Last year after the Citizens for Safe Cycling AGM, I was half teasing one of the Citizens for Safe cycling members, Frank Hartmann, who works at the German Embassy, that the Germans should step up to the plate and bring an expert from Germany in to our next AGM, after the Dutch omnipresence in Ottawa over the last few years. If they are bailing out Southern Europe, they might as well bail out the Ottawa Cycling Plan.
Germany’s National Bike Plan
Germany’s bike modal share (nation wide about 10%) is not as high as the Netherlands, but some cities are doing fairly well. The Germans recently announced a national bike plan, and although not every one is convinced it is a realistic plan, there is at least the attention for cycling on a national level. The Minister announced a goal of 15% bike modal share in 2020, but that is apparently not mentioned in the report. Ottawa is aiming high too, no less than 3% modal bike share in 2021, coming from an estimated 2,2%, that would be a full 0.8% increase over 13 years since 2008, when the latest Ottawa Cycling Plan was written (source: OCP, section 4.3.1). Indeed, our aim is less than one percent over 13 years.
The Germans are known for being quite outdoorsy, and many of them bike. In fact, Dutch research showed that 47% of the Germans imagine they might consider a multi day bike holiday in the future.
From a Dutch report: Duitsland telt op dit moment 5.600.000 fietsende vakantiegangers en zo’n 35.000.000 Duitsers geven aan daguitstapjes op de fiets te maken (zonder overnachting). De marktpotentie onder onze oosterburen biedt echter nog veel meer mogelijkheden, want maar liefst 47% van alle Duitsers geeft aan dat zij zich kunnen voorstellen dat zij in de toekomst een fietsvakantie gaan maken. source: Zicht op Nederland Fietsland, larger PDF file, page 46)
That is about 40 million Germans, or more than the entire population of Canada. If Ottawa Tourism could funnel 1 million a year to the capital, we’d have a major problem with accommodation, traffic jams on our paths and Bratwurst would outsell Poutine.
Frank took my comments seriously and within two weeks, he proved he hadn’t lost his German efficiency, and managed to invite Dr. Ralph Buehler, Assistant Professor in Urban Affairs & Planning and a Faculty Fellow with the Metropolitan Institute at Virginia Tech’s Alexandria Center. Ralph has been working with John Pucher amongst others and is releasing a new book soon. Professor Buehler is German, if his name didn’t give that away yet.
Then, about three months ago, Citizens for Safe Cycling member Catherine Henry asked us if we are interested in having Olivia Chow, MP for Trinity Spadina speak about cycling safety and trucks at our AGM. Of course we were. Meanwhile CfSC member Ian Schwarz is working on video material that promises to be a great addition to our promotional material.
Having active members involved makes the work of the board a little easier. It is great for us to see that members step up and help us to accomplish another great AGM, rather than wait for what we are coming up with this time.
On October 16th, that is next week already, everything should come together nicely. I will be lugging extension cords, sound equipment, a projector, a laptop. Terry and Simone will be at the door taking new memberships and renew existing ones, Paul will be taking pictures, Nancy will be around for the groups and members who asked for a table, including the CAA, Otesha, Right Bike and others. Alex will be giving an overview of our activities and he will travel through town with Professor Buehler, to show some of our Ottawa bike infrastructure and bring him to interviews. Schuyler will be on holidays and Risa will hopefully be a new mother by then. I will be making corny jokes as usual.
We will serve snacks again, provided by Krackers Catering, a Causeway enterprise and there is coffee from Bridgehead. We’ll open the doors at 5:45 pm for the food and socialising part.
Looking forward to see you all. Our AGM’s are always great socialising events too, where you catch up with the latest and the greatest and where you hear about cycling progress (and delays) that you don’t read on blogs and in the newspapers.
Here is a comprehensive overview on Citizens for Safe Cycling’s 2012 AGM: Website.
We ask you to register (free) so we get an idea how many people we can expect: Register.
We’ll use the #ottbike12 hashtag on Twitter, so those who aren’t there can follow the AGM or read it back afterwards. Last year, #ottbike11 was even trending in Ottawa.