MONTREAL – About one million Montrealers are trading their cars in for bikes, according to a new study conducted by Vélo Québec, in partnership with the city.
According to the report, one in two Montrealers currently bike around town.
Bixi, the bike sharing service, seems to be one of the reasons why the city has seen a spike in riders.
“I don’t have the space to put my bike in my place so it’s really easy, ” Bixi rider Justine Laval told Global News.
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There are also more biking paths in the city.
Since 2010, Montreal has added almost 300 kilometers of cycling paths, increasing bike-friendly streets by 40 per cent.
The city said it also has plans to extend the cycling network to the east.
“The plan is to get to 1,280 kilometers,” said city spokesperson Marc-Andre Gadoury.
There are concerns, though, that the biking capital’s infrastructure and regulations don’t match the growing number of cyclist on the roads.
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The opposition worries the city is not doing enough to make sure cyclists are safe.
“About nine kilometres that were added out of 10 were paint on the ground, paint on the road,” said Marianne Giguère, a spokesperson on the subject of cycling for Projet Montréal.
“It helps, of course, it shows riders are welcome on the street, but if you don’t feel safe to go on those bike lanes with your family, with your young kids, it won’t help.”
That’s in spite of recent updates to Quebec’s Highway Safety code.
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The amendments include steeper fines for those who hit a cyclist with their car door.
Changes also include keeping enough distance from cyclists if drivers want to pass them on the road.
“How is that going to be enforced? That’s what we’re asking,” Giguère said.
Meanwhile, the city said it thinks it is on the right track and is taking all necessary steps to create an effective environment for cyclists in the city.