After living away from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada for half my life, I decided to return to the only city that feels like home. I’m lucky to do life with my partner, Dan, and our senior dog, Tilly.
I started cycling in grad school because I wanted to use an environmentally friendly way of getting around. Over time, as my ability to walk decreased because of my arthritis, I found that I could still cycle as much as I wanted to. My bike is my mobility aid and I believe cycling can open up mobility for many more people.
How would you describe your mission?
My mission is to increase the representation of the diversity of people who cycle in Halifax. I believe such representation will help people to feel that they belong on bikes. Such representation will also help encourage people with decision-making power to actively work to support all people to cycle.
What are the obstacles and challenges you’re facing in your city?
Progress is slow. Not everyone with decision-making power has embraced our city’s stated goals of improving cycling for everyone. Roads and road improvements are still designed with the assumption that car is king.
Many people in Halifax want to cycle but are scared to do so because our infrastructure and culture do not support them.
What are your next steps now that you are the Bicycle Mayor?
My next step is to start hearing the stories of people who cycle in Halifax and the stories of people who want to cycle but don’t. I want to meet the people we don’t usually see represented in cycling and help elevate their voices. I want to find out what they need to be supported to cycle here.Many people in Halifax want to cycle but are scared to do so because our infrastructure and culture do not support them.
What can other cities learn from your city?
Halifax passed a very important policy 2 years ago that explicitly prioritizes the movement of people walking and cycling over those driving cars. Implementing the changes that align with that policy has been slow in a city that is resistant to change. When we finally see the full power of the changes that result from that policy, other cities may be able to learn from our successes and failures in moving policy into action.