In Saint John you don’t see many people on bicycles. I’ve talked to people informally about it and asked why they think people don’t bike more and here’s what I heard…
1) Too many hills: Obviously, this is something we can’t change. Personally I like the hills… it’s built in interval training. That being said our geography does not lend itself to a leisurely commute to work on your bike.
2) Potholes: This is one that the city can do something about! I would never drive a road bike on the streets of Saint John. I’d be stopping frequently to fix flat tires. Even my hybrid take a beating. Drive down most any street in Saint John and close your eyes (figuratively). You’d think you were doing the rocks and roots of Rockwood park!
3) No dedicated bike lanes: There are a few around the city but invariably people park their cars in them which causes the cyclist to swerve out in to traffic. This is not a problem unique to Saint John. Even big cities like New York face this challenge.
4) Nowhere to park your bike: Imagine you wanted to bike uptown to the market on Saturday morning for breakfast. Where would you park your bike? Companies who employ a lot of people uptown should be encouraging their employees to bike to work and be providing bike racks or lobbying the city to install bike racks.
What can we do about it? Get vocal. Rally the troops! Support ATSJ “Active Transportation Saint John”. Until this morning, I had no idea that this group even exists in Saint John. Now that I know I will be lending my support…
“Active Transportation Saint John (ATSJ) is a grassroots community group promoting human powered modes of transportation like cycling, walking, jogging and running to get fit, commute and have fun. This group of volunteers is dedicated to improving the recreational and commuter cycling routes in the City of Saint John. The current focus of the group is to gain support for cycle friendly infrastructure, such as on street bike lanes and off road trails.” Visit their blog at http://atsj.wordpress.com/