At the end of December, the Montreal Gazette featured an article about winter cycling.
Huh? Well yeah.
Seems like the topic of cycling has gained so much momentum that it has become worthy of being discussed in the Gazette in December!!
Ok, so what is this study all about?
The number of cyclists is big enough now, with many of them continuing cycling in the winter, that the city has a duty to start clearing out all bike lanes and paths, the same way they clear all streets, including those that barely see a rat's ass in a 24hr period. Why? Because what really bothers cyclists is not so much temperature or weather conditions than road conditions... Duh!! I discussed it in November here and here!!
All of this, we have known for a very long time, but the researchers are finding out now, or so it seems...
Not surprisingly, the researchers found that the warmer cities retained a higher percentage of cyclists from summer to winter.
But Montreal’s winter cyclists seem less affected by temperature changes during the winter season than those in Vancouver and Portland. A smaller percentage of Montreal cyclists were discouraged from winter cycling because of drops in temperature, or intense precipitation.
“Montreal presents the lowest elasticities, suggesting that winter cyclists in Montreal are less sensitive to adverse weather conditions,” the study notes.
The big factor for Montrealers willing to cycle in winter seems to be not cold or precipitation, but road surface conditions.
“The surface condition is the main factor, and if we maintain good surface conditions throughout the winter we could improve these numbers dramatically,” said Miranda-Moreno.
He notes that European cities with similar winter weather to Montreal see cycling levels fall to only about 50 per cent of summer levels in winter.
“Cities can have four-season cycling. We don’t have to stop in winter. It doesn’t mean everybody wants to cycle in winter, but Sweden and Norway have very high retention of cycling rates in winter and we have similar weather.”
Full article here.
|It is not obvious but there is a full glassy ice coat right there|
It may shock some but I am totally against this nonsense.
Pushing this stupid winter cycling agenda will only alienate everyone that does not cycle in the winter.
Montreal is not Vancouver or Portland or wherever else. We do get big-ass snow falls and major-ass storms. Snow management is an absolute pain in the ass. It costs us fortunes every year. People fight over parking spot issues ("You motherfucker shoveled your snow on my car/spot/driveway!").
The city can never clear the streets fast enough to everyone's taste. And what about the sidewalks? Everybody and their mama who's ever slipped sues the city. Back alleys are not cleared. People sometimes spend up to 4 hours stuck in traffic during or right after snowstorms.
Budgets are tight. Plateau Mont-Royal's administration put up this website where you can play with the borough budget and see for yourself how much the different activities cost. Snow management is by far the biggie. People had to demonstrate this fall to ensure some swimming pools and other local services would remained open. The central administration is sucking the local boroughs dry by tightening theirs finances.
In that context, why should the local administration divert extremely rare funds from regular snow removal to clearing bike paths when only wackos ride in the winter?
Whether or not what I just said is true, a lie or an insult is irrelevant. This is how the average Joe will perceive it. And we don't want that. Why? because it is hard enough to allocate valuable tax money to expand the cycling network without Joe balking.
Between clearing out the paths in the winter for only 12% of cyclists to enjoy and building more paths for EVERYONE to enjoy during the regular season, the choice is easy. And right there, you've got the entire "regular" cyclists community agreeing with me.
So it is us all, regular cyclists, plus all regular Joe's in their cars, against a tiny minority. It's ugly, it's petty and mean-spirited but as long as the pie's size is small, that's what it boils down to. The day the pie starts growing again and we've got an optimal cycling network in place, then yeah the city can spend money on winter cycling.
Until then, well.... Actually Plateau mayor, Luc Ferrandez, says it better:
The Plateau Mont Royal borough has been criticized for refusing to clear the Rachel St. bike path, which is supposed to be part of the Réseau Blanc. Plateau Mayor Luc Ferrandez says keeping that path clear costs about $150,000 per winter. The task is complicated by the fact that cars park beside the path if it is kept open in winter so there is nowhere to push the snow when clearing it.As always, Luc Ferrandez is the man. Pr. Miranda Moreno rocks as well, but in this particular case, he needs to get real.
Ferrandez said the Réseau Blanc is a nice idea that doesn’t really exist because the boroughs are not given resources by the central city to build and maintain a true network of safe paths. He said the central Ville Marie Borough gets extra snow clearing funding to keep the de Maisonneuve path clear (which despite this extra funding is filthy as ever). His borough would need not only more money for clearing, but money to build more and better designed bike routes to make the Réseau Blanc a reality.
“If there was (a Réseau Blanc) and I was stopping it by my stubborn cost-cutting habits, that would be one thing. But we don’t have a Réseau Blanc,” Ferrandez said.