Cyclists showing one choice to make communities more livable

The personal health benefits of cycling are pretty clear, but how much good is it doing for the larger community?

I watch with unease as community groups with their particular agendas, attempt to pressure political candidates to make commitments to use public monies for particular causes.

A group of which I am a part, the cycling community, is one such group.

Is it reasonable to expect tax money to be spent improving infrastructure to what appears to be a relatively small proportion of the traffic using our roads? At first blush the answer would appear to be “No!”

However, as with most groups which try to influence public policy, the issues are complicated. My guess is that if we were to ask cyclists their reasons for choosing to bike, we would find that most would say that they choose to do so because it is healthy for themselves and the whole community.

The personal health benefits are pretty clear, but how much good is it doing for the larger community?

They might reply that our major roads are already getting quite congested and one more cyclist usually means one less car. Six bikes can use the parking space used by one car.

The wear on roads is minimal and with fewer cars, there would be no need for another very expensive vehicular bridge. Since there are about a thousand more motor vehicles coming into our Valley each year, there will be ever-increasing costs to upgrade the roads and bridges.

Bikes yield no harmful emissions and the greatest contribution to greenhouse gases in our valley are caused by cars.

People walking and using bikes works well where the commuting distances aren’t too great. City planners will tell you that it is getting prohibitively expensive to provide services such as water, sewer garbage pick up and transportation infrastructure as citizens move increasingly farther outside the core of the community.

The best solution is to encourage units housing more people in the heart of the community. Biking then really begins to make sense.

Recently, a preliminary proposal was made to Courtenay council to build a high-density rental housing complex in which each unit ranged from 303 to 350 square feet.

Council welcomed this proposal since it met the goals of low-income housing and increased density in the downtown core. This trend may be the only way to keep taxes from becoming prohibitively high.

So in a sense the cyclists’ pressure for safer and more efficient ways of commuting are serving the larger community. They are showing us one choice for helping to make our communities more livable, as pressures build on many fronts.

Our stumbling economy, increasingly expensive food, housing costs and pressure on our health care system are only some of the forces that will require us to rethink how we live.

Krista Kaptein usually writes Shifting Gears with contributions from fellow Comox Valley Cycling Coalition members Ed Schum and Jim Palmer. This month’s column is written by James Taylor.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Karilyn, right, with her older sister, Sabrina. Both siblings are members of the YANA family, after being helped by the community organization on separate occasions. Photo supplied
Siblings both members of the YANA family

Comox Valley non-profit helped Geiger family on separate occasions

A second-floor balcony continues to smoulder after a fire extinguisher was used to get a small balcony fire under control at the Washington Inn Apartments. Brian Hayward, who lives on the third floor, was alerted to the fire by the smell of smoke wafting into his apartment. Photo by Brian Hayward.
Courtenay firefighters respond to balcony fire at Washington Inn Apartments

Firefighters were called out to the Washington Inn Apartments Sunday, April 17,… Continue reading

RCMP forensics investigators scour the site north of Highland School in Comox, where multiple people were stabbed during a party Saturday night, April 16. Photo by Terry Farrell
UPDATED: Multiple stabbings at Comox bush party

Three youths hospitalized after an assault near Highland Secondary

Cumberland is surrounded by trees — and logging. Its council is supporting a call to stop old-growth logging in vulnerable areas of the province such as Fairy Creek. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Cumberland backs request to save B.C.’s old-growth forests

The Comox Youth Climate Council is asking local governments to take stand

Danita Bilozaze and her daughter Dani in Comox. Photo by Karen McKinnon
Valley woman makes historic name change for truth and reconciliation

First in Canada to be issued new passport under the TRC Calls to Action

In this image from NASA, NASA’s experimental Mars helicopter Ingenuity lands on the surface of Mars Monday, April 19, 2021. The little 4-pound helicopter rose from the dusty red surface into the thin Martian air Monday, achieving the first powered, controlled flight on another planet. (NASA via AP)
VIDEO: NASA’s Mars helicopter takes flight, 1st for another planet

The $85 million helicopter demo was considered high risk, yet high reward

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The following is a list of restaurants offering take-out and patio dining. ADOBE STOCK IMAGE
List of Comox Valley restaurants offering take-out, patio dining options

Restaurants in the Comox Valley continue to adapt to government-imposed restrictions in… Continue reading

Orca 1
Orcas: Our Shared Future finally surfaces at Royal B.C. Museum

Museum dives into the world of the killer whale as delayed feature exhibition now open

New figures show Canadian housing prices outpacing those in other developed countries. (Black Press Media file photo)
Canadian housing prices fastest rising in the world

Relative to 2000, housing prices have risen by a factor of more than 2.5

Polystyrene has been outlawed as a take-out option for restaurants in Tofino and Ucluelet. (Black Press Media file photo)
Styrofoam done as a takeout option on Island’s Pacific Rim

Tofino and Ucluelet ban polystyrene take-out containers

The IIO is investigating after a police dog bit a man during a traffic stop near Ladysmith on April 17, 2021. (Black Press Media stock photo)
IIO investigating after police dog bites man near Ladysmith

RCMP dog bit man during traffic stop on Friday, April 17

Most Read