PictureBikes 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 CoalitionMill Town CycleSpokes 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:
  1. Do your research and build support!
  2. Stay positive, sell a vision of a better future!
  3. 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!