Ontario Tourism – Sidewalk cycling? Or imaginary cycletrack?

Come – bike on our sidewalks!


Last night, we were relaxing in front of the computer watching an episode of the Office. A new ad came on for Ontario tourism and the song was pretty catchy, so we found ourselves watching along.

Near the end of the ad, there’s a shot of a couple of cyclists biking in front of Parliament Hill. “Hey, were they biking on the sidewalk?” I couldn’t be sure.

Luckily, the ad came on three more times during the episode.

Sure enough, there they were, two happy-go-lucky tourists biking past Parliament on the sidewalk on Wellington Street. Side by side, no less!

First, biking on the sidewalk along Wellington usually isn’t a good idea. It’s usually quite crowded with people walking.  However, biking ON Wellington with the traffic and buses is no picnic and is definitely not comfortable or recommended for tourists.

Secondly, biking in Ottawa is definitely a highlight of any vacation. Biking past Parliament is a great idea for tourists (and commuters alike). And yes, wouldn’t it be nice to be able to socially bike side-by-side!? Yes! There’s just one small problem, we don’t actually have a bike lane here.

Here’s what biking on Wellington at this location could look like:

Future bike lane
(Wellington was closed to traffic for a charity bike ride in this photo.)

If biking on Wellington is an activity worthy of promoting to our visitors, surely it’s worthwhile of a bike lane. Otherwise, we’re not promoting Ottawa, we’re just lying.

Video link: http://www.youtube.com/embed/Blcb7XRMZeU?hd=1&autoplay=1

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Comments: 6

  1. rww says:

    Who gets to be the first person to use the “I saw it in a tourism ad” defence when charged with illegally cycling on the sidewalk.

  2. Danny Handelman says:

    This would seem to be violating truth-in-advertising legislation and/or inciting the commission of a crime.

    • Lana says:

      I agree, there are places where it works out fine (and let’s face it, most of the NCC’s pathways are really sidewalks with a painted line that we all share). But I don’t think the Wellington sidewalk is a good candidate for sharing.

  3. Well, it would certainly cut down on any terrorist threat (if Wellington were only for cyclists). Remember when that guy drove a bus onto the lawn at the Hill and held all the passengers hostage? Couldn’t manage that on a bicycle. Just saying.