Smart Commute wins cycling prize

[attach]1371[/attach]Smart Commute-North Toronto, Vaughan, has been recognized as the bicycle-friendliest suburban business for 2009 by the City of Toronto.

This non-for-profit organization highlights different ways of commuting with green incentives such as cycling.

“(The award) suggests that we effectively represent cyclists throughout the North Toronto community,” said Brian Shifman the group’s executive director.

“It’s important to give cyclists a voice.”

Smart Commute’s Bike User Group has grown from 50 to 500 members with 83 per cent of them cycling to work.

Shifman said his organization continues to focus on expanding designated lanes for cyclists and always has the community in mind.

“It’s important to listen to the community and know where they want the lanes,” said Shifman.

He shared an incident where he was cycling in the downtown area and was cut-off by a taxi that caused him flying off his bike. He said that incidents’ such as that one makes him a stronger advocate for cycling.

“My Toronto is one where children can bike or walk to school safely and parents can feel comfortable that our roadways are set up to ensure the highest degree of safety,” said Shifman.

In the past year Smart Commute has hosted various events such as a bicycle repair shop that taught basic tools in maintaining a bike.

The organization has also gone to various summer camps to teach children on how to be green where cycling was a component. Bikes were donated as prizes for the children.

Shifman said the organization will continue to enhance awareness, encourage safe cycling and educate children.

“I think that the increase in cycling signifies for current and future councilors as a call to arms to provide those needs,” he said.