Advocate With HCC


Why Advocate?

If you’re someone in Halifax who likes to bike—in any way, shape, or form—cycling infrastructure and advocacy can make it easier and more comfortable for you. Even if you’re personally comfortable on the roads already, not everyone shares that experience, and everyone should be able to feel safe and comfortable while cycling in Halifax. 

What is Advocacy?

Advocating means convincing government officials (e.g. city councillors, mayors, politicians, HRM planning staff) to support, spending priorities, infrastructure projects, laws or policies that support your cause, and to vote against those that are harmful to your cause. 

Advocacy is about relationship building: relationships with politicians, with city staff, the media, the business community, neighbourhood groups, etc. 

We aim to make cycling more accessible and people on bikes more visible in the HRM. That’s why we advocate for high-quality cycling infrastructure and a more equitable city where all residents have access to what they need. Advocacy can be emailing, calling or meeting with groups and politicians. It can also include hosting events or fundraisers to support the Halifax Cycling Coalition. Send us an email to contact@cyclehalifax.ca if you’re interested in planning an event or fundraiser with us. 


Cycling and Social Justice

On Friday, June 19, 2020, 25 riders of the Toronto Bike Brigade provided bike marshaling support for a massive all-day Sit-In from Yonge and College (Police HQ) to Nathan Phillips Square led by #NotAnotherBlackLife (https://www.thebikinglawyer.ca/post/cyclists-must-join-call-to-defund-police).

Cycling has proven mental and physical health benefits, promoting exercise and time outside. Cycling saves you gas money, saves time during rush hour, provides transport for those who can’t afford a car, and is more convenient than the bus. 

However, being on a bike means you’re on the streets and you’re involved in traffic—and potentially enforcement. Policing and enforcement disproportionately impact Black and Indigenous people in Halifax. Having a bike-accessible city is not about traffic laws and enforcement because these methods disproportionately burden Black and Indigenous residents—it’s about building infrastructure that provides physical protection for people who cycle—and begins within communities. At the Halifax Cycling Coalition, we believe a bike is a tool for justice and accessibility—not just another vehicle in the street. 

Some Facts from Velo Canada Bikes

  • Canadian women are considerably less likely to ride bicycles than Canadian men, while in leading international cycling jurisdictions female riders outnumber male riders. According to North American experts, a major explanatory factor for low levels of bike riding among women is a lack of safe conditions. Improving cycling infrastructure will support access to the city for women, enabling a more equitable transportation system.
  • Cycling programs have shown particular promise for youth and economic development on First Nations reserves in Canada.
  • The findings of a national-level Canadian study suggest that investing in active transportation infrastructure is most important for the mobility of lower-income populations because of their stronger reliance on these modes. Building protected cycling infrastructure in lower-income neighborhoods, in collaboration with the local community, will provide residents with access to employment, education, and essential services.
  • Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer’s 2017 Report on the State of Public Health in Canada notes the strong value of cycling and calls on leadership from all levels of government and partners to take concrete actions to improve the health of Canadians through healthy community design. Due in part to the Halifax Cycling Coalitions advocacy, in collaboration with Velo Canada Bikes and other groups across the country, the federal government is now developing a National Active Transportation Strategy.

Strategies for Effective Advocacy

Your voice can make a real difference for cycling in Halifax. The more that politicians and municipal staff hear from people that support high-quality cycling infrastructure, the more they will prioritize it. They also frequently hear from residents who oppose new cycling infrastructure projects, so it’s important for them to hear voices in support.

Find Your NicheBe Efficient MessagingTools 
– don’t duplicate someone else’s efforts, but amplify the voices of others
– know how your voice supports the issue you’re advocating for and fits into the overall landscape
– research what’s already been done and know what policies and plans already exists
– amplify HCC information: we are a knowledgeable and informed advocacy group, and you can help deliver that message
– use your inside connections as well as outside strategies
– listen to the concerns of opponents and provide counter-arguments don’t waste your energy on people who are strongly anti-cycling
– pro-bike (not anti-car)
– clear (e.g. identify demands, goals, and reasons)
– truthful and factual (without too many details)
– use personal stories to illustrate the issues
– respectful of everyone you work with, and most importantly, those who you work against
– engaged with relevant current events (e.g. health concerns, mobility equity)
– letters to the editor
letters to politicians and staff at HRM
– meetings with politicians and staff at HRM
– guest editorials or features
– cycling events or fundraisers 
– media interviews
– newsletter stories to companies, NGOs
– social media campaigns