Cycling in Ottawa is growing exponentially and continues to be safe, says the inaugural annual report from Citizens for Safe Cycling.
“More and more people discover that if you sit down and figure out a route, 95% of the route is just fine,” said CFSC president Hans Moor.
“It is often a crossing here, an oddly designed shoulder there, that gives a perception that cycling is not safe. But it is.”
The recently released document combines National Capital Commission and municipal initatives, examining the state of cycling in Bytown.
An estimated 300 accidents were reported each year between 2007 and 2010 but that figure remains constant, even with an increase of riders, the report finds.
It highlights improvements made since 2010, such as better signage at the train culvert on Carling Ave. between Herzberg Rd. and Moodie Dr.
In addition, better lighting and signage have been installed at the University of Ottawa underpass so cyclists can ride below Nicholas St. and the Transitway, linking them with the Corktown Bridge.
Other areas lack progress, such as a bypass for cyclists to the Merivale Rd. shopping strip, and signage to get downtown from the Ottawa River pathway.
“Many of our indicated problems need more than a year to put into place,” said Moor.
“The city is definitely listening, but going through the motions takes awhile.”
Connections such as the Byron-Tyndall-Gladstone are currently being studied.
The group is also asking the city to focus on linking Laurier Ave. with the Ottawa River pathway, and Bank St. near Billings Bridge.
“Not everyone realizes that a bike network is incredibly cheap,” said Moor.
“Ottawa has many parts in place already, and if we fix a number of problem spots, we all of a sudden have a complete network.”
The growth of cycling is so overwhelming, there isn’t enough parking, said Moor.
Meters were replaced with pay and display kiosks, however, more spots will become available as the city redevelops areas such as Bank St. in Centretown and Wellington St. W.
The site parkmybike.ca is user-driven, pointing out areas with and without adequate facilities.
The NCC, though, is doing well with its Park-and-Cycle program.
The 2011 pilot project saw 360 spots for commuters who partially drove to work, parked for free in a lot, then cycled.
The NCC confirmed the program is ongoing until Nov. 15, weather permitting.