This week, a Queens Park committee discussed Bill 65, known as the Safer School Zones Act. If passed, the Bill would grant municipalities discretion to use photo radar and other automated speed enforcement tools in school zones and designated community safety zones. It would also allow municipalities to lower speed limits below 50km/hour in specific areas. The Bill has passed two readings so far, and needs to pass one more to become law.
Bike Ottawa supports Bill 65 and wrote a letter to the Standing Committee reviewing it to express this support: read the full letter below.
Here are three simple reasons why you should join us today:
1. It’s an easy and effective way to advocate for safer cycling all over Ottawa.
The more members we have, the stronger our influence promoting cycling as a safe, fun, and environmentally friendly form of transportation. With so many policy initiatives and infrastructure projects affecting cycling across the city, it’s impossible for any single person to keep track of it all. By taking a few minutes and a few dollars to join CfSC, you strengthen the messages we send to politicians, the city, the province, the National Capital Commission, and fellow Ottawa residents -- and our volunteers do the work to track and communicate the details. With members from across the city, from Kanata to Centretown to Barrhaven to Orleans, we strive to address the need for safe infrastructure that will encourage residents all over Ottawa to ride their bikes.
2. Your membership fees keep us up and running.
We are a non-profit and entirely volunteer-run organization: We count on membership fees as stable revenue to cover basic operating costs that allow us to work and communicate effectively with our members and all those who bike in Ottawa, whether online, in print, or by hosting community events. We present our financial statements and a report on our finances to our members each year at the time of our Annual General Meeting.
To help ensure finances aren’t a barrier to potential members, we offer a low-income membership for only $10 per year. More details on the types of memberships we offer are available here.
3. You’ll get discounts at bike stores across the city.
Discounts are available at the following stores:
McCrank's Cycles: 10% off parts and accessories
Joe Mamma Urban Cycles 10% off parts and accessories
Cycle Power 10% of parts and accessories and 5% off bikes
Full Cycle: 10% off parts and accessories
Rebec and Kroes: 10% off parts and accessories
Now that you're convinced that we're an organization you want to support, join today!
Citizens for Safe Cycling is proud to collaborate with the following like-minded organizations in Ottawa:
Cycle Salvation is a social enterprise operating under the umbrella of Causeway Work Centre. The business strives to achieve a triple bottom line (profit, people, planet) by providing training and employment in the field of bike mechanics to people who are economically disadvantaged, while at the same time diverting bikes destined for scrap and landfill sites. View their refurbished bikes for sale at their store at 473 Bronson (near Gladstone).
Ecology Ottawa is a not-for-profit, grassroots, volunteer-driven organization that works to make Ottawa the green capital of Canada. They celebrate environmentally responsible decisions and actions; bring to light the things that hurt our environment; and advocate for improvement. They also work with inidividuals and communities across the city to educate them about environmental issues and what to do about them.
EnviroCentre helps residents, businesses and organizations conserve energy and reduce their impact on the environment, while saving money. Sustainable transportation is one of their areas of focus, and each year they organize Bike to Work Month, a campaign that promotes cycling as a viable and enjoyable commuting option.
The Healthy Transportation Coalition is a grassroots movement of concerned citizens, organizations and businesses working together to increase healthy transportation policies and necessary infrastructure investments in the National Capital Region. Citizens for Safe Cycling is an organizational member of the Coalition.
Ottawa Centre EcoDistrict's mission is to make the downtown core more sustainable, socially vibrant, and attractive to businesses & organizations looking to relocate or expand. They are Canada’s first official EcoDistrict and are working hard to develop a model that can be used in other parts of Ottawa and across the country.
Right Bike is a social business that provides jobs and training for individuals in the community who are working to overcome barriers to employment. They deliver a community-based bike share service in Ottawa.
RBC Ottawa Bluesfest is an annual outdoor music festival that takes place each July in downtown Ottawa, Ontario. Citizens for Safe Cycling partners with Bluesfest each year to operate the valet bike parking at the festival.
The Safer Roads Ottawa Program (SRO) is committed to preventing or eliminating road deaths and serious injuries for all people in Ottawa, through culture change, community engagement and the development of a sustainable safe transportation environment. SRO is a partnership between Ottawa Fire Services, Ottawa Paramedic Service, Ottawa Police Service, Ottawa Public Health and the Public Works Department.
Our e-newsletter: Subscribe, it's free!
We send periodic e-newsletters featuring upcoming events, recent advocacy issues, and highlights of our recent activities.
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Our newsletter has a long history: read more and browse previous issues in our archives.
Discuss by email
Since 1997, CfSC has operated an e-mail discussion group through which list members can share and discuss issues related to safe cycling. The mailing list is open to all who wish to join for discussions about events, projects, issues and policies that may affect cycling and cyclists in Canada's National Capital region.
You can join the CfSC-Discuss list at this link. When subscribing, you will be given the option either to receive each message individually, or to receive a single daily digest.
The mailing list is auto-moderated to eliminate spam. Peronal attacks on other mailing list participants are not allowed. If you wish to say something of a peronal nature or directed at an individual, please use private email.
Discuss on social media
With newspapers retreating, social media are becoming an ever increasing source of information.
Here are a number of local Ottawa residents, who regularly share their adventures, keep an ear to the ground on cycling news or share routes, experiences, events and knowledge. These are the best known ones, with frequent updates, in alphabetical order:
|Alex Bikes||"Ottawa Bike Politics"||
Alex only blogs when he thinks the city is not following the Ottawa Cycling Plan. He also shares his travel adventures about -say- cycling through Texas or from the Mediterranean across the French Alps to the Netherlands. On Twitter @AlexthePuffin
|Incidental Cyclist||"Being an account of a woman, who gave her bike a name"||Kathryn likes writing. She also writes the 'Your Ride' column for Metro Ottawa and edits the Centertown Buzz. Her bike has a name. On Twitter @k8thek8|
|ModalMom||"Life on the Move"||
Lana tweets a lot. A lot. But she also has time to put trips, thoughts and adventures in really interesting blogs. With a great sense of humour. She owns a cargo bike, a Kona, a Brompton and a couple of others. Her son wants to become the next mayor. On Twitter @modalmom
|Ottawa Velo Outaouais||"Biking around Ottawa and the Outaouais"||Brians has the the blog with the most difficult name. Ask Brian how to get from A to B and he'll bike it and blogs about it. Brian's claim to fame is that he lives at Ottawa's only woonerf. If you have seen a guy cycling in downtown Ottawa with a bike trailer with a scale model of a stage set in it, it was Brian. On Twitter @smayukawa|
|Hans on the Bike||"Hopeful blog about cycling in Ottawa"||Hans was born in cycling Walhalla The Netherlands. His life goal is to emulate a bike paradise in Ottawa. He figures he's about halfway. Statistically, he has about 30 years left. On Twitter @HansontheBike|
"News & views of what is happening on the West Side of downtown Ottawa"
Eric once ran a print shop. He retired early so he now bugs city hall. He also has opinions on pedestrians, condos and streetscaping. Actually on nearly everything. On Twitter @EricDarwin1 (but he only uses it to get his blogs posts out)
|XOVelo||"Made with love in Ottawa Yeah Baby"||Zara takes beautiful pictures of people with bikes. Perhaps the most extravert cyclist in Ottawa. On Twitter @XOVelo|
Photos owned by the respective subject in the picture.
What a gorgeous day it was yesterday. Not only was it the start of the 45th year of Ottawa's NCC Sunday bike days (from May till September, every Sunday), it was also MEC's annual bike fest. If you had followed the #ottbike hashtag on Twitter, you would have seen a lot of happy pictures rolling in over the course of the day.
We organize a number of signature events each year:
January: We go for a 6 km spin through Ottawa usually ending up at City Hall for hot chocolate with a city councillor. Recently actually 4 city councillors.
First Saturday of Spring: Bike season starts! We'll have a large social with a few local speakers about cycling advocacy, developments, perhaps even city budget 101. It is growing every year and the place to be when the season starts.
May: During the Tulip Festival, we'll be near Canal Ritz on Queen Elizabeth Drive along the canal to recruit new members, offer free bike tune ups and listen to people's cycling experiences.
July: An event on its own, we have a whole crew of volunteers out to look after valet parking at Ottawa's RBC Bluesfest. Although the service is free, dontations from appreciative cyclists split between Citizens for Safe Cycling and Blues in the Schools and have consistently made this our biggest annual fundraiser. More information about this event is available here.
September/October: Late summer/Early Fall is a great time to cycle to our Annual Meeting. We usually have a keynote speaker from out of town. So far our speaker series has included Roger Geller from Portland, Timo Perälä from Oulu (Finland), Hayley Richardson (City of Bellevue, near Seattle), Professor Buehler from Virginia Tech (USA), Sarah Craigh from Halifax's I Heart Bikes (Canada) to name but a few.
November: We hand out free bike lights at the end of Daylight Savings Time somewhere at an undisclosed location (kind of) in Ottawa.
Representation at Other Events
We don't have a paid staff, therefore our time is limited. With a number of dedicated volunteers, we organize the events listed above, attend public meetings, work with community organisations for better bike conditions, answer questions from the public, present facts to city council and present to other organisations.
Advocacy Working Group
Most of our time is spent on advocacy. While Ottawa is a fairly bike-friendly city, cyclists have to make their voices heard. It is not that we bring the pitch forks out, but if you want to improve the city, you have to stay in touch with your city councillor, city staff, NCC staff, provincial and federal Members of Parliament, community groups and many more people.
Advocacy starts with understanding how the city works!
The city works with budgets and the planning for those budgets starts early. Once you start reading about it, you might be too late already. Further, you have to understand where the money comes from in order to know what you can ask for. The city gets money from taxes (like property tax) and from rates (like water and sewer bills). There are multi-year hard costs like road construction, building community centres etc and annual soft costs like staffing and advertising.
Start in time
The city doesn't just have money on the shelf for that bike lane you'd like to have tomorrow morning. Therefore, it is so important to start years in advance. A rule of thumb is 5 years. It is important that you start to mobilise people or join an existing group, approach your own city councillor, design a vision that the city could finance with some effort and clearly communicate the benefit for all citizens.
Advocacy Working Group
In order to coordinate our eforts, we have a special advocacy working group. The group meets regularly. Membersbring in their specialties Some love to write, others love to dig through the budget. Combined, all these individuals bring a lot of knowledge to the table.
Understanding the City Budget
At our request, Charles Akben-Marchand prepared a primer on 'understanding the city budget'. Most cities work the same, so it might also apply to your city. If you understand the budget you can campaign much more effectively. Without explanation, you might find it a wee hard to grasp, but it is a good start. Here is Charles' presentation in PDF (2.8 Mb), given at our Spring.Bike.Ottawa event in March 2014; it is pretty timeless though.
What are we working on?
Presentation to NCC about pathways (june 2015 - 1.1 MB)
Presentation to Councillor Taylor about ward issues (june 2015 - 2.8 MB)
Presentation to Councillor Chiarelli about ward issues (June 2015, - 3.1 MB)
Would you like to know how many kilometres of bike lanes we have in Ottawa? How many VeloGO bikes have been rented out? How many people actually cycle in Ottawa? Which events were organised? How many OC Transpo buses have bike racks? Which places should make a top 10 of improvements? Which infrastructure is being added? Which events are being held? What we think of the results of our recommendations?
This is the place to start. Since 2011 our dedicated volunteers have been producing an annual Report on Bicycling. We pull data from the City of Ottawa's open data, OC Transpo, the National Capital Commission (a federal organisation), bike counters and from simply observing and asking a lot of people to share their information. The report gives you a good overview of the improvements in Ottawa.
Why are we doing this?
Because no one else does. Each bureaucracy in Ottawa does its own thing, and there is not always an overall coordination of all activities in the region.
This resulted in the annual Ottawa Report on Bicycling: the only complete annual overview of cycling in Ottawa.
2017 Download the 2017 report here. (2.8 MB)
2016 Download the 2016 report here. (3.2 MB)
2015 Download the 2015 report here. (5.7 MB)
2014 Download the 2014 report here. (5.0 MB)
2013 There is no 2013 report, as we are supersticious. Just kidding, we changed the name sequence ("2014" reports on 2013). An internal thing.
2012 Download the 2012 report here. (3.7 MB)
2011 Download the 2011 report here. (3.6 MB)
2010 Download the 2010 report here. (1.5 MB) (This was actually only a top 10 list with issues we had put together)