‘The bike lanes have allowed me to bike’

Kim Gadbois going through a life transformation. Until last September she and her husband lived in Sherwood Park and were dedicated car commuters. Then along came the downtown separated bike grid and the couple decided to make a big shift.

“We moved to the inner city from Sherwood Park,” Gadbois, 45, says. “We were constantly commuting, but we wanted the option of riding our bike or walking to work.”

Since making the move, a lot has changed. “My husband has lost 12 pounds — honestly — and we just moved in September,” Gadbois says. “He rides every day.”

A lot has changed for Gadbois, too. The radiation therapist, who works at the Cross Cancer Institute at the University of Alberta, is now comfortable with the idea of biking for anything other than recreation. She wasn’t before.

“I wouldn’t have the confidence without the lanes because I’m new on my bike,” Gadbois says. “The bike lanes have allowed me to bike. It just takes away one more excuse I would have for not going on my bike. It’s just pushing me towards a healthier lifestyle. I feel safe and it’s relaxing being in the bike lanes. When I go on the road I have a nervousness about me.”

Gadbois says the bike lanes will change a lot for Edmonton, too, but it will take time. “It’s not going to be an instantaneous thing,” she says. “If biking is not what you’re used to, you’re going to wait. But the more the bike lanes are around the more the ridership will increase. If the ridership hasn’t been great that doesn’t mean it won’t be great in three years. And those people who don’t use them, they should be happy. If people are choosing to ride their bike it takes more cars off the road, which is just going to improve a driver’s commute.”

She should know. Until September, “We were just spending a lot of our time commuting.”