Despite the fact that Toronto’s politicians want to make the city more dangerous for cyclists (by encouraging more car use and removing bike-focused infrastructure) the people of Toronto are loving bike riding more and more every year. Companies have caught on to this and some are now giving employee some rewards for opting to ride a bicycle instead of using a car.
It helps keep staff healthy and active, and “I actually think it saves money for customers,” he said.
If a consultant has to drive from the suburbs to a client downtown, the client gets charged 50 cents per kilometer, plus $25 for parking. That can add up to a $45 charge for the client.
Toronto Environmental Office director Lawson Oates agrees. Cycling rewards increasingly resonate with younger workers and employers, he said.
“It’s the wave of the future. (Companies) want to attract and retain topnotch employees,” and these people don’t necessarily function in “the old 9-5 mould,” he said.
Regular readers probably know that bicycles are the best form of transportation imaginable (I may be biased). It’s always good to read of efforts to get more people in North America riding bicycles, and to make things even better there’s a group of women in southern California that encourages other women to ride.
Balmer founded WOBSoCal because of stories just like hers. She recalls her own tentative return to cycling: “I was afraid I would ride too far and then be too tired to get back; then I’d feel humiliated.” Once she finally relented, her first ride was in a Christmas parade, “which was a great seduction.” Her fears were instantly replaced by her newfound passion.
“Whether you have to or want to choose a bike for transportation, we want to celebrate it,” said Balmer. Not only is biking fun, it is also healthy, convenient and affordable; so why aren’t more women riding?
Cyclists in Portland have long since known the benefits of Bike Boxes (also called advance stop lines.) which allow a safe place for cyclists to stop at an intersection. This gives cyclists increased visibility when taking the lane to make a left turn, and generally increases the safe space around bikes. Toronto’s first bike boxes have sprouted up at Harbord and St. George recently and although many motorists and cyclists are unfamiliar with them, they’re a step in the right direction!
Streets Bloog has a great video about rush hour in Portland and how bicyclists have to ‘endure’ bike jams. I thought it was crowded on College Street in Toronto during the summer, but even the traffic on College can’t compare to Portland’s Hawthorne bridge. Unfortunately I can’t find a way to embed the video here so you’ll have to watch it on their blog.
As Greg Raisman from Portland’s Bureau of Transportation pointed out: 20 percent of all traffic on the Hawthorne Bridge is bikes, while the number of cyclists in Portland has risen 600 percent in the last 15 years and shows no sign of letting up.