There are no regular meetings scheduled for the month of July and August 2014.
Watch our website, facebook group, or twitter account for any special meetings that may be called. The City of Greater Sudbury may hold a Public Input Center for the Transportation over the summer, and if they do so, we will be asking for input from members.
We’ll send out a notice for our September meeting in late August.
Recap of June Political and Advocacy Issues
MR35 Truck Incident
In late June, two of our members had a very frightening experience with an ore truck that passed too closely to them on MR35. The incident was captured on video. The truck had not slowed down when the driver saw cyclists ahead, and instead attempted to pass. When the driver realized he would be involved in a head-on collision with oncoming traffic, he sounded his horn and swerved back into his lane, thus driving one of the cyclists off the road. See our article here: Do we wait until someone gets killed?
This did not become a serious injury or death because the cyclist had great cycling skills and was able to handle being forced onto the non-paved shoulder.
CBC picked up on the story and ran a few stories, including an interview with SCU cyclists on Morning North about why they cycle with video cameras:
http://ici.radio-canada.ca/widgets/mediaconsole/medianet/7111369 – look for the 15 min. mark
The SCU sent an email to Council and to our local MPPs Joe Cimino and Frances Gélinas about the incident. We also forwarded the email to our MP Glenn Thibeault, asking for his support at the federal level. Our email stated that the lack of paved shoulders along this only link from Azilda to Chelmsford was a contributor to this incident and that Council needs to start actively planning for safer cycling routes on all roads that are dangerous to cyclists.
We are disappointed that the only response was a form letter from the Mayor, who stated: “Thank you for taking the time to write on such an important issue. All thoughts and opinions are valued by the Mayor and we will take this under advisement.” This meaningless form letter indicates how much some members of our current Council do not value the safety of cyclists on our roads.
We requested a meeting with the local trucking company to discuss how we can together move forward to ensure that truck drivers have the knowledge and the training to safely pass cyclists on our roads. We are still waiting for a reply to our phone call. Initial conversations with the company at the time of the incident highlighted the attitude of the company – that cyclists should not be on trucking routes and that they have to get out of the way of trucks because trucks have a priority over cyclists.
We will continue to talk about this issue to Council and to all candidates, and will continue to attempt to talk to the trucking company in question. We have also contacted the Greater Sudbury Police Service to discuss how we can work together to provide more in-depth public awareness on the rights of cyclists on the road, and how drivers are legally obligated to pass them safely.
This incident is not an isolated one. Issues with people passing too closely are becoming more common on our roads. If you are outraged by this and other events, please take the time to send an email or to phone your councillor, expressing your wish to have safe roads for cyclists.
To everyone’s greatest surprise, the Ontario voters returned a Liberal majority to power. The Liberals have been very supportive of cycling, with initiatives like the#CycleON Cycling Strategy, a set of Action Plans to implement the strategy, and inclusion of cycling dollars in the Budget that was defeated in the previous session. The Budget included $25M over 3 years to new cycling infrastructure, with $10M of that targeted for municipal cycling infrastructure. They also co-sponsored changes to the Highway Traffic Act (Bill 173 – the Keeping Ontario Roads Safe Act) in order to legislate many changes that are beneficial to cyclists.
In the Sudbury area, our voters elected Joe Cimino (NDP, Sudbury riding) and re-elected France Gélinas (NDP, Nickel Belt riding). Both of these individuals have supported cycling initiatives – Ms. Gélinas through her support of Bill 173 and provincial budget allocations to cycling, and Joe Cimino through his support of cycling when he was a City of Greater Sudbury councillor.
France Gélinas filled in our on-line election survey, indicating that she strongly agreed with all of the multiple-choice questions, and that she would work towards the following improvements for cycling in our community: “We are committed to investing $5 million annual to help municipalities build more cycling infrastructure. Our plan makes important investments to help communities build bike lanes, expand cycling infrastructure networks, and support complete street design.”
Joe Cimino did not fill in our on-line election survey, but he has been one of our municipal councillors who has been supportive of implementing safe cycling infrastructure.
As a member of OntarioCAN – the Share the Road Coalition’s provincial advocacy network – the SCU sent both MPPs a congratulations letter, asking for their support for moving the #CycleON strategy forward and for voting for a re-introduced Keeping Ontario Roads Safe Act.
The SCU encourages all cyclists in Sudbury to contact their new MPPs, telling them that they want them to support these important initiatives in our new provincial legislature.
Due to other priorities, the SCU has not yet finalized our municipal election survey. We will be working on this within the next few weeks. If you wish to provide input, please send us an email at [email protected] and we’ll include you in the final discussions.Second Avenue Construction
Construction on Second Avenue is still delayed until the Ministry of the Environment has dealt with the Minnow Lake Restoration Group’s request for an environmental study in order to deal with storm water, atmospheric emissions, and environmental safety concerns.
We’ll provide an update on our social media sites as soon as it is available.
Other capital road construction
In early June, we sent an email to the Roads and Transportation department asking for a list of all cycling infrastructure that will be built as part of the 2014 capital roads projects. There is still no response, although we have prompted the City a few times for a response.
Howie/Bellevue/Bancroft bike lanes
These lanes were initially swept of sand in May, but the sweepers left behind some sharp stones and gravel in some areas. We are still following up on a 311 request to the City to get this rectified. The lanes have not yet been repainted either, so we will be following up on this as well.
If you feel that our City should be putting a priority on making our only bike lanes safer – by getting them swept and painted much earlier in the spring – consider contacting your councillor to express your disappointment in how the City puts the safety of cyclists below that of automobile drivers.
Citizen engagement review
In mid-June, the City asked for input into its citizen engagement processes. The SCU provided online comments, indicating the need for better website information, better 311 follow up on issues, and better involvement of cyclists early in the process of designing cycling infrastructure. Members of the SCU also attended some input discussion sessions.
During one of those sessions, we were told that the City received over 800 online responses, the biggest number of responses ever to an online survey. Preliminary figures indicate that approximately 75% of respondents indicated they were unsatisfied with how the City engages its citizens.
It will be very interesting to see what comes of the results, and whether there are any changes forthcoming in how the City involves its citizens in its decisions and policy-making.
Master Transportation Plan and Transportation Study
There are still no updates from the City on the Transportation Study.
I Bike, I Vote campaign
The SCU has handed out 100 I Bike, I Vote campaign buttons and more are now on order! If you want to show your support for cycling in Sudbury and want one of our buttons, contact us at [email protected]
Recap of June Events and Activities
A number of SCU members participated in Commuter Challenge, a Canada-wide event that was held from June 1 to June 7. Sudbury came in sixth in Canada in its population category. Let’s see if we can do even better next year! See the story here:Commuter Challenge.
Share the Road
The SCU participated in two Share the Road rides in June. Many of us attended Sudbury’s event on June 5th, and three of us also attended the Manitoulin 2-day ride on June 7-8. Both of these were wonderful rides that promote safe cycling, so keep them in mind for next year! Some pics are available on our SCU facebook page.
Coniston Bike Rodeo
Sudbury Cycles helped to organize a bike rodeo with the Coniston Community Action Network. SCU members did minor bike tuneups, taught children and their parents about helmet safety and road safety. Pictures are posted on our SCU facebook page.
Looking forward to Cycling Activities and Events in July
- The SCU will be helping out at Northern Lights Festival Boreal, July 5 and 6, by providing free bike valet parking from noon until 8 pm on both days. Bike to the festival and park your bike with us!
- July 11, 12 and 13 is the Canada Cup races at the Walden Mountain Bike Club trails. They are looking for volunteers to assist. Last year, some SCU members helped out and it was a blast! Awesome races and you get to watch top Canadian mountain bike cyclists! To volunteer, contact the volunteer coordinator Amy Hill (Amy Lou on Facebook) or email [email protected]Details here!
- July 18, 19, and 20 is the River and Sky Camping and Music Festival. Members of the SCU will be helping out by providing transport services on the grounds to truck supplies and equipment during the festival. The intent is to make the festival green and eliminate the need for ATVs. Details on the festival here!
- July 26 is the Ride with Lyndon Ferguson. The 24 year old LU Graduate will be cycling a total of 500 kilometres in memory of his brother Taylor during the second annual Taylor Ferguson Memorial Ride. Ride organizer Lyndon Ferguson invites cyclists and friends to join him on the final segment of the ride at Adamsdale Playground on Second Avenue on July 26th at 11:00am. This circuit will consist of riding two separate 10 kilometre loops through the Minnow Lake area. Each loop will pass Adamsdale Playground, so riders can feel free to break off from the group ride at any time.