Friday, October 9, 2009

Clearing Snow in London Ontario: Should They Do The Pathways?

Source: - Chronicle file photo/Ken Stevens

London City Council, as part of its transportation master plan, is looking at whether to maintain pathways in winter, and if so, which ones. As much as I love riding the path in winter, I am undecided on this one. Recent winters have included some very heavy snowfalls, and everybody has an opinion on this stuff. I ride all winter long, and the number of other cyclists I see doing the same is growing. As it stands right now, as soon as the snow stays for a while and people walk on the paths, they become very difficult to ride a bike or even walk on because they develop an icy, dimpled surface that really knocks you around.

When the City is struggling to get snow cleared, however, I know I can ride on the street, and I often choose the street for speed reasons anyway. People who are disabled need the sidewalks cleared in order to get out, and certainly trump my desire to ride on the path.

So, let's assume the City has its priorities right, and clears sidewalks before pathways. It then becomes a question of whether the money spent to clear the paths benefits enough people (whether they cycle or not) to justify the cost. I guess it is worth a study, because I have no idea.

I was home sick last week, and watched a little city Council on TV. It seemed to me that Ward 4 Councillor Stephen Orser thinks winter cycling is stupid, and the City is stupid for even thinking about helping people do it on the paths.

The gist of his comments were "who the hell rides their bike in the winter anyway? We're thinking about spending money on this?" He has chosen to focus solely on the cycling aspect of cleared paths, when there are other benefits for pedestrians and joggers and who knows who else. I have determined that Stephen Orser and I should probably never go out for a few drinks.

He's totally put me in the mood for every winter's letters to the editor suggesting bicycles be banned in winter. I love those. They are like the seasons themselves, in that you can count on them pretty much every year, just as you can count on a bunch of cyclists attacking the author in the comments. I never engage in that way, but I do enjoy reading that stuff. It used to make me angry, but these days it just gives me a chuckle as I suit up and ride on.

Agreeing to disagree is totally acceptable, and I do it a lot.



Dogfart said...

Hi Rantwick!

Steven Orser looks and probably smells very foul! He looks like a science experiment that went bad conducted by one of his inbread family members. Plow the bike paths if there is time, priority goes to the majority which is streets, side walks and bus shelters.

who the hell rides their bike in winter? Rantwick, does, because he can! Steven does not because he can't even chew gum without choking because he HAS TOO MUCH TO SAY!

Rantwick 10 Orse -1


RANTWICK said...

Welcome back, dogfart! It's been a while. I'm thinking you're not an Orser fan...

Steve A said...

Au contraire. Mr Orser might be a LOT more interesting after he's overimbibed a bit. He's had enough, he might demo the bad aspects of cycling while intoxicated.

I would think this might provide enough material for SEVERAL Mondays if the video camera were turned on. Even WITHOUT the lampshade on the head act...

Steve A said...

And Rantwick could pick out a really cool replacement bike...

RANTWICK said...

Steve - Mr Orser and I will not be going out for drinks. If we ever do, though, I promise video.

ChipSeal said...

Who the hell wears brown striped ties?

Mr. Orser, it is none of your business why any citizen lawfully uses the public road.

I doubt you would withstand close critical scrutiny of your day-to-day choices by those you wish to represent, so it would behoove you to avoid seeming so judgmental of others. It is enough to note that snow-cyclists are few. It is wrong to imply they are crazy.

Our dear Rantwick travels by bicycle in the snow. He may be a bit daft, but he's not crazy! ;)

Steve A said...

I NEVER ride MY bike in the snow around here. It's just not done that way in Texas. I must, however, see if my sister in Breckenridge would loan me her bike so I can see about breaking a few bones.

Anonymous said...

It's nice to see Orser representing the public, not himself, at city council. What a jackass.

Greg Fowler said...

Cycling is a perfectly credible alternative mode of transportation at any time of the year. It, and walking, deserve to be supported by the city every bit as much as auto travel is. Particularly so long as the politicians via the Transportation Master Plan purport to support alternative modes.

Steven may not be perfect, and I was dismayed by his comments in this instance, but he's a good sight better than some of the others like Gosnell, Caranci, Miller and Van Meerbergen.

BTW, I webcast Council and committee meetings from City Hall as a public service. Although I can't afford to keep the archives online for too long, the last Council meeting is still available for viewing for now at

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