In April, I attended the 2018 Ontario Bike Summit and was part of the 10th anniversary celebrations of the Share the Road Cycling Coalition.
In 2008, now Burlington MPP Eleanor McMahon kick started the Share the Road Cycling Coalition, following the cycling death of her husband, OPP Sergeant Greg Stobbard.
Travelling across North America and Europe, Eleanor was on a mission to learn from some of the most inspiring and successful cycling advocates and brought her learnings home. She has worked tirelessly with staff from various departments and municipalities across Ontario to improve the cycling infrastructure and culture so that everyone can enjoy the basic human right of riding their bicycle.
The Share the Road Cycling Coalition has brought the Bicycle Friendly Community award program to Ontario and now 70% of Ontarians live in a bike friendly community. A total of 72 municipalities have applied to be part of this community; Norfolk County being one of them. We haven’t received our designation yet but it’s our plan to submit again in October 2018 in pursuit of a bronze (or silver!) standing.
Won’t you join me in making Norfolk County a bike friendly community? And then let’s go for a ride!
Submitted by Michele Crowley, Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit
Happy 10th Birthday to Us!
This year, Pathways for People is celebrating 10 years of active, community engagement! In the early years, volunteers were keen to plan and host public events to promote local trails. Over the years, interests have expanded and members now take an active role in stakeholder consultations and advocacy initiatives to influence healthy public policies and environments that support active transportation, both locally and provincially.
Highlights from the last ten years include:
- Consultation on Norfolk County’s Active Transportation Strategy ~ 2016
- Development of an Advocacy Toolkit ~ 2015
- Creation of an online petition in support of paved shoulders as part of the reconstruction of the Long Point Causeway ~ 2015
- Introduction of the Share the Road project to Norfolk County ~ 2010
- Celebration of 2010 World Health Day with an OPen Streets event in Port Dover
- Collaboration with other community organizations and Norfolk County divisions
Volunteers will be attending Norfolk County Council on July 3rd to receive a certificate of recognition for their contributions to Norfolk County. Working with this amazing group has been a pleasure and I look forward to the next 10 years!
Submitted by Michele Crowley, Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit
June is Bike Month! Celebrate at the Squeaky Wheel Community Bike Fair
Join us on Saturday, June 2nd from 1-4pm at the Simcoe Lions Park, 75 Davis St East.
- Free helmets, lights and bells (while supplies last)
- Bike maintenance demos
- Bike safety inspections
- Bike seat adjustments
- Bike rodeo
- Guided rail trail rides
For information and schedule visit: www.norfolkpathways.ca
The Ministry of Transportation has recently released Action Plan 2.0, the second installment in the series of action plans for #CycleON: Ontario’s Cycling Strategy. The plan ensures a comprehensive approach to advance cycling in Ontario through five strategic directions:
- Design Healthy, Active and Prosperous Communities
- Improve Cycling Infrastructure
- Make Highways and Streets Safer
- Promote Cycling Awareness and Behavioural Shifts
- Increase Cycling Tourism Opportunities
To read the Action Plan, visit: #CycleON 2.0
Bikes and Trails are Good for Business
One of the actions undertaken by P4P for its 10th Anniversary was to introduce ourselves to BIAs and Chambers of Commerce across the county. They are now familiar with what we have done, are doing and will do. We were warmly received because we tailored our presentation to the economic benefits of being bike-friendly (bike tourists spend more than motor-tourists). We introduced Ontario by Bike as a free organization to promote bike-friendly businesses and the Bicycle Friendly Community (BFC) designation offered by Share the Road Coalition. Both were new news and good news.
This fall we will be applying for a BFC designation with the support of the county, senior staff and the area BIAs and chambers. To date, 72 municipalities have applied and 40 have received the designation. It is not a foregone conclusion for Norfolk County but a good bet considering the resources that we will present in our application. This includes the county’s Active Transportation Strategy, the highest ratio of paved roads in the province, our connection to the Trans Canada Trail, a successful Tour de Norfolk, our piece of the Great Lakes Waterfront Trail, 1,654kms of walking, hiking and cycling routes and trails (featuring 10 advertised cycling tours) and the little-known secret that Ride Norfolk is bike-friendly. Yes, you can ride your bike to any stop and when tired take the bus home.
It doesn’t take long for someone in business to realize that a Bicycle Friendly Community designation is good for business as is P4P.
Submitted by Frank Woodcock
Sharing the Road means Shared Responsibility
It is up to all users to keep everyone safe on Ontario roads.
Information for cyclists:
- Always signal your intentions at intersections and respect all traffic controls
- Be predictable, deliberate and consistent, but always safe while riding
- Ride straight and keep a safe distance of at least one metre from curbs or the road’s edge; watch for obstacles and hazards
- Use a white front light and red rear light if riding ½ hour before sunrise or sunset
- Avoid wearing earphones, texting or using a phone when riding
- Be alert, be heard and always ride sober
For more information, read: Cycling Skills: Ontario’s Guide to Safe Cycling
Information for drivers:
Cyclists are expected to ride about one metre from the curb or parked cars, or as close as practical to the right-hand edge of the road. However, they can use any part of the lane if needed to:
- Avoid obstacles such as puddles, ice, sand, debris, rutted or grooved pavement, potholes and sewer grates
- Discourage passing where the lane is too narrow to be shared safely
- Cross railway or streetcar tracks
The One Metre Law (2015)
- When passing a cyclist, drivers of motor vehicles are required to maintain a minimum distance of one metre between their vehicle and the cyclist. Failure to comply may result in fines of $500 and two demerit points on the driver’s record.
Locally, most roads allow for drivers to straddle the centre line while passing and still give that one metre of space that protects cyclists. If there are oncoming vehicles, the passing driver must slow to the speed of the cyclist(s), until it is possible to safely pass. Drivers should never try to “thread the needle” or squeeze by, forcing cyclists to leave the paved surface of the road.
Many drivers in Norfolk County were already sharing the road before the law’s enactment. Others may find the following advice useful.
- Never pass a cyclist(s) too close to an intersection (relates to the one metre law)
- Avoid use of the car’s horn unless well back from the cyclist(s). Horns startle cyclists
Common sense, patience and one meter will go a long way to saving lives.
Source: MTO Driver’s Handbook
Submitted by Rob Martin
Waterford Heritage Trail
The annual clean-up went very well even though Mother Nature wanted to keep us cool. We picked up garbage, pulled some stumps, found a black porcelain toilet dumped off one of the fishing piers and set up a gate and barrier to control traffic heading west beyond the fishing area. Harold Sonnenberg brought his tractor; Doug Gatward had a tractor with backhoe and front end loader courtesy of Norfolk Disposal who also donated a dumpster. One of the environmental heroes of the day was Dave Lapierre who submerged to the waist in order to hoist out a water-sodden couch from Rainbow Lake across from Camp Trillium. Thanks everyone for your help, the community appreciates your work.
Submitted by Frank Woodcock
Turkey Point Mountain Bike Club
L.O.S.T. (Ladies On Single Track) 5th Annual Sip ’n Learn
On May 10th, TPMBC’s ladies group hosted their annual introduction to mountain biking for female riders exclusively. This year, the L.O.S.T.ladies saluted women on bikes! Freedom on two wheels… wherever it takes you. The event featured 12 guest speakers (11 female and one male), each related their personal stories, experiences and trials on a mountain bike. A fantastic evening as 60 female riders participated. On behalf of TPMBC, a big thank you to L.O.S.T.organizers and all sponsors who provided a bevy of door prizes.
TPMBC 8th Annual Spring Kicker Bike Demo Day
It was a beautiful day as spring finally arrived on April 22nd, just in time (there was snow on the trails 6 days prior to the event and organisers were worried). 222 people attended the event and took the opportunity to test ride the latest 2018 models supplied by our exhibitors – 15 vendors were on hand. The event was staged from Long Point Eco-Adventures with cyclists coming from across Ontario.
Admission to the event was free. All prizes were donated by vendors and raised $774, which will be invested back into the trail network infrastructure.
Most participants had favourable comments for the event and our trail network. I would like to offer a huge shout out to everyone who attended and many thanks to all of our volunteers, exhibitors, and supporters who made the event such a great success.
Submitted by Rob Luke, TPMBC President
Lynn Valley Trail Association
Celebrating 25 Years of the Lynn Valley Trail
From the Port Dover Maple Leaf – by Donna McMillan
Port Doverite Paul Beischlag enjoys using the Lynn Valley Trail for biking. “It’s shady and quiet. You can listen to the birds and see the occasional deer. I stop at every bridge to listen to the water. And I meet a lot of interesting people on the trail,” the President of the Lynn Valley Trail Association told the Maple Leaf. “It’s a gem. A beautiful trail.”
Charlie Upshall, also of Port Dover and a Director on the LVTA Executive, uses the trail as a training pathway for his ultra-running passion. “You can step out of an urbanized environment at both the Port Dover and Simcoe ends and be in nature in a matter of minutes,” he said. “It’s fabulous. It is so good for the body and the mind.”
Both men pointed out that the trail isn’t technical, so it is suitable for all ages to enjoy. And, for those who wish, the Lynn Valley Trail, which stretches 10 km from Silver Lake Park in Port Dover to Memorial Park in Simcoe, is a connector for those who want to travel on to Waterford, Brantford, Paris, Cambridge, Ancaster, Delhi and more. And while not maintained in the winter, the trail is used year round for everything from walking, biking, dog walking, birding, photography, running, charity drives, nature studies, cross country skiing, snow shoeing and more. “On a good weekend, a thousand people could be on it,” Paul said. He noted organized hiking and biking groups come from afar to use the trail.
There is an economic spin-off for Norfolk County when visitors travel here to use the trail, Paul shared. Now, Norfolk County promotes the trail as part of their tourism package, and real estate companies will mention if listed houses back onto the trail. “It adds value,” Charlie said. Paul shared that Mark Boerkamp of Norfolk County kept a counter on the trail in several places and estimated the weekly average of trail use from May through October is 1000.
May 5th marked the 25th Anniversary of the trail. The Lynn Valley Trail is located on a former CNR rail line. Before the CNR, the Lake Huron and Port Dover Railway followed the pioneer river trail, being established in 1873. The rail line was abandoned in 1988 and subsequently purchased by the Haldimand – Norfolk Region as a potential utilities corridor in 1991. The Lynn Valley Trail Association was formed in 1988 as a lobby group to promote the preservation of the route as a multipurpose corridor to include hiking and cycling. At the time, there was some debate regarding interest in developing such a trail. In May 1993, the Lynn Valley Trail was officially opened.
The trail is owned by Norfolk County, Paul explained, but the LVTA are its caretakers. It is maintained by an army of dedicated volunteers, some official and some unofficial, and financed by donations and trail memberships. While there are many users of the trail, paid memberships are at 180, Paul said. “We would love to have 300. It’s only $10 per family. It’s an awareness thing.” Their budget is about $8000. The County and volunteers, including trail neighbours, help with grass cutting and tree removal. The LVTA has a number of special projects for this year [see website for details].
Presidents over the years have included: Chris Lee (1989 – 1993); Al Robinson (1994 – 1995); Jim Oliver (1996 – 1997); Brent McKay (1998 – 1999); Kevin Lichach (2000 – 2001); Gord Pennington (2002 – 2006); Rob Luke (2007 – 2008); Paul Cunningham (2009 – 2011); Paul Beischlag (2012 – present).
If you are not yet a member…
Consider purchasing a membership or making a donation to help keep the trail safe, beautiful and accessible. Join and / or donate at www.lynnvalleytrail.com/donate