Fewer bike-theft reports belies despairing reality that most victims don’t
report to police
Cycle of gloom
SCOTT Atkinson’s heart sank when he stepped outside his home in Old St.
Vital to find his garage door open.
“I instantly knew: it’s gone,” Atkinson said, describing the moment he
realized his $1,300 Kona Splice bicycle was now in the hands of a thief.
On Tuesday, the 36-year-old joined countless other Winnipeg residents who
have become victims of bike thieves in recent years.
Bikes are a common target because they are valuable, easy to transport and
can be stripped down for parts or parts can be converted into weapons,
In 2018, the Winnipeg Police Service received more than 2,000 stolen-bike
reports. The number dropped to 1,555 last year, but a frustrated cycling
advocate says the data is inaccurate and misleading.
“They only have reported stats, so I would take that with a pinch of salt,”
said Mark Cohoe, executive director of Bike Winnipeg. “There’s a feeling of
hopelessness out there that might be giving the police the false impression
(that bike crime is declining).”
While Atkinson, who has lived in the neighbourhood for most of his life, is
among those who reported his bike stolen, he knows he’ll probably never see
At one time, Old St. Vital was relatively free of property crime, but now,
anything that isn’t bolted down is likely to be stolen, he said.
“It’s so much more depressing than I thought it was going to be,” he said.
“I don’t really have a way of doing anything or going anywhere, so that is
kind of earth-shattering.… People that don’t really use a bike every day,
they don’t really understand.”
Atkinson’s story is typical. Some people go through the motions of filing a
police report hoping to see their property returned, but many don’t bother.
The result is rampant, but largely unreported, theft, Cohoe said.
“There’s evidence that what we’re doing isn’t enough,” he said. “People
have to feel like reporting it is going to have a result.”
In an effort to gather more data, Bike Winnipeg produced a public
bike-theft survey this April.
About 300 cyclists responded. More than 90 per cent of participants had
bikes stolen in the last five years, and the majority said the thefts
happened at their homes.
The data disputes the notion that bike theft is a crime of opportunity that
only happens to unsecured bikes in public spaces. If the city wants to
reduce bike crime, it needs to commit to policy and infrastructure changes,
A good first step would be updating Winnipeg’s bylaws to make it mandatory
for new residential and commercial developments to include secure
bike-storage areas. This would make it safer for cyclists to visit
businesses, workplaces and residential buildings without fear of theft, he
The city could also expand its bike registry program by sharing its data
with other municipalities, he added.
Since 1995, the city has collected bike serial numbers through its
voluntary registry. When a bike is lost or stolen, WPS officers can
reference the registry to track down its owner.
In 2018, the city introduced an online version of the registry. Currently,
there are 17,000 registrations, said Adam Campbell, a city spokesperson.
Despite the fact that nearly half of the respondents in the Bike Winnipeg
survey used the registry, only three per cent felt that it was helpful in
Stolen bikes sometimes make their way to other municipalities, provinces or
countries. Cohoe believes if the city were to join an international
registry, it could make the data more useful.
Over the last three years, public interest in cycling in Winnipeg has
surged, Cohoe said, adding the pandemic is partly responsible; many
residents looked for new and healthy hobbies when various activities were
restricted or shut down.
Other factors, such as rising gas prices and climate awareness, have made
people more aware of the benefits of active transportation, he said.
That interest has led Winnipeg to the beginning stages of a cycling network.
“(The city is) certainly becoming more bike-friendly. We are building out
infrastructure — I’m not going to say we’re doing it at a rate I
appreciate, and I would certainly like to see us accelerate that — but we
are seeing more,” he said.
In the early days, Winnipeg’s cycling infrastructure consisted of routes
that travelled from “Point A to Point B.” The routes typically connected
segments of individual neighbourhoods. Now, the city needs to fill gaps and
connect the established routes, Cohoe said.
“When you create those connections, the gaps that you’re filling in have
multiple destinations and multiple connections across that you’re
completing,” he said.
A staff member at Bikes and Beyond in West Elmwood said she is pleased more
people are becoming interested in cycling, but without secure storage, bike
theft is inevitable.
“There’s this assumption that people who are stealing things are kind of
dumb, and they are not,” said Emily, who asked that her last name not be
published because she believes thieves use social media to target potential
She advises cyclists to avoid storing their bikes outside in sheds or
garages. She said the only way to ensure a bike’s safety is to keep it
inside a home.
If someone has no choice but to leave their bike unattended, she recommends
using two locks: a steel U-lock around the frame and a cable lock
restricting the wheels.
She added that many thieves now use industrial tools including angle
grinders, so even a double-locked bike is not entirely secure.
Anybody who has become a victim of bike theft should report it to police,
“There is definitely a bit of discouragement in the public about the
effectiveness of reporting,” she said. “(But) it is really important,
regardless of whether people think it’s going to make a difference because,
as we all know, decisions are made based on stats.”
Public works chairman beets drum for winter road juice
IT’S time to determine if using more beet juice can help Winnipeggers get a
better grip on roads, lanes and sidewalks, one city councillor says.
Beet juice is already used as part of the City of Winnipeg’s street
de-icing arsenal. The city sprays a beet juice salt brine mixture directly
on ring roads and bridges at times and may also use it to wet salt and sand
being spread on streets.
Coun. Matt Allard, the city’s public works chairman, thinks the product’s
use could be greatly expanded. In a new motion, he’s calling on municipal
staff to study the impact of applying beet juice de-icing mixtures
throughout the city next winter.
“I’m wondering… what it would look like to mandate it citywide. We would
have substantially less salt on our roadways,” said Allard. The councillor
is also pushing for a report on the environmental and cost benefits of
switching to greater use of beet-juice-based mixtures to reduce the city’s
reliance on road salt, which can damage trees, snow-clearing machines and
“I don’t think we’ve ever had a holistic look at… the total cost benefit of
salt versus other products in the life of our machines,” said Allard.
City spokesman Ken Allen said it would be “premature” to comment on
Allard’s motion, or how feasible it would be to rely more on beet juice
next winter. At least some amount of beet juice de-icing mixture has been
used since 2020, after proving successful in trial projects that began in
2015, Allen said.
In an email, he said beet juice has been found to have several benefits.
“Beet juice improves the adhesion of the sand and salt to the roadway
surface at colder temperatures. Beet juice can make up to 60 per cent of
the solution we are applying to the roads and is combined with a
traditional sodium chloride-based brine. This lessens our chloride loading
on infrastructure and the environment while producing a good quality
melting solution effective to temperatures below -30 C,” he wrote.
Allard’s motion also calls for the public service to report on the amount
of beet juice versus sand and salt applied to city rights-of-way over the
past five years and options to reduce the use of sodium chloride and other
salts on city streets.
The motion will be debated by the Riel Community Committee on Tuesday.
Joyanne.pursaga(a)freepress.mb.ca Twitter: @joyanne_pursaga
Painted traffic calming measures are coming to various locations on Lyndale
Drive, Wellington Crescent, Kilkenny Drive, and Churchill Drive this month!
Local artists will be painting curb bump-outs, median islands, and
channelization of intersections to help further reduce speeds at a few
locations where traffic counts showed us vehicles are still travelling too
Watch for artists at work alongside some additional two-day traffic
restrictions in place to keep them safe while working. Follow
#paintthepavementwpg for updates and artist photos.
Improved bike infrastructure lacks connections
THE main problem with Winnipeg’s active transportation network isn’t so
much a shortage of bicycle routes throughout the city — it’s the lack of
connectivity between them.
Winnipeg has many shortcomings when it comes to cycling: a woeful lack of
protected bike lanes, poorly cleared and maintained routes, and a
car-centric culture that is often at odds with the development of a safe
and reliable network of bike corridors.
One of the most glaring weaknesses, however, is the patchwork of bike
routes in the city that are largely disconnected from each other. Many
designated routes end abruptly, leaving cyclists with no option but to
switch to regular roads in busy traffic, or ride illegally on sidewalks.
Public surveys have shown that a lack of well-connected, protected bike
routes is one of the top reasons more people don’t commute by bike.
The city has taken some steps to improve that connectivity. The most recent
announcement will see River and Stradbrook avenues in Osborne Village
fitted with one-way protected bike lanes in 2023. A two-way protected bike
lane will also be added on River from Bryce Street to Fort Rouge Park. It’s
good news, and it will expand the bike network in that area.
But it’s not enough. Similar bike routes have been constructed in other
neighbourhoods and, like Osborne Village, they are not connected to a
city-wide grid of cycling corridors. While they enhance active
transportation in those communities, they’re often disconnected from other
parts of the city.
Winnipeg has made significant progress over the past two decades in an
effort to become a more cycling-friendly city. There are many examples
where cyclists can travel long distances around Winnipeg on safe, reliable
routes, away from snarling traffic (although many are not well advertised).
But it’s hit and miss. Some areas of the city have good access to dedicated
bike routes, others have virtually none.
It’s particularly treacherous downtown, where cycling usually involves
riding on regular roads alongside less-than-accommodating drivers. It’s
hazardous, and few are willing to take the risk. The lack of protected
lanes in and around the core area discourages many from
commuting downtown by bike.
Cycling from Osborne Village to downtown, for example, typically means
crossing the Osborne Bridge alongside regular traffic, an adventure many
deem too dangerous (even in diamond lanes, which are shared with transit
There is a proposal to build a cycling/pedestrian bridge across the
Assiniboine River, from Fort Rouge Park to McFadyen Park. The proposed
bridge would connect to a protected bike path along Assiniboine Avenue,
which extends east to The Forks and west to the neighbourhoods of West
Broadway and Wolseley. It would connect several parts of the city and
significantly expand the bike network.
Unfortunately, the proposal is on the “unfunded” list of infrastructure
projects and its future is unknown. Active transportation gets a lot of lip
service from politicians, but at budget time, projects such as protected
bike paths and cycling/ pedestrian bridges tend to take a back seat to
Many Winnipeggers are willing to ditch their motor vehicles in favour of
active transportation. One only has to look at the hundreds of bikes parked
outside of Winnipeg Blue Bombers games at IG Field, or the many well-used,
caged-in bike storage facilities around the city, to see the public’s
desire to adopt a healthier and more environmentally friendly form of
When the city builds safe and reliable bike routes, people use them. It’s
time for city hall to make that a priority.
---------- Forwarded message ---------
From: info(a)pegcitycarcoop.ca <info(a)pegcitycarcoop.ca>
Date: Mon, Aug 15, 2022 at 12:01 PM
Subject: We're hiring a Member Services Coordinator!
Peg City Car Co-op is hiring a full-time Member Services Coordinator to
join our small but growing team!
Member Services is the first line of contact with our members and
community. The person who fills this dynamic position will maintain member
satisfaction, retention, and growth through consistent brand messaging and
quality member care. The role includes answering email and phone calls and
assisting with evening and weekend on-call duties, as well as
administrative tasks and record keeping.
To see the full job description and posting, click here
If you, or someone you know, are interested in being part of a growing
consumer co-op, please email a cover letter and resume to
hiring(a)pegcitycarcoop.ca and write *Member Services Hire* in the subject
line. The deadline to apply is *September 18, 2022, at 11:59 pm*. Only
those selected for interviews will be contacted.
Thanks for sharing this in your network!
*Member Services, Peg City Car Co-op*
204.793.3912 | info(a)pegcitycarcoop.ca
402-460 Main St, Winnipeg MB R3B1B6
Sharing the road (and cars) for more than 10 years.
*Province to fund projects to improve, develop trails *
THE provincial government will fund 30 projects to improve and develop
trails across Manitoba.
The province announced Friday it will spend nearly $970,000 on projects
approved through the Trails Manitoba grant program. The annual grant
program supports the development of new recreational trails, and
maintenance, enhancements and amenities for existing trails.
“This investment is being made in communities across the province,
benefitting all Manitobans as well as visitors here,” Trails Manitoba
president Erik Dickson said. “We’re very happy for this project.”
More than 70 non-profit groups and municipalities applied for trail funding
during the 2022 intake, Dickson said.
Assiniboine Forest will be among the first recipients, with a $50,000
investment in trail navigation enhancements and increased signage.
Other funded projects include the Wally Chryplywy Nature Park trail
enhancement in Beausejour, Squirrel Hills Trail Park in the Minnedosa area,
and the Victoria Park trail extension and stairs project in Souris.
Approved projects are expected to be completed within two years.
The funds, which come from a $10-million provincial investment, are
intended to support trails that facilitate both motorized and non-motorized
recreational activities. By 2025, half of the $10 million will finance
development projects, while the other half will remain in a longterm fund
to generate annual revenue and pay for ongoing maintenance and enhancements.
Trails Manitoba conducted a pair of province-wide surveys to decide which
projects would qualify for funding. It released its findings in a report
More than 2,000 people participated in the survey, with more than half
indicating they lived in Winnipeg. Respondents identified inadequate
signage as the most significant issue on Manitoba’s trails.
Climate and Parks Minister Jeff Wharton announced the funding alongside
Dickson and other stakeholders during a press event at Assiniboine Forest.
“Our government is committed to continued building, maintaining and
expanding the trails network,” Wharton said. “This report will help guide
the developments… across Manitoba for the years ahead.”
A full list of the 2022 grant recipients is available on the Trails
‘Not a great place for riding a bike’
*Osborne Village bike-lane plans a start, not solution: advocate*
MEL Marginet is the definition of an avid cyclist: she travels around
Winnipeg almost entirely by bike and spends her days working as a
sustainable transportation advocate.
Despite living in South Osborne, Marginet rarely visits Osborne Village —
the streets are too chaotic for her to feel safe on two wheels.
“There is no infrastructure, and there are so many vehicles, and they’re
just going so fast,” she said. “It’s not a great place for riding a bike.”
That’s likely to change next year; the city is beginning consultations on
protected bike lanes in the Village. Stakeholder meetings with Osborne
Village BIZ, Bike Winnipeg and small business owners in the area are
scheduled next week.
Chris Baker, a senior active transportation planner for the city, told the
Free Press two bike infrastructure projects are planned: a one-way
protected lane on River and Stradbrook avenues and two-way protected lanes
on River from Bryce Street to Fort Rouge Park. A walking and cycling bridge
connecting Fort Rouge and McFayden Parks is also being tabled.
The city plans to have the work done by next summer.
“It’s a pretty big step forward for the bike network,” said Mark Cohoe, the
executive director of Bike Winnipeg. “With protected bike lanes, we get an
opportunity to develop a network so you’re not in mixed traffic.”
Sherri Rollins, the city councillor for Fort Rouge-East Fort Garry, said
she’s among many in the area for whom bike safety is a top concern; she
suffered a significant knee injury while cycling on a busy road.
“The calls are twofold: slow down traffic for pedestrians, and make sure
things are safer for cyclists,” Rollins said.
She believes the protected lanes will enhance plans to revitalize the
Village and make it more pedestrian-friendly.
“Osborne Village BIZ welcomes the opportunity to develop a healthier
neighbourhood,” executive director Lindsay Somers said in a statement to the
Free Press, adding she looks forward to the consultation sessions with
local businesses next week to “develop a plan and path forward that is
satisfactory to all our needs.”
Marginet said the protected lanes in the east and west corridors of the
Village are a welcome addition but they won’t solve what she believes is
the main issue: Osborne Street itself.
Osborne Street is what Marginet describes as a “stroad”— somewhere between
a street and a road that has heavy traffic and is hostile to cyclists and
“Everything that’s really fun and interesting to go to is along Osborne,”
she said. “For me, living in South Osborne, new bike lanes won’t be
beneficial in any way because I would want to go straight up Osborne.”
Corydon resident Mia Duchamp recently got rid of her car to cycle full
time. To avoid busy routes in Osborne Village, she’ll often take side
streets to avoid narrow traffic lanes.
“If I’m going through the village, that Osborne underpass is not the best.
I try to go around it as much as I can, but it’s really frustrating and
there’s a lot of detours,” Duchamp said.
Through her work with the Green Action Centre, Marginet hears from many
Winnipeggers who want to commute actively, but feel the city lacks the
infrastructure to do so. “If you look at how people say they want to get
around, most people say they have no choice but to drive,” she said. “We
have to start prioritizing the comfort and safety of those who are getting
around in sustainable and healthy ways if we want to see any kind of
Rollins believes investing in bike infrastructure is connected to a greater
shift in consciousness in city planning.
“The project that’s going on in Osborne Village is a game-changer,” she
said. “It is that step forward to build a culture of, not only the
connectivity we need, but also the culture of a healthier, more sustainable