What Can We Learn From Other Regions?
“Quebec has been deeply involved in a range of programs to promote cycling, increase its safety, coordinate local efforts, and fund infrastructure improvements. By comparison, Ontario provides virtually no funding, planning or program coordination for cycling.”
One of the conclusions of a research study funded by the federal government (5)
- Using Quebec as an example, one of the first steps Ontario needs to take is to develop on official Bicycle Policy. In 1995, Quebec adopted an official Bicycle Policy. Its stated goal is to increase use of bicycles for transport, while improving cycling safety. All provincial infrastructure projects, including roadway projects, must incorporate the needs of cyclists in their design. Moreover, the plan introduces uniform bikeway design and traffic control standards (5).
- Although Toronto has been steadily expanding its network of bike routes, it remains much smaller than Ottawa’s. In 2003, Toronto offered 252 km of bikeways (compared to Ottawa’s 822 km) (5).
- Many jurisdictions allow far less on street car parking than Toronto (1). On street parking leaves much less room for cyclists to safely share the road with car traffic. This may in part explain why Toronto has the highest rate of “Door Prizes” (a crash where a motorist in a parked car opens a door in front of an oncoming bike) of any jurisdiction studied (1).
- An 11 year study from Seattle demonstrated that as people move into neighborhoods that are more bicycle and pedestrian friendly, people do switch from using cars to walking, cycling and public transit (30).
- Toronto’s lack of bike routes (5) has been cited as one of the reasons Toronto has accident rates 3.5 times greater than Ottawa (13).
- In contrast with other regions of Canada, Quebec has made a considerable investment in cycling infrastructure. As a result they have seen increasing cycling levels while at the same time sharply reducing cycling injuries (5).
- Helmets are unlikely to explain Quebec’s reduction in cycling injuries since they are not required in Quebec, and only 28%-35% of cyclists (all age groups) wear helmets (5).