Falcon supports Critical Mass

B.C. transportation minister and Cloverdale resident Kevin Falcon has told the Straight that he is endorsing Surrey's first Critical Mass ride.

However, Falcon—who owns three bicycles himself—said he cannot make the ride on Saturday (March 24) because he will be in the U.S. for a four-day spring break. Cyclists will gather at the public plaza near Surrey Central SkyTrain station at 3:30 p.m., and start their ride at 4 p.m.

"I would've liked to have been there," Falcon said by phone. "That would've been fun. I'm looking forward to the weather getting better so bike season can really get going."

Falcon has been at the centre of opposition to the twinning of the Port Mann Bridge and the restructuring of the TransLink board. But the two-term minister—who was raised in West Vancouver and who said he still cycles the North Shore trails regularly—held out an olive branch to cyclists organizing the event.

"Please wish them all the best from me," Falcon said. "One of the things I'm trying to get Surrey to do is apply a lot more for our Cycling [Infrastructure] Partnerships program, where we're trying to encourage cities to expand their cycling opportunities and build bike paths and those kinds of things. We're slowly getting there, but I'd like them [Surrey] to be bolder in that area."

Downtown Vancouver has been the site of a month-end Critical Mass ride for more than 10 years. With the Surrey ride, there will be a political element, according to a March 19 news release issued by the organizers. "Cyclists will be celebrating the presence of the cycling community in Surrey, testing the cycling infrastructure, and showing their opposition to the twinning of the Port Mann Bridge and other Gateway Programs to expand highways and automobile congestion," it stated.

"We're praying hard for the weather," a Critical Mass organizer, Gordon Scott, told the Straight .

Falcon added that he did not know about the ride until contacted by the Straight . Scott, a Work Less Party candidate in Surrey-Newton in 2005, told the Straight he was "delighted" with Falcon's response and endorsement.