Viewpoint : December 2018

A look in the rear-view mirror

Adoption of a new Highway Safety Code, Québec sustainable mobility policy, election campaign and all kinds of activities mobilizing citizens in favour of biking in different regions: a look in the rear-view mirror confirms that the year 2018 was anything but mundane.
While some progress was made, we would have preferred much more. The unjustified 400% hike in fines for cycling infractions remains unfair in relation to the other infractions mentioned in the Highway Safety Code. The HSC also introduced the Principle of Prudence, but unfortunately the government has put little energy into promoting this new concept.
However, it is never too late to do the right thing. Moreover, it is rumoured that the Québec government is going to initiate a Vision zero approach, just as the City of Montréal recently did and Québec City plans to do. This will be an excellent opportunity to revisit this concept of prudence and ensure the adherence of Québecers.
Also in 2018, the Sustainable mobility policy was launched with, admittedly, an increase in investments, but we still feel that we must aim higher if we want to make biking and active transportation a real mobility option. We know that the development of protected bike paths is at the center of a strategy to get more people to choose biking for their daily travels. We have already shared some of our concerns with the new Transport Minister and offered him our cooperation in effectively integrating the bicycle into this sustainable mobility policy.
Even though the gains made have not always measured up to our expectations, biking and sustainable mobility are now the focus of initiatives and debates in cities of all sizes – something quite unheard of just a few years ago. Who could have imagined that Granby and Laval would establish incentive programs for purchasing bicycles and e-bikes? Yet here we are! And in the face of the outcry from small merchants on 3rd Avenue in Québec City, who could have predicted the development of bicycle lanes, as provided in the City’s initial plan? But that’s exactly what happened.
This list of initiatives – both large and small – may get longer. We were made aware of this during the BICYCLE FRIENDLY movement forum last September in Laval. Québec’s third-largest city, which until quite recently was often singled out for its shortcomings in the area of biking, is now in the big leagues. The configuration of boulevards is being reviewed for purposes of integrating bus lanes and protected bike paths. This is not happening without gnashing of teeth, but it is happening. This is the kind of political will that will make Québec a more sustainable world where community interests are at the heart of decision-making.
As the year comes to a close, I wish you health, happiness and many kilometers of pedaling pleasure in 2019!
Suzanne Lareau
President and CEO