*Report suggests city lagging in bicycle commuter numbers *
WINNIPEG leads the country in the number of commuters putting a key in the
ignition instead of a shoe on a bike pedal when their trip is five
kilometres or less to the downtown, according to new data from Statistics
The Manitoba capital also has the lowest proportion of commuters living and
working in the city’s core walking or cycling to work, with only about one
in five doing so.
The report compiled by Statistics Canada released Wednesday is based on
information gathered during the 2016 census and in comparing much of it to
information received during the 1996 census. The report, entitled Commuting
Within Canada’s Largest Cities, took a look at the commuting patterns of
people in the country’s eight largest metropolitan areas, including
Winnipeg, Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton.
Almost 72 per cent of Winnipeggers who live within five kilometres of the
downtown use a car, truck or van to get to work each day, compared to 25
per cent in Toronto, 63 per cent in Calgary and 57 per cent in Ottawa.
The report found every major city across the country has more people who
live and work in the core area walking or bicycling to work each day.
However, Winnipeg lags behind in its increase.
Toronto reported a jump to 47.4 per cent of commuters in 2016 from 19.3 per
cent in 1996, while Montreal went to 38 per cent from 16 per cent and
Calgary to 38 per cent from 15 per cent. Winnipeg’s totals rose only
slightly: to 19.9 per cent, from 13.2 per cent.
In a trend seen in several cities across the country, the number of people
walking and cycling in a traditional commute from outside to inside the
core, and commuting from one area of the suburbs to another, has dropped.
In Winnipeg, it slid to 1.6 per cent in 2016 from 1.9 per cent in 1996 for
the former, and to 12.1 per cent from 16 per cent for the latter. Despite
this, Mark Cohoe of Bike Winnipeg sees good news in the report: in 2016,
there were more commuters cycling and walking from the downtown to jobs
elsewhere (3.7 per cent) than commuting the other way (1.6 per cent).
“If you’re living downtown, you might have already made the decision to go
to areas by bike,” Cohoe said. “You might be more willing to ride (a) bike.”
Cohoe said the main difference between Winnipeg and several other cities is
the others invested earlier in active transportation, including bicycle
Noting the report from Statistics Canada appears to come out every 20
years, Cohoe is hoping for better in 2036.
“I’d definitely be hoping there is a substantial increase,” he said. “I’d
like to get to 40 per cent cycling within the core and 12 per cent
commuting to the downtown.
“We’ve seen it in other centres. We need to build the infrastructure.”
Interesting report on commuter modes in Winnipeg, comparing 1996 and 2016.
Gives numbers on walking, biking, public transit, and driving, and breaks
it down into core area commuters, suburban to core area commutes, core to
Jobs are moving avway from the city centre in all eight cities, but
Winnipeg and Quebec City were the only cities of the eight which showed a
drop in the actual number of core area jobs (we lost 14,000 jobs in our
core area). Winnipeg also has the highest percentage of commuters living
within 5km of their workplace.
" Among those who work and live in the city core, the proportion of those
who use active modes of transportation (such as walking and biking)
increased—from 19% to 47% in Toronto, from 16% to 38% in Montréal, from 15%
to 38% in Calgary, from 17% to 39% in Vancouver and from 22% to 42% in
"In 2016, the two CMAs with the largest proportion of within-city core
commuters using active transportation were Toronto (47%) and
Ottawa–Gatineau (42%). In contrast, Winnipeg had the lowest proportion of
within-city core commuters walking or cycling to work, with about 1 in 5
such commuters opting for this commuting type."
Just in case you know someone who would like to apply.
---------- Forwarded message ---------
From: Sarah Thiessen <wrenchvolunteer(a)gmail.com>
Date: Tue, May 28, 2019 at 7:14 PM
Subject: Wheels of Courage Mentorship Program (29 and under) - Apply today!
Just want to let everyone know that there is *only one week left* to apply
for the Wheels of Courage Mentorship Program!
In case you haven't heard about it via our Facebook page
*Wheels of Courage* is an exciting new mentorship program at the
WRENCH for *young people
(ages 14-29)* focused on skill-building and creating positive change
through Community Projects.
*If you love bikes* and want to use them as a tool for personal growth and
social change – Wheels of Courage is for you!
*Learn more @ Apply now at www.thewrench.ca/woc
*Application Deadline: June 4th, 2019*
Let me know if you have any questions, or want to arrange for a phone call
or face-to-face chat about the program!
*Volunteer Coordinator & Wheels of Courage Lead Mentor*
The *W*innipeg *R*epair* E*ducation '*N*' *C*ycling *H*ub
1057 Logan Ave, Winnipeg, MB R3E 3N8
Treaty 1 Territory & Homeland of the Metis Nation
*City to decide if pilot project should be made permanent*
* Transit backs taxi use of diamond lanes *
WINNIPEG’S public works committee will vote on whether a pilot project that
allows taxis to travel in diamond lanes should be made permanent.
Taxis were granted permission to use diamond lanes on March 1, 2018, which
is the same date the city paved the way for ride-hailing services to hit
the streets of Winnipeg.
Diamond lanes are reserved for use by authorized vehicles during peak
periods — mostly during weekday morning and afternoon rush hour. Prior to
the start of the pilot program, only city buses and bicycles were allowed
to use them.
Throughout the pilot project, which was scheduled to last a year, Winnipeg
Transit monitored whether allowing taxis to operate in diamond lanes — but
not stop in them — had a significant effect on bus service.
“Based on data analysis, as long as taxis continue to respect the ‘no
stopping in the diamond lanes’ provision, the Transit department is
supportive with taxis sharing the diamond lanes,” city employee Alex Regiec
wrote in a report submitted to the committee.
The pilot project was implemented as a concession to the local taxi
industry, which organized efforts to block ride-hailing services, such as
TappCar and Cowboy Taxi, from coming to the city.
The decision to allow taxis to travel in diamond lanes was intended to
increase industry efficiency and provide greater incentives for taxi use,
the report reads.
However, the report notes there could be issues if ride-hailing services
seek permission to use the diamond lanes.
“There is a risk that other personal transportation providers and private
high-occupancy vehicles might desire the same access to, and use of, the
diamond lanes as taxis,” Regiec wrote.
“Expanding access to diamond lanes diminishes the effectiveness of a
reserved lane originally intended to maintain and improve the operation of
mass public transit in congested traffic areas.”
During the year-long pilot project, there were 74 incidents in which taxis
were reported to have stopped in diamond lanes.
Early in the pilot project, Winnipeg Parking Authority employees met with
the taxi industry to raise awareness about the issue, which led to a
significant drop in the number of reported incidents.
“Overall, the taxi industry has expressed an appreciation to the city for
allowing their taxis to operate in the diamond lanes. They indicate this
action has saved time and money for the consumer and increased efficiency,”
“The Transit department will continue to monitor and collect data related
to incidents of taxis stopping in diamond lanes and the parking authority’s
vehicles-for-hire office will continue to liaison between Transit and the
ryan.thorpe(a)freepress.mb.ca Twitter: @rk_thorpe
*Cycling advocates seek to plot safer city routes online*
AN online tool designed to make cyclists feel safer while navigating
Winnipeg streets is encouraging them to record collisions and hazards; and
BikeMaps.org will make the locations public to help others identify more
secure routes. The Winnipeg Trails Association and Bike Winnipeg partnered
with BikeMaps.org to crowdsource the data and record incidents that aren’t
always reported to police or filed as insurance claims.
“You just hit the button and it leads you to a series of questions... that
don’t get asked typically if you were reporting an incident to the police
or if you make a claim,” association executive director Anders Swanson said
The hope is, by making the streets safer, more people will start cycling.
“If you look at your life expectancy, someone who rides a bike is going to
live longer,” Swanson said. “But you’re (also) exposed to trauma,
unnecessarily… There is a big barrier to people who would like to ride, but
don’t feel safe.”
BikeMaps.org offers cyclists the chance to tell the story of their close
calls, Swanson said.
People can report collisions, falls, near-misses and thefts on the website
or via their smartphones, and cyclists can see where others have reported
problems and take precautions, if need be.
Eric Reder of Winnipeg had a scare Tuesday that he posted about in detail
on Twitter, but the website’s data probably wouldn’t have helped him, he
“I got hit by a semi while on my bike in downtown Winnipeg yesterday. I’m
not hurt. But the semi did it on purpose and the police didn’t much care.
So I’m angry,” Reder tweeted.
In an interview, Reder said he was on Portage Avenue at Smith Street just
before 11:30 a.m. when a trucker honked at him to get out of the way. Reder
didn’t; instead, he yelled at the trucker.
Reder said the trucker popped his clutch and ran over Reder’s bike — while
he was on it.
“I jumped off my bike... It’s just lucky it didn’t happen to someone more
vulnerable, like my 11-year-old son I’m trying to teach how to ride the
roads,” Reder said.
Changing to a safer route isn’t an option as the incident happened close to
his office, the environmentalist said.
Designed by University of Victoria geographers to fill in the gaps in
reports on collisions and falls for commuters navigating urban traffic,
BikeMaps.org has collected 7,800 reports worldwide since it went live in
Winnipeg is the latest Canadian city to sign on. Trail associations and
bike groups have brought the online tool to Victoria, Vancouver, Edmonton,
Whitehorse, Lethbridge, Alta., Guelph, Ont., St. John’s, N.L., and Ottawa.
It also used in Reykjavik, Iceland.
“The data’s had an impact in cities where it’s used,” said Karen Laberee,
executive director of BikeMaps.org at the University of Victoria.
“There are some easy wins to be had,” Laberee said.
“What we do notice in cities that have been using it is (that) some of them
are using the data to identify places where they can make some fixes.
Sometimes, they’ve been able to make some easy fixes.”
An average of two cyclists are killed in the province each year, figures
from Manitoba Public Insurance show.
Winnipeg Trails hopes to take the data recorded to the city’s public works
active transportation advisory committee to address any concerns.
*Winnipeg’s plan to improve public education falls flat*
* Other cities have solutions to bike theft *
WHAT, you may ask, is the City of Winnipeg doing to combat bike theft?
Interesting question. Unfortunately, to date we mostly know what the city
is not doing.
Last week, city administrators recommended against a mandatory bike
registration program at the point of sale. The city already has an online
bike registry, but it is optional. A city committee will still consider
making it mandatory, but the thumbs-down from administrators does not bode
well for this idea.
Of greater concern is the fact the six-page report tabled last week
contains virtually no ideas for combating bike theft other than “improving
public education.” Given the size and nature of the problem, that is a weak
Bikes are easy to steal, even easier now that cordless grinders and saws
have given thieves the ability to carve through almost any lock, chain or
fixture being used to secure a bike. More than 3,000 bikes are reported
stolen every year; about 1,000 are recovered, but less than 10 per cent
find their way back to rightful owners.
The broader concern is bicycle theft is directly connected to the meth
crisis. Addicts looking for cash steal and sell bikes because they are
relatively easy to grab and unload. Some end up in scrap metal yards, while
others are sold in face-to-face transactions or through online classified
Faced with these conditions, it’s no wonder hardcore cyclists are
frustrated. “It’s a very tough issue to deal with,” said Mark Cohoe,
executive director of Bike Winnipeg. “There’s a convergence of things that
have made it easier to steal and sell stolen bikes. We really need to do a
bit more to deal with this problem, because it will create other problems
down the road.”
One of the most frequent concerns expressed by cyclists is the apparent
indifference of the Winnipeg Police Service. Even when a bike has been
registered, and when there is clear evidence suggesting it has been put up
for sale in an online classified ad, police lack the resources to pursue
A friend experienced this two years ago after his 18-year-old son’s $400
bicycle was stolen. The day after the bike went missing, my friend and his
son found it for sale on Kijiji. It seemed like a slam-dunk opportunity to
bust some crime.
But after visiting the local community police office, my friend found out
that in most instances, there are no resources to track down individual
stolen bikes. In my friend’s case, it meant police declined his request to
confront the person who had posted the stolen bike online.
It should be noted the police service does undertake a number of measures
to combat bike theft. It runs a sting program where bikes equipped with GPS
trackers are left in high-risk areas. Once stolen, police track the bike’s
location and make an arrest, which has happened several times. The police
service is also heavily involved in public education, encouraging cyclists
to register and lock their bikes and report thefts.
However, when it comes to investigating an individual theft, resources run
A police spokesman noted that with dramatically increasing call volumes,
many of them involving elevated risk to someone’s well-being or life,
crimes such as this are constantly pushed down the list of policing
priorities. “We can only help when resources allow for it,” the spokesman
That is not a cop-out, if you’ll pardon the pun. In fact, when you look at
all of the things police are asked to do, it’s easy to see how bike theft
is given a lower priority.
That does not mean there are no solutions.
For example, most online classified sites do not require anyone selling a
bike to post a registration number with the advertisement. All bikes have a
unique, engraved number somewhere on their frames. Being required to
include a registration number, or rejecting ads that do not have them,
could make it tougher to fence a stolen bike.
Rather than create its own online registry, Winnipeg could follow the
example of other cities that employ free, third-party apps to create a
community watch system for bicycles.
Vancouver relies heavily on Garage 529, a free app developed by a private
company in the U.S. that allows cyclists to register their bikes on a
continent-wide database. For $13, the app sells you a “shield,” a decal
that tells would-be thieves your bike is registered. If your bike is taken,
you can notify the entire app community, and people can help provide
information to aid in its recovery.
Proponents believe the app not only allows more stolen bikes to be returned
to their owners, but also acts as a deterrent to thieves. Law enforcement
and other interested parties agree; hundreds of police services, schools
and pro-bike groups across North America support Garage 529 by publicizing
it and selling shields. The Brandon Police Service is the only
participating agency in Manitoba.
It appears to be working. In Vancouver, public education by police and
Garage 529 has been credited with a 30 per cent drop in bike thefts.
Another possible solution would be for the police service to occasionally
track down and punish people who sell stolen bikes online. As is the case
with the bike-bait program, a single, well-publicized arrest of an online
fence would make for a powerful deterrent.
Which brings us back to a single administration report produced for a
single civic committee. The city cannot rely solely on the police, and
needs to go beyond “public education” to address this problem.
Fortunately, there are good ideas out there just waiting to be found.