News / Halifax

Wheely, Halifax? Committee votes for bicycle limit on the ferry

Council's transportation committee recommends new rules for crossing the Halifax Harbour on two wheels.

A Halifax Ferry

Nick Hubley / For Metro

A Halifax Ferry

Halifax’s transportation committee voted on Thursday to double the number of bike racks on the ferry, but also to limit the number of bikes – and the size of their tires – allowed on any one voyage.

Right now, all of the ferries have at least one bike rack, capable of holding between four and six bicycles. The reason for the range is that some bikes take up more space in the rack than others.

There isn’t currently a limit to the number of bicycles allowed on the ferry.
According to a staff report, on Canada Day in 2016, transit staff found there were safety issues with bikes on the ferry blocking emergency exits.

The motion passed Thursday by the Transportation Standing Committee would see each ferry fitted with two bike racks, to hold a maximum of 12 bikes. Passengers would be required to use the racks, and would only be allowed on the ferry with a bike with tires that will fit in the racks.

That means if you were the unlucky 13th cyclist to get to the ferry, you’d have to wait for the next one, though staff collected data this summer and fall, and found that the highest number of bicycles on the ferry at any given time was eight.

Kelsey Lane with the Halifax Cycling Coalition said after Thursday’s meeting that she was happy to see Halifax Transit collect the data, but not the new rules.

“Keeping in mind that the Integrated Mobility Plan is seeking to increase the number of people using active transportation, then we’d really like to see as limited restrictions as possible for something like this,” Lane said.

Lane said the limits on tire size will mean cargo bikes and accessible bikes might not fit on the ferry.

“For looking at making an inclusive transportation system, we really need to think about the effects of what those limits are,” she said.

Halifax regional council will have final say on the changes, likely at its meeting next week.

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