I'm listening to a guest on the radio this morning and she's echoing what I've been feeling about biking in Ottawa that I had to interrupt my morning routine to shout it out on my blog.
Bike paths are beautiful and nice for leisure riding but if you're trying to get someplace on a bike (like from where I live to where I teach), you're taking your life in your hands. If I want to ride safely in my neighbourhood I either need to get on the sidewalk at times, breaking the law, or take up a whole lane, which gets me yelled at - GET A CAR - (don't you know I HAVE a car and LOVE it?), or get touched by busses, yep right where a woman was hit the other night I was grazed by a city bus while I tried to hug the curb. Or I'm asked by the city to come right into the middle of it all (see Rideau, or how about that bridge outside of Sears) or my bike lane comes and goes without notice.
So I've had it. I'm not riding in Ottawa anymore. And I like to ride my bike. It's been in the hills of the Hudson Valley. It came with me and rode along the sea in Cape Town, pumped up dusty hills in Johannesburg, all while I was pregnant. I like to just ride my bike to get places. But I'm not willing to have the emotional upheaval that comes for me when I face riding in Ottawa.
I fear for my daughter on her bike. I love that she knows how to ride but the thought of her riding legally from Sandy Hill to the Market could give me heart palpitations.
Until Ottawa makes it safe to be a cyclist on the city streets, I'm not doing it. I'm taking my car.
There's a meeting about it tonight at the Museum of Nature at 7. To do anything other than fund biking infrastructure would be foolish for our city.