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.

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