Viewpoint : June 2016

“Cycling in Québec in 2015” confirms the growing popularity of biking

Cycling in Québec in 2015, a major report on bicycle usage prepared by Vélo Québec every five years, confirms that biking is a basic, inevitable trend. In fact, more and more Quebecers are choosing the bicycle for recreation, transportation and tourism.
The report shows there are now 4.2 million Quebecers pedalling around the province, including 1 million children. What’s more, 2.7 million of them use their bikes every week. Over the past 20 years, the number of cyclists in Québec has increased by 600,000. However, the most encouraging data from this 2015 report is the reversal of the downward trend in cycling among the young, observed between 2000 and 2010. In fact, 85% of 3-to-17-year-olds biked in 2015 and 69% did so at least once a week (from May to September).
The bicycle is now used as a mode of transportation by 1.9 million Quebecers. In Montréal, the number of bike commutes increased by 57% between 2008 and 2013, with a modal share of 4% in the center of Montréal Island, where 1 million people live, and nearly 11% in the borough of Plateau-Mont-Royal, where over 100,000 people live.
These positive results can be attributed mainly to the development of the bike network. Since 2010, this network has expanded by 30% to 12,000 kilometers, from one end of Québec to the other. This is excellent news given the fact that more than half of bike commuters use bike paths. This means that the more bike paths there are, the more comfortable people will feel about cycling and the more popular it will become.
The other good news is the proportion of women who bike. The male/female ratio is an excellent indicator of the quality of cycling conditions. The safer it is to cycle, the more women will use their bikes. In Québec, 45% of cyclists are women, which is excellent.
Biking also has significant economic spinoffs. Together, cycling and bicycle-related tourism generate $1.2 billion in spending every year in Québec. This not only creates the equivalent of 10, 000 jobs, but also adds $215 million in tax revenues to government coffers.
In short, Cycling in Québec in 2015 is a valuable source of information for governments and cities in the area of urban planning. We can all be very proud of this major contribution by Vélo Québec, which I strongly encourage you to read.
Suzanne Lareau
President and CEO