I want to start the year here at the blog with the right foot (on the pedal)! I’ve been the board chair of London cycle Link for about two years now. And on Jan 13 we will have our Annual General Meeting. I am super pumped to meet all the great candidates willing to join our board. We also published the London Cycle Link 2020 Annual Report. Along with a summary of all that we accomplished in 2020, the letter below was published in the report.
Mobility is a fundamental human right. As I get ready to apply for my Canadian Citizenship I learned that mobility is also one of the most important rights in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. As Canadians, we should have the freedom to choose where we live and work.
Unfortunately, this is not true for many of us and the Coronavirus pandemic made that even more plain to see. Mobility is a privilege. Many of us don’t have access to jobs, healthy food, green spaces, health care, entertainment and many other amenities our city has to offer. Not because we need to stay apart together but because some of us, for different reasons, don’t have access to a private vehicle. Deprived of all those things, cyclists, pedestrians and bus riders are de facto second-class citizens. For many of us, this is not a choice. Mobility inequality intersects with other dimensions of inequality: ethnicity, gender, age, low-income and citizenship status.
A long term solution for this social crisis can only be achieved in conjunction with solutions for our environmental and economic crises. London declared a climate emergency and our number one source of pollution is GHG emissions from private vehicles. Oil/gas industries are facing a steady decline and their dependence on fluctuating global markets is a constant reminder that the sooner we shift our transportation away from fossil fuels the better. And with high unemployment rates, precarious jobs and the working poor class, prioritizing cars that cost an average of $10,000 a year is ludicrous.
We can all agree that 2020 wasn’t an easy year. On the bright side, we had the cleanest air all around the world in decades. People saw how interconnected our lives are. And the cycling boom once more showed how bicycles are a resilient and affordable alternative aligned with the best future we can imagine. We can get out of our cars without shutting down our economy, and many cities are already doing that. More importantly, a lot of people are willing to do that right here, right now!