Cycling in London needs to be safer says advocate

London cycling advocate Ben Cowie outlines various routes in London that are unsafe for cyclists.

Cycling advocate Ben Cowie says London could learn a lot from Calgary's cycle tracks.

Cycling advocate Ben Cowie points to Calgary as a good example of a car-oriented city that made changes to its core to better accommodate cyclists. (Chris dela Torre)

A cycling advocate new to London says busy roadways crossing the Thames River are the most problematic areas for cyclists.

Appearing on CBC Radio's Afternoon Drive, Ben Cowie outlined various parts of the city where he believes cyclists feel too unsafe to commute by bike.

"A lot of the routes — Wharncliffe Road, Adelaide Street, Wonderland Road — the main arterial roads that people need to get around the city are often streets that aren't compatible with riding a bike," Cowie said. 

Cowie, owner of the London Bicycle Cafe in the downtown core, recently conducted an informal poll on Twitter asking Londoners if they are riding their bikes as much as they would like.

Many responded by saying they don't feel safe enough to ride on London's busy streets.

Calgary a good example

Cowie was raised in London but lived in Calgary for eight years. 

He said London could learn a lot from the recent cycling infrastructure changes in the western city, which installed an interconnected "cycle track" in its downtown core in 2015.

"Calgary is a more car-oriented city than London, but the installation of protected bike lanes transformed not only the number of cyclists, but who chose to ride their bikes", Cowie said.

"There was a festival where we took 200 people through downtown at rush hour to get to various art installations in the city, and I would never think of doing something like that in London to get to Sunfest, for example."

Listen to the full interview HERE.