Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisenberger almost got hit by a car on Tuesday, just seconds into a bike ride that signaled the launch of the city’s “Commuting with Council” campaign.
Eisenberger fastened his helmet and jumped on a bike alongside Hamilton resident Tom Flood and his six-year-old son Oliver in the hopes of seeing the city’s cycling infrastructure through a new lens.
Together they started towards their first stop, St. Joseph Catholic Elementary School on Locke Street South. Tom Flood says it wasn’t long before safety became a concern.
“About eight seconds, or nine seconds into our ride, Oliver and the Mayor almost got hit by a car coming, turning down Markland,” he said. “There was almost an accident so I think that gave some perspective immediately.”
Flood says there is a lot to be concerned about as a cyclist, including speed and cars parked in bike lanes.
He also points to the need for more protected bikes lanes.
“Once you’ve ridden with a four, five, six-year-old and the only thing separating you from a transport truck is a little bit of paint, it really changes your perspective and for the better.”
Flood acknowledges much has been done to support and promote more cycling in the community, pointing to the creation of lanes on Herkimer, Charlton and Bay streets.
He says this campaign is about opening up a much more empathetic conversation about how Hamiltonians move through the city.
It is also a challenge to all councillors to do something similar to the Mayor’s ride to get a sense of the challenges for cyclists in their wards.