Whitehorse Daily Star

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Jocelyn Land-Murphy and Forest Pearson

Budget has little for cyclists, council told

The city’s proposed capital budget for 2020 lacks a commitment to cyclists, city council heard at its meeting Monday evening.

By Chuck Tobin on November 26, 2019

The city’s proposed capital budget for 2020 lacks a commitment to cyclists, city council heard at its meeting Monday evening.

Forest Pearson of the Whitehorse Urban Cycling Coalition appeared before council to suggest there is insufficient commitment in next year’s budget to advance a connected network of bicycle lanes to encourage cycling as a means of fundamental transportation.

For 70 years, the city has been building the community around vehicle transportation, he pointed out.

It’s time, Pearson insisted, to address the inequity and start accommodating those citizens who prefer to cycle, whether it be for economic reasons or personal choice.

Pearson said the benefits of promoting active transportation are many, and they are substantial, and not just for the physical fitness and health care aspect.

The city, he reminded council, has just declared a climate emergency, and promoting more cycling is a vote for the environment.

From an infrastructure point of view, building and maintaining a network of bicycle lanes and paths is a fraction of the cost of maintaining roadways for cars and trucks, he said.

Pearson said employees who bike to work have an absentee rate that is far below their colleagues who don’t while their productivity is noticeably higher.

From an economic perspective, cyclists spend more money in local businesses, he said.

“Cycling just makes good business sense for the city.”

Pearson said with all the benefits of cycling, there still remains a lack of commitment in the 2020 budget to build a better network.

There remain barriers in place that discourage more cycling, he said, suggesting a lack of connected lanes and trails can make people uncomfortable if they have to cycle in close proximity to vehicles.

Pearson pointed out the city needs to make a greater financial commitment to promoting cycling.

Most of the city’s capital budget comes from the federal government in any case, so it’s a matter of the city ensuring there is the capacity to access that money, he said.

The capital budget of $7.5 million received first reading on Nov. 12. Second and third readings are scheduled for Dec. 9.

Council is also scheduled on Dec. 9 to introduce its proposed operation and maintenance budget for 2020.

There is nothing in the capital budget that speaks to the network of bicycle lanes and paths.

Jocelyn Land-Murphy told council Monday there is no commitment, not even a mention, in the budget to implement the Bicycle Network Plan adopted by city council in June 2018.

The city’s transportation plan of 2014 does authorize the use of the city’s parking reserve to advance a network of cycling infrastructure, and there is funding available from the federal gas tax fund, she reminded council.

But yet, she emphasized, there’s nothing in the budget for the cycling community.

Land-Murphy and others – mostly young students – appeared before council earlier this month to lobby for a greater and safer network of connected bike paths.

Several of the youth bike to school every day from the Takhini subdivision down to École Whitehorse Elementary School, with Land-Murphy as one of the lead guides. They call themselves the bike bus.

They told council the city needs to improve its network for cyclists, and they’ve begun an on-line petition to support their case.

The petition calls on the city to develop a specific timeline by 2022 for implementing the priority items identified in the Bicycle Network Plan.

Land-Murphy told council the petition has received support from more than 2,300 signatories as of Monday.

The lead cyclist for the bike bus emphasized a connected network is necessary to improve safety.

In addition to lacking a financial commitment to the network, the budget doesn’t even have a line item to at least serve as a place holder in the budget forecast going forward to the end of 2022, Land-Murphy said.

With no money, she said, it’s not possible to fulfill the promises in the Bicycle Network Plan.

Comments (37)

Up 2 Down 0

Just wondering... on Dec 2, 2019 at 5:22 pm

When will the city require license, registration, and insurance for E-bikes?
They are motorized vehicles.

Up 7 Down 5

Davis on Dec 2, 2019 at 10:54 am

@Obi - Although i suspect you are being sarcastic, cross country skiing to and from work is actually a great idea! It would require extremely little effort on behalf of the City - instead of plowing and graveling the bike paths all winter just drive on them with a snowmachine to pack them down to allowing skiing! We spend all winter trying to fight the snow, why not just embrace it and actually become a true "wilderness city"?! Won't change anything for bikers, everyone already has fat bikes these days which are literally designed to ride on packed snow trails.

Up 12 Down 0

Bandit on Dec 2, 2019 at 9:07 am

@ Annoying Cyclist
In defense of Mark Vigneau, Prior to moving here in the mid-seventies I lived in Calgary and you were required to license bicycles. I can't recall the cost but you were provided a small oval license plate with a hole in the middle and it was to be displayed on the front left axle.

Up 14 Down 2

Share the paths on Dec 1, 2019 at 10:28 am

Not sure why all this noise about bike only road system. If one imagines the cost to build and maintain something like this for 12 months of the year and divide it by number of cyclists that use it year round it would make your head spin. We winter in Phoenix, Arizona and they have canals running through the city. There is a paved or concrete pathway all along with crossing lights at major roadways. They seem to manage to share with walkers, joggers, cyclists and even horses. No centre line, just common sense. But for some reason our millennial trail cannot be shared. Cyclists say they are going too fast to be grouped in with pedestrians. That’s just being ignorant, practice a little courtesy. I also don’t understand why cyclists are made to ride with their backs to traffic. Would it not be safer riding facing on coming traffic?

Up 22 Down 4

Obi on Dec 1, 2019 at 3:23 am

Dear Annoying Cyclist,
I have 5 friends that want to cross country ski to and from work all summer.
Do you think the city might build us some designated paths, with artificial snow?
These people want to take their cars off the roads, to help with this climate change thing.....

Up 11 Down 4

Atom on Nov 29, 2019 at 7:46 pm

There you have it! Cyclists for Mayor!
Let's have a picnic too!

Up 10 Down 31

Annoying Cyclist on Nov 29, 2019 at 3:39 pm

@Mark Vigneau - name one single province or jurisdiction that requires cyclists to 'plate' their bikes. Have you ever even left Whitehorse? This simply does not exist. Wake up.
Again, the fiscally responsible, 'we can't afford' this cyclist-hating crowd can't see the forest for the trees. Detailed studies prove that for every kilometer cycled, taxpayers actually SAVE money that the government would otherwise spend on growing healthcare costs, road maintenance, traffic enforcement, etc etc. (https://www.sharetheroad.ca/what-are-the-financial-benefits-of-cycling--s16222) Most will simply say 'bs leftwing media' or some tired troupe. But, these are facts. And the reason people can't comprehend them is simply because they are biased and don't like cyclists and are weirdly obsessed with their vehicles. What are we spending to twin the AK Hwy for all you car-loving couch dwellers? Cyclists will pay far more to subsidize your motoring 'lifestyle' - if you can even call it that - then vice versa. If anyone is a 'civic parasite', its motorists who take a disproportionate toll on infrastructure, law enforcement, our healthcare system, and the environment. Not the cyclists.

Up 7 Down 29

Davis on Nov 29, 2019 at 2:22 pm

Great work Forest, I totally agree! Whse desperately needs upgrades to it's bike path network!

Up 35 Down 5

This isn't Vancouver or Victoria - thanks! on Nov 29, 2019 at 1:48 pm

Typical complaining from people who moved here and want to make here like where they moved from, and from people who lived abroad in densely populated urban areas. Do you think that this approach will work here, a sparsely populated small town where going from Riverdale to Crestview is a 13km drive with big elevation gains. Please explain how Whitehorse with a tax payer base of about 20,000 people can somehow spare money for something that would be used by less than 1% of the population daily. I respect your opinions but don't force your agenda on everyone. Thank you.

Up 24 Down 1

Bandit on Nov 29, 2019 at 1:25 pm

I agree, those commercials were HILARIOUS and yes back in the day those who were cycling in the winter were either a Cheechako or they lost their license.

Up 30 Down 5

Obi on Nov 29, 2019 at 11:36 am

Hey daily driver!
I’ll tell you what’s a no brainer, riding a bike on our roads in the winter time, when we have slippery roads, ice fog, and rush hour traffic.
I would like to know the exact number of organ donor cyclists we have in Whitehorse that ride their bikes daily to and from work, in the wintertime. And what the cost to taxpayers would be to build designated bike paths, and the cost to continuously keep them plowed for their use.

Divide those two figures, and then let’s see what the per person cost will be to implement this stupidity.
Time for our cyclists to start fundraising! It is your right to cycle, but it is also the right of the majority of taxpayers to say no to your plans, when we have a lot more important things to spend the money on....

Up 22 Down 4

Anie on Nov 29, 2019 at 11:04 am

Daily Driver, riding a bicycle is most certainly not a basic human right. Basic transportation is also not a human right. But, in most cases, two legs provide transportation. Bicycles were licensed where I grew up. Maybe it's a good idea, maybe it isn't, But let's try to discuss it without making statements that are just not true.

Up 4 Down 18

Politico on Nov 28, 2019 at 11:25 pm

@Mark Vigneau Obviously you haven't read any of the comments in this thread or previous go rounds about cyclists and road financing.
I will say it one more time. Gas taxes do not finance roads or maintenance.
All government revenues go into a GOA, everything is financed out of that. So even bike riders pay to finance roads.
On top of which, how much damage does 100 or so bike riders do to the roads compared to the 30,000 or so cars and trucks on them every day.
You complain about 100 bike riders not using proper signals but every day I see 100s of car drivers breaking every law in the book but bikers are the real danger, right?
The day all car drivers learn to drive is the day all bikers will obey the law.
Like that will ever happen.

Up 5 Down 42

Daily driver on Nov 28, 2019 at 4:26 pm

Bicycles will never be subjected to mandatory insurance and plates simply because that would violate the basic human right of riding a bicycle. Not everyone can afford a car so bicycles need to be accessible to everyone for basic transportation. Every one has a right to ride a bicycle; however, driving is a privilege.

Drivers are screaming about cyclists on the road, pedestrians are screaming about cyclists on the sidewalk...the simplest and safest solution is to build separate bike lanes. No brainer.

Up 6 Down 29

Politico on Nov 28, 2019 at 3:08 pm

@Bandit - English as a first language is so hard, maybe that's why most car drivers never read the drivers manual.
If a bicyclist has insurance, standard practice is that there is a deductible before the insurance kicks in. They usually range from $500 on up.
If a cyclist hits your vehicle they will not worry about the cost because they will be wondering if they will ever recover from their injuries.
Meanwhile, as the car driver, you can skip away and say how dangerous those bikers are.
@M Mr M - No I do not drive a bicycle. Weird you would jump to a conclusion like that but like most drivers you feel if they are not for you they are agin u!.
I do drive a motorcycle however and I do consider most drivers on the road a hazard and a danger.

Up 30 Down 3

Mark Vigneau on Nov 28, 2019 at 2:24 pm

If cyclist would like to use the road ways maybe they would like to help pay for road repairs and line painting. Most provinces now require to purchase a licence plate for their bike to drive on the roadways. Upon purchasing a plate for their bike there is a small test to see if you know the rules of the road. eg. Proper hand signals for stopping, right turn, left turn, what the different color lights mean. Why should us motorist have to pay for special line painting cyclist.
I have been cut off many times by cyclist cutting in front of me and we are expected to stop on a dime. Where is the cyclist responsibility for all the allowances for them. By purchasing a plate for your bike you also can be identified for breaking the rules of the road. Cyclist want all these special previsions for them but are not willing to pay a small fee for them. Road repairs cost money so does special line painting for the roads (cyclist lanes). They do not give a drivers licence if you don't know the rules of the road. Just because you drive a bicycle in the bike lanes doesn't mean you know the rules of the road.

Up 34 Down 3

Yukoner71 on Nov 28, 2019 at 11:55 am

I remember in the 90’s a local brewing company used to air the funniest radio commercial about driving and coming across a bicycle riding through the ice fog and wondering what the H—— was that? The entire commercial was hilarious from start to finish but I’ll bet in today’s perpetually offended hurt feelings world there’s no way they could run an ad of that type. Bicycling in winter was a joke to people who lived here, a sure sign that someone was a Cheechako.

Up 34 Down 2

Bandit on Nov 28, 2019 at 11:35 am

"Liability insurance. If a bike hits your car the deductible would cover the damage." So if a bike hits my vehicle MY deductible should cover it??? Why should it cost me a red cent? Give your head a shake.

Up 27 Down 4

Mr M on Nov 28, 2019 at 8:56 am

@ Politico
You must be one of those entitled bike riders that think you own the road.

Up 27 Down 3

Atom on Nov 28, 2019 at 8:50 am

@annoying cyc.....folks who don't exercise need someone to help them see the benefits of physical activity.....not have them forced onto a bicycle as their salvation.
As well, not all folks live in Takhini where you can coast downtown to work everyday.
If you keep looking down your nose at everyone who doesn't ride their bicycle to work, you may run into something. Take care.

Up 18 Down 3

Anie on Nov 28, 2019 at 1:50 am

Gheez Anonymous Cyclist, do you really need to stereotype an entire generation? Without civil discussion, we are unlikely to find solutions. Insults will probably stop me from listening, and perhaps you have something useful to say.

Up 9 Down 27

Miles Epanhauser on Nov 27, 2019 at 7:51 pm

Lots of intolerant people here.
Bikers want safety and a safe trail network funded by the city which is not too much to ask.

Based on comments here many drivers seem to hate bikers which reinforces the desire to get bikes off the roads.

Up 36 Down 5

Door A Biker Day on Nov 27, 2019 at 6:11 pm

How do these bicyclists get such a sense of self righteousness and entitlement while simultaneously passing judgement on everyone else?

Up 37 Down 2

Nicky on Nov 27, 2019 at 5:18 pm

Too many bicycle riders act like they believe their hobby entitles them to special treatment because they think they're 'saving the world' by not using petrol power.
They're not entitled, and can go stand in line with every other special interest group begging for a bigger slice of taxpayer pie.
The CoW should license bicycles with a highly visible license tag and use the funds from that registration fee to maintain and improve bicycle infrastructure.

Up 35 Down 4

Anie on Nov 27, 2019 at 3:42 pm

"From an economic perspective, cyclists spend more money in local businesses, he said."
Let's see - buying a veggie sand which for lunch maybe once a week somehow equates to "more money locally" than buying gas at Yukon Tire".

Maybe people in cars drive to, god knows where, to buy stuff?
You'd have to be pretty naive to give any credibility to anything else he said. Why didn't he just make his point without saying something so silly?

Up 10 Down 48

Annoying Cyclist on Nov 27, 2019 at 3:25 pm

"Public Health of Canada has reported that in 2017, 64% of Canadians over the age of 18 are overweight or obese, and about 30% of children aged 5-17 are overweight or obese."
You know what IS really annoying? Cyclists and other active people having to pay the massive healthcare costs for the lazy boomer and F150-loving class. Do the next generation a favor and help enable healthy, active transport so my kids won't be faced with the same dilemma of having to pay the outrageous healthcare bills arising from your laziness and resulting heart disease, diabetes, osteoarthritis, strokes, etc. We really are insulated from reality up here, with the bogus commentary from the sedentary, paunchy, motoring masses. Give your heads a shake.

Up 13 Down 35

Politico on Nov 27, 2019 at 1:08 pm

@Duke - Cyclist pay taxes like everyone else.
@Mathew - Cyclist travel much faster than pedestrians, keep them separate.
@Mr M - Road tax? No such thing. Roads are financed out of the GOA, we all pay into that.
@Dave - Liability insurance. If a bike hits your car the deductible would cover the damage.
Two bikes on the road in the morning. Yet drivers talking on the phone, drinking coffee, speeding, running stop signs, running red lights and failing to yield to pedestrians in cross walks feel they are being hard done by.

Oh and @Normal Truck driver, remember bicycles came before cars and trucks

Up 16 Down 25

David on Nov 27, 2019 at 12:07 pm

I agree as well. Whitehorse really needs improvements to the bike path network, it's dangerous trying to ride to and from work.

Up 45 Down 12

Normal Truck driver on Nov 27, 2019 at 9:12 am

Please build these trails to keep the annoying cyclists off the roadways. They are a hazard to themselves and to motorists.

Up 57 Down 9

Dave on Nov 27, 2019 at 7:44 am

I agree, it’s time to address the inequity concerning bicycles that has been going on for far to long. Bicycles operated on streets and roads need to have liablility insurance, a licence plate so they can be reported for traffic offences, and they need to be taxed to pay for their infrastructure in the same way motor vehicle usage is heavily taxed to pay for its infrastructure.

Up 32 Down 9

Matthew on Nov 27, 2019 at 6:34 am

Have a bell and lights, ride on the sidewalk, ring bell when approaching pedestrians.. done, bike plan solved.

Up 28 Down 3

Atom on Nov 26, 2019 at 8:16 pm

Ha. Don't worry about running anything else in the City, just build us more bike paths.
Funny would be to see all the squabbling should a bunch of folks join in 'the crowd' of cyclists..hey outta my way! your brights are on! Hey, use your bell!!!!

Up 46 Down 3

Mr M on Nov 26, 2019 at 7:12 pm

There is enough trails for the cyclists. Now we have to teach them how to use them and stay off the sidewalks and roadways that they are not permitted to ride on. Two Mile Hill for example. Hey here's an idea maybe they should have a permit or license plate for their bikes like I have to for my vehicle that I pay road taxes for. At pedestrian crosswalks walk your bike across - don't use it like your own private lane. There are nice paths along the river that I don't see a lot of bikes using.
To the courteous bike riders and drivers I applaud you.

Up 9 Down 50

Miles Epanhauser on Nov 26, 2019 at 6:45 pm

I agree with the cyclists. Many of the new paved trails are motorized multi use when it would be safer and nicer to have them non motorized all year round.

The money spent on motorized trails must be about 99% of the trail budget with cyclists and non motorized users getting only 1%; this would be a good question that council could ask administration about.

Up 45 Down 12

Duke on Nov 26, 2019 at 5:53 pm

Cyclists don't pay any taxes, they're mainly civic parasites.

Up 12 Down 23

jc on Nov 26, 2019 at 5:35 pm

So much for the City's climate change emergency. No money from the carbon tax for something like this.

Up 22 Down 3

can't see the forest for the trees on Nov 26, 2019 at 4:05 pm

Business sense?
You obviously have no business experience.

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