Whitehorse cyclists form advocacy group

Concerned cyclists have formed a new group to respond to the City of Whitehorse's changing bike bylaws. Jonathan Heaton, an avid cyclist, started the group over Facebook after hearing that the city was looking for a group to work with.

Concerned cyclists have formed a new group to respond to the City of Whitehorse’s changing bike bylaws.

Jonathan Heaton, an avid cyclist, started the group over Facebook after hearing that the city was looking for a group to work with.

Heaton said he is most concerned with safety and with communication between drivers and cyclists. “Sometimes drivers don’t know how they’re supposed to behave,” Heaton said.

The group, called the Whitehorse Urban Cycling Coalition, includes some of the town’s bigwig bikers. Julie DeBrisay sits as the vice-president of Contagious Mountain Bike Club and defends the environment as a lawyer as her day job. She joined the coalition’s first meeting.

She said she looks forward to the widening of the Robert Campbell Bridge, where she has experienced “close calls” of getting hit by cars, even though she obeys the rules and  rides on the road. The city approved in January the widening of an additional bike path on the bridge.

“Sometimes I have to come to a stop, sometimes I have to keep going and have my heart racing until I recover,” DesBrisay said.

She added that the efforts of the city’s environment co-ordinator, Glenda Koh, who also attended the meeting, influenced the creation of the group. She had been “looking for a way to encourage a group to form so that the city could have a cohesive group that they can communicate with on infrastructure, and safety and bylaw and any other issues,” DesBrisay said.

As part of National Bike to Work week from May 27 to June 2, Koh had volunteers hand out treats to people who biked instead of driving or commuting by bus during the week.

Another member is Guillaume Levesque. After losing friends to urban biking accidents, he spearheaded the second 10.5-km Ride of Silence from Riverdale to Whitehorse on May 17 to commemorate victims.

Dean Eyre, owner of the Cadence Cycle bike shop on Wood Street, said he joined the group after reading some “extraordinarily negative” comments expressed by drivers towards bikers on reports on the event. “I had no idea that there was so much hostility towards other cyclists out there, so that kind of prompted me to get involved,” he said.

Eyre also expressed hope that the group would help influence the city’s revision of its bicycle bylaws, which have not been updated since 2003, and ensure that cyclists’ voices are heard by city council “when the decisions are being made about new infrastructure being built.”

Heaton praised the city’s efforts to connect with the cycling community before the group was even formed. “Even right off the bat we’ve had the City of Whitehorse do a survey on the bicycle bylaw,” he said. He looks forward to the public forums the city will start to get their input.

Contact Krystle Alarcon at


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A competitor takes a jump in front of a crowd at the Mount Sima Up Hill Challenge in Whitehorse on April 17. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Spring shred: Snowmobiles gather on Mount Sima for 2021 Uphill Challenge

Riders had a sunny and warm day on the hill, but still plenty of snowpack on the uphill course.

Sheila MacLean tosses her winter blues in the fire to be burned away in Whitehorse on March 24, 2018. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Burning permits will be revoked April 25

The Whitehorse Fire Department extended the open burning season

Maura Forrest/Yukon News File photos from Beaver Creek White River First Nation
Bessie Chassé elected as new chief of White River First Nation

“I was happy that the membership saw that I was ready for this position.”


Wyatt’s World for April 21, 2021.… Continue reading

Crystal Schick/Yukon News Yukon MP Larry Bagnell speaks at an announcement in Whitehorse on July 8, 2019.
Federal budget includes changes to Northern Residents Deduction, minimum wage, green energy funds

The massive budget included some rare references to the territory.

Doug Bell photographed in Whitehorse in 2008, for an article about his role as Yukon Commissioner in the early 1980’s. (Ian Stewart/Yukon News file)
Yukon remembers former commissioner Doug Bell

Bell passed away in Whitehorse on Sunday, at the age of 94.

Crystal Schick/Yukon News Whitehorse International Airport in Whitehorse on May 6, 2020.
NAV CANADA suspends review for Whitehorse airport traffic control

NAV CANADA announced on April 15 that it is no longer considering… Continue reading

A bulldozer levels piles of garbage at the Whitehorse landfill in January 2012. (Ian Stewart/Yukon News file)
Rural dump closures and tipping fees raise concern from small communities

The government has said the measures are a cost-cutting necessity

Whitehorse City Hall (Yukon News file)
City news, briefly

A look at city council matters for the week of April 12

Joel Krahn/joelkran.com Hikers traverse the Chilkoot Trail in September 2015. Alaska side.
The Canadian side of the Chilkoot Trail will open for summer

The Canadian side of the Chilkoot Trail will open for summer Parks… Continue reading

Letters to the editor.
Today’s mailbox: Hands of Hope, the quilt of poppies

Toilets are important Ed. note: Hands of Hope is a Whitehorse-based non-profit… Continue reading

Most Read