Watch the video above: Is Saskatoon a bicycle-friendly city?
SASKATOON – Move over motorists! Saskatoon has been highlighted as one of the best cities to pedal power your way around. A list released by TravelPulse features cities worldwide where cycling is king and our city made the cut.
A list released by TravelPulse features cities worldwide where cycling is king.
“I certainly think that within Canada for the size that we’ve got some really promising infrastructure that we can work on and this is a beautiful city,” said Hilary Gough, board co-chair for Saskatoon Cycles.
“We all know that and we all love being down by the river and I think that in terms of a pleasurable place to ride, there are pleasurable places to ride in Saskatoon.”
But cyclists say in terms of infrastructure, Saskatoon is lagging.
“There’s cities like Vancouver, Toronto, Calgary and Edmonton more recently who are working on allocating a larger budget and putting resources into building that infrastructure,” said Gough.
“Until that happens in Saskatoon, big advancements on really comprehensive, safe cycling infrastructure, it’s not going to be in my top view.”
The City of Saskatoon has made improvements to accommodate cyclists, a bike boulevard and multi-use pathway.
City councillor Mairin Loewen is an avid rider. She admitted having more bike lanes in the urban core of Saskatoon continues to be the number one request at city hall.
“Saskatoon Cycles recently put in a request to have what we call better bike lanes in downtown and we put in a proposal for bikes lanes to be developed on 4th Avenue and 24th Street,” said Gough.
“That proposal has made some gains and there’s been a little bit of barrier so we’re still working on that and we hope to see that happen before next summer.”
According Statistics Canada, 201, 800 Canadians rode their bike to work in 2011 out of more than 15 million commuters.
A number unchanged for the country from 2006 at 1.3 per cent.
In Saskatoon, the data showed a decline in commuters peddling to work from 2.4 per cent in 2006 to two per cent in 2011.
“I’ve heard from a lot of people with my work with Saskatoon Cycles that they simply don’t feel safe cycling in Saskatoon with the infrastructure that we currently have,” said Gough.
In 2013, between January and June there were 20 vehicle versus cyclists collisions in Saskatoon. This year, there have been 14 during that same time period not including the recent fatal collision involving a three-year old boy.
Collisions are declining but are still far too many say police.
“Any time somebody’s safety is put into jeopardy or compromised it is a concern for police but being that the numbers are down from this year we would like to attribute that to people paying more attention and cyclists being more conscience on the road and cyclist as well,” said Kelsie Fraser, with Saskatoon police.