CAA Seeks to Find Common Ground Between Cyclists, Drivers, and Governments

"Changing Lanes" conference inspired by growth of bike commuting, concerns of Canadians

VANCOUVER, May 24, 2011 /CNW Telbec/ - The Canadian Automobile Association is bringing drivers, cyclists and experts together for a one-day national conference to discuss ways to enable cyclists and drivers to get along better on Canada's roadways.

Canadians, including the 5.6 million members of CAA coast-to-coast, are faced with the challenges of bike-car coexistence, whether they are behind the wheel or behind their handlebars. The "Changing Lanes" conference will provide a forum for dialogue, focusing on solutions to make the relationship safer and better for all.

"Across the country, communities of all sizes are grappling with infrastructure, education and safety issues as more bikes, cars and transit vehicles co-exist on Canada's roadways. There is and will be enormous pressure placed on our transportation infrastructure, and Canadian cities need to prepare," said Jeff Walker, CAA vice president of public affairs. "We believe there are important lessons to be learned from experts who work on these issues here in Canada and internationally, and we want to facilitate a conversation about how we move forward together."

According to a poll conducted for the CAA by Harris/Decima Research, 33% of Canadians said they would consider switching to a bicycle to commute at least part of the time. However, in the same survey, 55% also said they don't feel safe biking on Canada's roads - and that the number one issue for them was the lack of infrastructure to accommodate cyclists.

"Changing Lanes: Improving the Bike-Car Relationship on Canada's Roads" will be held next Wednesday, May 25th in Vancouver in cooperation with the British Columbia Automobile Association (BCAA). The conference will be webcast, including a feature to allow out-of-town participants to ask questions.

Leading national and international speakers including city planners, transportation experts, cycling advocates, and business representatives will discuss the latest thinking on infrastructure, safety and the opportunities and costs for business arising from changing transportation patterns.

"Our members have clearly told us that this is an issue of concern to them. As we move towards more sustainable forms of transportation, it's critical to ensure both the services and education people need to travel safely are easily available," Walker said.

CAA has long been an advocate for the safety and infrastructure concerns of its members. Several CAA clubs, including BCAA, offer Bike Assist - emergency roadside assistance for bicycle breakdowns - as part of their basic membership package.

An agenda and list of speakers for the Changing Lanes conference is attached. Further information, including how to access the webcast, is at CAA.ca/changing lanes.

CAA is a federation of nine clubs providing more than 5.6 million members with exceptional emergency roadside service, complete automotive and travel services, member savings and comprehensive insurance services. CAA also advocates on issues of concern to its members, including road safety, the environment, mobility, infrastructure and consumer protection. 

SOURCE CAA

For further information:

Cédric Essiminy
Public Relations Officer CAA-Quebec
514-861-7111 ext. 3210
Cell.: 514-717-40401
cessiminy@caaquebec.com

Alayne Crawford
Manager of Public Affairs CAA
613-796-9404
acrawford@national.caa.ca

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