Bikes at school on September 25, 2013
As part of the Youth Bike Summit's "Youth in Action" Panel, representatives from Craig Kielburger Secondary School (CKSS) presented their innovative "valet bike parking" system. Bike parking spaces at the school are numbered and assigned to students who cycle to school. The bike valet provides cyclists with a convenient and consistent place to park their bike, while also promoting cycling as a viable means of transportation for the trip to school.
With bike valet, grade nine students arriving at our school for the first time have a space of their own. It's very welcoming. - Geoff Sheppard, teacher
CKSS students have also been challenged to bike to school at least 25 times during the school year. To track cycling habits, each student is given a bike tag to place on their bikes. The bike tag allows students in the life skills class to easily track who has biked to school each day, minimizing the amount of staff time usually required for challenges like this one. Great idea!
And it doesn't stop there! On September 25th, students and teachers organized Bike Day 200. The goal of the day was to have more than 200 students bike to school and set an Ontario High School record for cycling. Students who biked to school were welcomed by community supporters, including Share the Road Cycling Coalition, Mill Town Cycle, Spokes and Slopes and the Town of Milton. Cyclists were invited to stay outside past the morning bell and enjoy snacks in the yard, while their peers started class. It was a small gesture that meant a lot to participating students.158 students biked to school that day, a huge accomplishment! CKSS is keen to break 200 cyclists in the Spring. We're cheering for you.
A primary objective of the Youth Bike Summit is to empower youth to enact change in their own communities. A presentation delivered by Justin Jones of Yes We Cannon (and Share the Road) did just that, by outlining their 3 key steps to a successful advocacy campaign:
- Do your research and build support!
- Stay positive, sell a vision of a better future!
- Define a short, achievable timeline and stick to it. Pilot projects are your friend!
Launched in May, Yes We Cannon is a grassroots movement focused on petitioning Hamilton's City Council to improve cyclist and pedestrian safety in the lower city by taking one simple step: creating a bi-directional bike lane, running the full length of Cannon Street by 2015. Throughout their campaign, organizers used research, engaging community events and momentum around the upcoming Pan Am Games and recently approved bike share system to encourage more than 2000 residents to sign their online petition. Within 4 months, the bikes lanes were unanimously approved by Council!
Crucial aspects of the campaign highlighted by Justin include;
Research - The Yes We Cannon project requested traffic volume statistics from the City to highlight that travel times for motor vehicles would remain close to the same with the installation of bike lanes.
Stay Positive - Partnering with the local community and representatives from the 10 local schools who could benefit from the bike lane helped to keep a positive momentum around the initiative and highlight what the entire community stood to gain from the bike lanes.
Achievable Goals - The short timeframe of the campaign (linked to the upcoming re-surfacing of Cannon street) provided clear deadlines for advocates and decision makers.
The energetic presentation provided summit participants with clear and manageable steps that can be applied to local advocacy initiatives in their community, as well as a sense of optimism about the growing support for cycling in Ontario. To learn more, click here to check out Justin's Prezi.
It's true - students at Central Commerce Collegiate learn bike mechanics during a for-credit co-op course! And, thanks to partnerships with CultureLink Settlement Services, Cycle Toronto, The Toronto Cycling Think & Do Tank and Evergreen, students graduate from the course with a bike to ride home that they have built themselves. As students of the course presented their story during our "Youth in Action" Panel, audience members wondered how to make courses like this one accessible to students across the province.
Summit participants replace a bike tire with help from our partners at the CAA.
The positive impact of in-school bike programs reaches beyond learning to build a bike. The school also offers a bike club where first time & long time riders bike together in a comfortable setting. One participant spoke about how she was nervous about cycling on city streets until she tried it as part of the group.
The bike club has also provided students with the opportunity to reach out to local decision makers. Students at the school have attended City Council meetings to speak about the importance of cycling as a mode of transportation for Ontario's youth.
Thank-you to students and teachers at Central Commerce Collegiate, Cycle Toronto and CultureLink for joining us Sunday to share your success. It is encouraging to see that courses like this are possible with the right partnerships.
Youth from across the province recently gathered in Toronto for Ontario's first Youth Bike Summit. The event, hosted by the Share the Road Cycling Coalition, was an opportunity for high school students to learn from cycling experts, discuss effective advocacy strategies and have fun together on bikes! To conclude the two day summit, youth leaders presented their vision for a bicycle-friendly Ontario to MPPs at Queen's Park, including;
- Implementation of #CycleON, Ontario's first Cycling Strategy update in 21 years;
- A provincial strategy for Active School Travel that would require each school to file a School Travel Plan that provides students with a variety of options for the trip to school;
- More cycling routes to take people places they want to go;
- Investments in cycling education programs across the province that empower cyclists, enhance their confidence and encourage them to ride more often, and;
- Stronger laws to protect cyclists, such as a one metre passing law and legislation to toughen penalties for issues such as "dooring".
When we ride to school, to visit friends, to spend time with our families, we are engaging in an activity that is great for our health, has zero emissions and is low cost. The cost of doing nothing by comparison is significant.
- Justice Betty and Akehil Johnson, Co-Chairs, Youth Advisory Committee
Stay tuned for more exciting updates from the summit!
This just in: Youth Bike Summit participants will be eligible to win a trip for two on the 2014 Great Waterfront Trail Adventure (GWTA)! This prize package (valued at over $1,200) has been generously donated by our partners at CAA and the Waterfront Regeneration Trust and will be awarded during our MPP Reception on Monday night.
This annual cycling holiday follows a mostly on-road route along Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. In 2013, participants visited 27 communities over 7 days. Youth cyclists from the 2013 GWTA will be presenting at the summit on how this multi-day cycling adventure allowed them to discover Ontario from a two-wheeled perspective and spark a life-long love of cycling.Register for the summit now for your chance to learn more and win!
Share the Road is pleased to announce our keynote speaker for the Youth Bike Summit: Kelly Lovell! Kelly is a motivational speaker and CEO of the Kelly Effect
. We are excited to be working with Kelly to share her message of persistence, optimism and the potential of Canadian youth.
Check out Kelley's TEDx Talk (below) entitled "Stop Listening to the "No's"" and engage with her in person by attending the Youth Bike Summit in Toronto, October 6 & 7th. You can register today
Last week, Share the Road Cycling Coalition hosted the annual Ontario Bike Summit in Toronto. The two-day event brought professionals, volunteers and elected officials together to talk about improving cycling conditions in Ontario. New design guidelines for bike facilities were discussed and enhancements to the Driver’s Handbook were outlined. We talked about bike-friendly business districts and were wowed by the bike fashion show organized by Momentum Magazine. Among the many ambitious topics covered at the summit was “The Future of Cycling”, which is what exactly?
On hand to share their thoughts were Carole Suarez and Nameh Dhawan, two high school students from the Toronto area. Carole and Nameh attended the summit as representatives of the Advisory Committee for Share the Road’s upcoming Youth Bike Summit. They delivered two presentations that book-ended the summit’s second day. In the morning, they signed the pledge to Ride & Drive with Care
alongside Ontario’s Minister of Transportation, the Honourable Glen Murray. They also spoke about why it’s important to encourage young people to ride their bikes.
“I’ve been biking since I was about 5” says Carole. “I’ve noticed that fewer and fewer youth know how to ride a bike properly on busy roads and that some are afraid of biking. I would like more youth to be aware of the benefits of biking and experience that feeling of freedom.”
Carole Suarez and Nameh Dhawan join Minister Murray in signing the pledge to Ride and Drive with Care.
Photo by: Cosette Schulz
In the afternoon, Carole and Nameh were joined by CanadaWalks
, Maximum City
and Share the Road
on a youth-focused panel. Each group presented on projects currently underway to engage youth in cycling.
· Jacky Kennedy highlighted the low rate of cycling among youth. Less than 1% of students surveyed in Ottawa
bike to school, despite 79% of them having access to a bicycle. Of the students who drive, or are driven, to school, 72% live close enough to walk or bike (within 3km).
· In an effort to change that, the Maximum City program offers students a chance to try cycling as part of the curriculum. After completing a basic cycling workshop and riding their bikes as a group, students feel more confident, and their parents gain peace of mind. Maximum City graduates have been spotted around town on their bikes, and they are often joined by friends that they have convinced to join them on two wheels.
· Recognizing that most Ontario residents are both cyclists and drivers, Share the Road has launched the Ride & Drive with Care program to educate students on how to safely share the road.
The Ontario Bike Summit provided Carole and Nameh with lots of ideas about what they would like to see at the Youth Bike Summit in October. For Nameh, one of the most important aspects of the summit will be the chance for youth to learn about cycling advocacy and interact with others who are involved. Carole points out how often presenters at the Ontario Bike Summit talked about communication
, both between drivers and cyclists, and people and the government and she hopes that it will be a central message during the Youth Bike Summit too.
There is always room for improvement in terms of education and infrastructure, but after meeting Nameh and Carole, and learning about the youth-focused projects underway in Ontario, it feels like the future of cycling will be very bright.
"When two people on bicycles meet, they meet as human beings" - Enrique Penalosa, former Mayor of Bogota and 2013 Keynote Speaker
Over the long weekend we participated in the 2013 NYC Youth Bike Summit. This year marks the third time that this youth-focused event has been organized by Recycle-A-Bicycle and it attracted 379 youth and adults from 22 states and 4 countries. The successful event has been growing every year and sees many youth return annually to share the projects that they have initiated and participated in. With our own Ontario Youth Bike Summit coming up in October, we wanted to learn from the experts and meet the participants who make the event an annual staple on their calendar.
"I felt welcome" - Girls Bike Club Member (West Town Bikes, Chicago)
Youth played an important role in organizing and facilitating the summit. Many of the workshops were led by youth and one of the keynote speakers was 17-year-old Devlyn Chen who delivered an excellent address outlining all of the "firsts" that she had experienced because of bicycling. She was joined by former Mayor of Bogota Enrique Penalosa, who talked about the bicycle as a tool for equality and happiness. Both keynote speakers brought the audience to their feet with applause.
"Cities give more space to parked cars than to bicycles and pedestrians" - Enrique Penalosa
Workshop highlights included a hands on city-building workshop, a session on youth in governance and presentations by West Town Bikes
. Under the guidance of the NYC Department of Transportation
and the Museum of the City of NY
, participants worked together to build a transportation system for a fictional city. The exercise elicited spirited discussions and produced cities filled with complete streets, pedestrian and cyclist-only areas and even a gondola. In the afternoon, youth from West Town Bikes wowed audiences with their presentations on the Girls Bike Club and on creating economic opportunities for youth through bicycling. In the last workshop of the day, youth representatives from the Seattle BikeWorks
Board of Directors facilitated a discussion on how organizations can successfully incorporate youth into their governance structure.
"[There is a difference between] allowing youth to participate within the existing structure of an organization and enabling youth to shape that structure" - Seattle BikeWorks
A big thank-you to everyone at Recycle-A-Bicycle, The New School
, and to all of the summit sponsors for bringing this inspiring event to life. We learned a lot over our three days in NYC and hope to foster the same atmosphere of inclusiveness, excitement and engagement at Ontario's first Youth Bike Summit on Oct 6-7, 2013!
"If you want a more bike-friendly world, get organized and participate in politics"
- Enrique Penalosa
New Hope Community Bikes is launching Learn to Mountain Bike sessions in Hamilton after schools in May and June for youth between 12 and 16 years of age. Could be a a fun way to learn the sport. Click here to find out more details.Does your community have any interesting initiatives that get you out riding in groups? Learning a new type of cycling?
Newly built Craig Keilburger Secondary School in Milton opened its doors on September 2012. The new school has rows of bike racks that fill up daily- if you build it, they will ride! A lack of bike racks and safe places to lock your bike are often reasons someone doesn't ride to school or work.
Make it easy with the following tips:
- install bike racks (contact your local municipality or a rack manufacturer to see if they offer donations/ discounts for schools)
- place racks in a visible area that will deter theft. Outside a classroom/the main office is a good idea.
- Think about how students will access the bike racks and make sure the there aren't potential conflicts with vehicles or pedestrians
- promote the installation of racks to students via announcements and posters (if no one knows they are there, how can they use them)
-offer incentives for students who use them
Mr. Sheppard, a teacher at Craig Keilburger keeps a daily tally of the number of bikes showing up each day and says they average around 30. Is your high school doing great things to encourage cycling? Let us know.