How bike-friendly is Hamilton?

IMG_5425Well folks, we’re four days into “summer”, and I think we could all agree that those four days have been glorious. The sun’s rays have been unrelenting and the light breeze continues to maintain temperate conditions in Hamilton. With weather like this, who can resist spending time outside?

Thankfully, the termination of our HSR pass has also coordinated nicely with the favourable weather. For me, no HSR pass means that it’s time to take my bicycle out of hibernation and start using it full time. But how will this affect my quest to explore Hamilton?

About 2 weeks ago, I took a dangerous ride to an office at King and Locke. I’ll admit that I didn’t plan my return route very thoroughly, but the entire experience got me thinking. Was it my poor planning or the lack of safe bicycle routes that made me feel uncomfortable on my ride? Should I have to take enormous detours on my bike to navigate the city, or should we be looking for ways to make key locations in the city more accessible for cyclists?

While the City of Hamilton continues to work towards promotion of cycling and improvement of cycling routes, I can’t help but notice that the existing network is rather sketchy. The annual “Hamilton Bike Routes, Trails and Parks” map is comprehensive enough to show that bike lanes are minimal, and often end at dangerously busy sections of road.

For now, the best I can do is continue to educate myself about bike safety and be as vigilant as possible, but this summer I can guarantee that cycling accessibility will be on my radar.