Advocate With HCC

WHY ADVOCATE?

If you’re someone 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 comfortable on the roads—everyone should be able to feel safer while cycling in Halifax. 

WHAT IS ADVOCACY?

Advocating means convincing government officials (e.g. councillors, mayors, politicians, HRM staff) to support 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. 

The HCC aims to make cycling more accessible and people on bikes more visible in the HRM. Advocacy can be emailing, calling or communicating with groups and politicians. It can also include hosting events or fundraisers for the HCC. Send us an email to contact@cyclehalifax.ca if you’re interested in planning an event or fundraiser with us. 

BIKING 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 clear mental and physical health benefits, promoting exercise and time outside. Cycling saves you gas money, 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—it’s about building infrastructure that supports cyclists–and begins within communities. At HCC, the bike is a tool for justice and accessibility—not just another vehicle in the street. 

Some Facts from Canada Bikes

  • Canadian women are considerably less likely to ride bicycles than Canadian men, while in leading international jurisdictions female cyclists outnumber male cyclists. According to North American experts, a major explanatory factor for low levels of bike riding among women is a lack of safe conditions.
  • Bicycle 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.
  • Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer’s Report on the State of Public Health in Canada in 2017 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.

STRATEGIES FOR EFFECTIVE ADVOCACY

Find Your NicheBe Efficient MessagingTools 
– don’t duplicate someone else’s efforts
– know how your voice supports the issue you’re advocating for fits into the overall landscape
– research what’s already been done and know what legislation already exists
– present HCC information: we are a knowledgeable and informed advocacy group, and you 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-bike
– pro-bike (not anti-car)
– clear (e.g. identify demands, goals, and reasons)
– truthful and factual (without too many details)
– respectful of everyone you work with, and most importantly, those who you work against
– engaged with relevant current events (e.g. health concerns, active living)
– letters to the editor
letters to politicians and staff at HRM
– guest editorials or features
– pro-bike events or fundraisers 
– media interviews
– newsletter stories to companies, NGOs