Local politicians are being challenged to participate and support GoByBike Weeks Oct. 3 to 16, 2022.
The challenge comes after Erin Hitchcock and Denise Deschene on behalf of Scout Island Nature Centre and the Active Transportation Group appeared at the city council meeting Tuesday, Aug. 30, inviting mayor and council to take part in Politician on a Pedal Challenge.
Hitchcock said the aim of GoByBike Week is to encourage everyone in B.C. to use bikes, scooters, skateboards, roller blades, taking public transportation, walking, running, using a wheelchair, even horseback riding to go to school, work, meetings or just for exercising.
“The idea is to reduce the use of private vehicles as much as possible in order to help reduce emissions that contribute to climate change and poor air quality. We want this event to be as inclusive and accessible as possible.”
Hitchcock noted the challenge is open to all local politicians including municipal, regional, provincial, federal, First Nations and school district and all candidates for the Oct. 15 election.
All participants are encouraged to register and log into GoByBikebc.ca/williams-lake to log in their daily kilometres as individuals or teams. By doing so they will learn how many kilograms of greenhouse gases are saved by choosing to ride a bike instead of driving a vehicle.
“Kudos to the city that has supported a bus bike rack,” said Deschene. “The other thing I would really like to give you credit for is the protected bike lane on Mackenzie Avenue from Highway 20.”
She said people are using those to access the Scout Island. But there are other challenging areas people do not feel safe riding or walking.
There are more than 40 people in the active transportation group, which is supporting the events planned for GoByBike Weeks.
“We are going to be encouraging Williams Lakers to get out of their vehicles and be active – healthy for them, for our community and the environment.”
She said there is a new physician in the community who is an active person who doesn’t feel safe cycling in Williams Lake and considers it a barrier to doctor recruitment.
Deschene asked the city to resurrect the active transportation committee that ran from 2011 to 2014 and designate a staff person to work with the committee.
There is an existing memorandum of understanding the committee had as well as a recreation and trails master plan the city adopted in 2011 to be completed by 2020 that is not completed, she added.
City council passed a motion directing staff to bring a report back to council about resurrecting the active transportation committee.
Hitchcock said there are some fun activities planned for the GoByBike Weeks, with nothing finalized, but once they are the group will be letting the public know about them through the GoByBike Williams Lake Facebook page, posters and local media.
“For anybody who is interested, the group is willing to lead a safe ride through town, we will provide bikes if you don’t have a bike. We are hoping you will join us,” Deschene told the politicians.