It's a banner year for Halifax Bike Week

Cycling Coalition receives new funding while HRM reverses its stance on truck side guards.

click to enlarge It's a banner year for Halifax Bike Week
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Mike Savage leading the pack on a drizzly mayor's bike ride on June 10.

The weather's been a little damp, but that hasn't stopped cycling advocates from gaining some political momentum during Halifax Bike Week.

On Wednesday the Halifax Cycling Coalition received $4,400 in capital funds from District 8’s participatory budgeting to install an on-street bicycle counter on Agricola Street.

The counter will be used for a “public and reliable year-round count of bicycle use in Halifax,” reads a release from the HCC.

The group is also launching its first crowdfunding effort, which is attempting to raise an additional $5,000 for a “community engagement trailer” capable of carrying a tent, table, signs and promotional materials to community events.

“By attending more events we can educate more people who drive and people who ride about the rules of the road, making Halifax’s streets safer for everyone,” writes the HCC.

In other good news for urban cyclists, municipal staff have changed their minds about installing side guards on HRM-owned and contracted trucks.

A Transportation Standing Committee report from back in March recommended against installing the life-saving bumpers on vehicles like garbage trucks, arguing that “side guards alone will not eliminate serious injuries.”

But councillor Waye Mason wasn’t happy with the lack of information in that item, and requested another staff report look into the issue.

The new report—to be tabled at City Hall on Tuesday—recommends side guards on all new heavy vehicles in HRM’s fleet, though stops short of requiring a retrofit of current municipal trucks.

The additional purchase cost is estimated at $4,000 per each of the nine to 12 heavy vehicles HRM purchases annually. Meaning that between 60 to 84 percent of the city’s fleet would have side guards by 2022, at a cost of roughly $50,000 a year.

Halifax Bike Week comes to a halt this Sunday, June 12, with several family-friendly events including a Bicycle Expo at the Oval.