopes to raise awareness around the need for pedestrian and cyclist safety and infrastructure.

You can register for the event right now. It is free and open to everyone. Shirts are available for purchase online, or on site on June 15 (quantities and sizes limited).

Collecting Data

A “heat map” on Strava, indicating active transportation patterns.

From the Broken Record Department: Have we mentioned how vital it is for city planners and advocates to have robust data to help lay the groundwork for better cycling in Saskatoon?

Of course we have! We will again! But onward and upward we go!

One of the ongoing pieces we need help with is the gathering of information that indicates how much cycling is happening and where our bikes are taking us. You can pitch in by sharing your biking routes and experiences through a couple of apps that aggregates this data and keeps it anonymous.

1. Install Strava on your phone and track every ride or walk you take. You only need a free account. And if you already use a tracking app, check to see if it has a Strava integration. There are more than 100 apps that Strava connects with.

Strava anonymizes the data from all users in an area and creates the Strava heatmap. Images from these heatmaps can be a powerful visual to show that there are cyclists and walkers using the streets all over Saskatoon (like this presentation on Circle Drive on Ave C). But we need as many cyclists as possible to be using this system!

2. Bookmark Bikemaps.org and report every time you have a cycling crash, a near-miss, see a cycling hazard, or have your bike stolen. This is NOT instead of calling an ambulance or the police. Absolutely do that first if it’s needed!!

Bikemaps.org is a system that aims to catch as many as possible of the almost 70% of all cycling incidents or near misses that don’t get reported officially.

Get Strava

Find out more about the Strava app at strava.com

Donate

Your donations give us the resources to press toward a Saskatoon where cycling is a viable, year-round mode of transportation that is safe, convenient, and comfortable for all ages.

We want your kids and their grandma to simply hop on their bikes to go grab an ice cream and enjoy the beauty of Saskatoon. For you or your partner to pick up groceries or a library book. And we really want you to be able to commute to work and back safely and conveniently.

Your donation helps us work on these three ‘pillars’ of cycling development for Saskatoon:

  • Infrastructure – A safe, convenient, comfortable and well maintained cycling network throughout the city that allows cyclists to go from every neighbourhood to key destinations
  • Ridership – Educate, encourage, and promote cycling so more people choose bicycles as a convenient and safe transportation option year round.
  • Culture – Educate, encourage, and promote diversity in ridership with respectful inclusion of all modes of transportation.

Please Donate Today


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