Feature Story                                                         Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2016


I Want to Ride My Bicycle

Chilliwack gets the lowdown on future cycling plans

Staff/Voice photos


Richard Campbell (l to r), Kati Tamashiro and Richard Dredel spoke at the Chilliwack Cultural Centre Saturday. Below, Coun. Jason Lum speaks on behalf on the City of Chilliwack.

rovincial and municipal governments want us to ride bicycles so much that the Ministry of Transportation (MOT) plans to pony up $20 million over the next 3 years through their "BC on the Move" program. Pocket change considering that since 2001, they've spent $220 million.

Apparently, it's all part of the government's "Climate Leadership Plan" to reduce greenhouse gases and get people more active. Now they're talking our language.

This year, $6.5 million has been spent on 25 projects in 23 communities through BikeBC's cost-sharing plan. Included in the blueprints, are bike lockers and more places to tie up.

Good times. Next year, $19 million has been allocated to enhance the province's cycling infrastructure such as bike lanes, multi-use paths and trails, as well as cycling/pedestrian bridges. BC is no slouch when it comes to cycling. According to the government's 2015 "Bikenomics" report, over 150,000 cycle-tourists travel the province every year.

Emcee Brad Hagkull (l) kept the show going with some of his humour. Below, RCMP officer Nicole shares some laughs with an attendee.

Funds are available through MOT. However, to be considered, local governments must describe how their project encourages cycling, increases safety, and contributes to increased physical activity and healthy living as part of their "Active Community" plans. The ministry also looks at how projects can increase cycle tourism opportunities.

"We are accepting applications for next year’s BikeBC program now and with this earlier intake, we’ll be able to provide funding decisions to municipalities earlier, which allows them to get started on their cycling projects sooner," said Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Todd Stone. "And with the funding boost of $2 million next year, local governments will have more opportunities to make their communities safer for cyclists and encourage more residents to use cycling for commuting and for recreation."

The deadline for 2017-18 applications is Dec. 16.

On Saturday, about 75 people, mostly over 50-years-old, turned out at the Cultural Centre to hear three speakers reveal plans for cycling in Chilliwack:

• Richard Dredel, Dredel Transportation
• Richard Campbell, BC Cycling Association  
• Kati Tamashiro, City of Vancouver

The forum was emceed by local teacher and wheelchair basketball coach, Brad Hagkull. Each speaker described the concept of how adding "buffered" cycle lanes and paths, to the existing 220km bicycle-friendly routes, would encourage more people to saddle up for at least for some of their transportation needs. However, the speakers couldn't answer how much money has been allocated for Chilliwack.

Christmas came early for three winners of the prizes. Below, emcee Brad Hagkull kept things moving along.

The speakers also advocated "rail trails" along railroad tracks in Chilliwack. It's hard to say just how "safe" those paths would be.

Some of the comments from the audience were about how renegade cyclists are everywhere. On sidewalks and crosswalks, without lights or helmets. Police say they are targeting some of the BMX'ers with disregard for the laws and running rampant over the downtown at all hours of the day and night.

RCMP officer Nicole, told The Voice that BC-wide fines for riding without a helmet are $29 – far too low say some.

Some generous prizes given away at the Cultural Centre including a bicycle from Pedal Sport, a goodie bag of of bicycle gear from Jack's Cycle and a high end helmet from Vedder Mountain Bike Co. Repairs and safety inspections were also available on-site.

To learn more about the BC on the Move program, visit www.gov.bc.ca/bconthemove

Locally, more information is available regarding CycleVision on the City's website at www.chilliwack.com/cyclevision


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