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Saskatoon Cycles June 2023 Newsletter

Send a letter to City Council before 5PM Monday, June 26!

We still need your voice!

On Wednesday, June 28, Saskatoon City Council will be discussing four motions brought by Councillor Block to address the intersection where Natasha Fox was killed on May 24th. These motions present an opportunity for you to share your stories and thoughts about cycling safety in Saskatoon and what better street design and active transportation infrastructure would mean to you and your family.

If you haven’t already contacted City Council, here’s how to help:

1. Write a letter about the importance of safe cycling to you and your loved ones.

  • check out our sample letter below
  • reference it, copy and paste what you need, but try to be as original as possible
  • make your letter as personal as you can
  • include your neighbourhood or street name 

2. Send your letter to City Council using the Submit a Letter form by clicking here.

You must do this before 5PM Monday, June 26, 2023, but sooner is better.

3. Send another letter to your Ward councillor directly. It can be the same or new material, but this will ensure that your representative gets it directly from a voter in their ward! You can find contact information for your councillor here.

4. Share this email with any friends and family who care about your safety when you’re cycling, and encourage them to write. Their voices are important as well, even if they don’t ride a bike!

Thank you for getting involved and gearing up for change!

Sample letter:

To Saskatoon City Council,

It has come to my attention that Councillor Block (Ward 6) has introduced motions to council that would attempt to address cycling safety concerns at the intersection of College Dr. and Wiggins Ave. These motions include:

  • a third party road safety audit at the intersection
  • funding for the above audit
  • an update on the implementation of the Active Transportation Plan
  • a budget option for an annual Road Safety Audit program

I support these and any future motions that urgently address safety for people riding bikes with a focus on infrastructure for all ages and abilities. 

[Try to include personal details here. Do you ride a bike? Where? How often? Do you worry about a loved one cycling? Do you have a particularly memorable cycling experience? Do you have specific concerns or ideas?]

The right time to improve cycling safety is NOW.

Thank you,

[Your name]

The Natasha Fox Memorial Ride

At 4PM on Wednesday, May 31, 2023, close to 300 cyclists came together at The Bowl on the University of Saskatchewan campus, exactly one week after Natasha Fox’s death. Some knew her personally, many had only heard about her qualities and accomplishments through others, but all were united with common purpose: reflect on her life, extend condolences to her family and loved ones, and send a message that this kind of tragedy should never happen again.

Organizers Shoshana Green and Jamie Kirkpatrick were motivated to do something in response to Natasha’s death and wanted to help the community “take care of one another”. Shoshana made numerous media appearances that spoke to cyclists’ feelings of sadness, frustration, and a desire to see changes made.

The ride route was escorted by Saskatoon Police officers and wound from campus, down College Drive and back, with a moment of silence at the intersection where Natasha died. A smaller group gathered at President Murray Park for further discussion and reflection.

The ride was a welcome reminder of the depth within Saskatoon’s cycling culture, and signals what we know will be a renewed, widespread demand for safer infrastructure for all. We thank Shoshana and Jamie for their initiative and everyone who made time on a workday afternoon to honour Natasha.

The Rally for Bike Awareness and Safety

Lucy Stobbe had been planning a bike protest back in April to encourage the City of Saskatoon to put in better cycling infrastructure. The 17 year old student had been cycling to school, often using downtown streets for her commute, and had grown tired of close calls, harassment from drivers, and what seemed like general confusion around basic rules of the road. She felt a sense of duty to do something about it, but school obligations kept her from executing her original plan for a May event.

Natasha Fox’s death came just as Lucy’s spring schedule was opening up, and the idea of a bike rally became fuelled with an extra sense of urgency. Lucy wrote an op-ed, did interviews, recruited friends to develop a poster, and planned out a route in tribute to Natasha. With a little extra help from her family, the logistics of the ride took shape.

Over 100 cyclists joined Lucy’s Rally for Bike Awareness and Safety on Father’s Day, Sunday, June 18th. Many wore Stobbe family-created signs on their backs with messages like “Big or small, the road is for ALL” or “Share the road” or “We ARE traffic”. The assembly moved from Civic Square, to 25th St/College Drive, to Cumberland Avenue and finished at the Saskatoon Police Services building.

We’re hopeful that with passionate young cyclists like Lucy becoming engaged and inspiring others to get involved with the issues surrounding safe cycling in the city, change won’t be far behind.

Bike Valet

The Bike Valet is having a stellar event season so far!

With the Saskatchewan Marathon, Children’s Festival, and Pride Day under our belts, we’ve parked over 400 bikes, been blessed with over 100 volunteer hours, and shared a lot of smiles with grateful cyclists and festival goers.

Not only is the Bike Valet working efficiently, it’s looking sharp! We still have some spanking new blue Bike Valet volunteer shirts for those who come outside for a shift. Sign up now to ensure the best fit, as they are first come, first serve.

ParticipACTION Community Challenge 2023

Saskatoon Cycles hosted our last ParticipACTION Community Challenge slow roll on Saturday, June 24, but it’s still not too late for you to contribute to this annual event that helps everyone enjoy the many physical and mental benefits of getting active together!

Download the free ParticipACTION app and track your physical activity until June 30. Your “move minutes” in these final days could be the difference in our battle with Regina for a $7,500 – $15,000 regional prize!

Saskatoon Cycles was awarded a Community Challenge grant to help us launch the “Start Rolling” program, designed to match newcomers to Canada with their own bicycles, locks, and cycling instruction. With the partnership of the Bridge City Bicycle Co-op and Saskatoon Open Door Society, and additional support from SaskTel, we secured over 30 bikes and made significant connections within newcomer organizations and cyclists in Saskatoon.

Saskatoon Cycles extends a hearty thank you to all the participants who joined our Community Challenge slow rolls throughout June. We could NOT have eaten all the cookies without you, and we almost certainly would not be challenging the mighty Regina without your pedaling!

The ParticipACTION Community Challenge is proudly supported by the Government of
Canada, Saputo and Sun Life.

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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