Vancouver’s Annual Bike to Work and School Week celebrates those dedicated cyclists who bike to work on a routine basis, and encourages new cyclists to get out on the roads. Unfortunately, the tragic weekend death of a cyclist on the Stanley Park Causeway has cast a cloud over this year’s proceedings, and shifted the focus from celebration to safety.
According to police, the May 25th weekend accident occurred on the busy shared causeway sidewalk when the 61 year old female cyclist collided with a pedestrian and was knocked into the busy street, where she was hit and instantly killed by a Vancouver City Transit Bus. It was reminiscent of the many accidents that had occurred on the Burrard Street Bridge before the installation of the separate bike lanes.
Following the incident, HUB announced plans to petition the provincial government to install similar separate lanes for bikes on the causeway. When asked for a comment, Erin O’Melinn, director of HUB: Your Cycling Connection said, “we need a lot more education about how people should be using the roads and the sidewalks, I believe, on all fronts”. O’Melinn believes that bike to work week is a chance to develop bike safety and infrastructure around Vancouver, but education is only part of the problem. “We’d like to see a designated space for cyclists (along the causeway) … it’s very narrow and there’s very fast-moving traffic, there’s no barrier between them.”
HUB is hoping that the City of Vancouver will join in the effort as well, especially now that the Bike to work campaign is focusing on a more safety oriented message, and it’s popularity is spreading throughout BC with poll results showing that so far the 2013 Bike to Work Week has recorded over 27 registered teams in BC, and accounted for 51 kilograms of saved Greenhouse Gases.
HUB’s Bike to Work & School Week offers the vision of “experiencing the joy of an ever increasing number of people safely commuting by bicycle.” Their mission being to “Encourage more people in all BC communities to commute by bicycle through Bike to Work initiatives. We will secure and share resources and best practices that will stimulate growth in commuter cycling.” The event offers online competitions and on route celebration stations that offer cyclists free snacks, coffee, prizes, and bike tune ups. Seasoned cyclists and new riders alike are invited to sign up, team up, and log their commutes to work and school. Bike to Work Week is a registered non-profit society governed by a board of directors, and supported by the BC government.
For more information, to register to ride, or to find celebration station locations in your local community, everyone is invited to visit btww.ca.