Viewpoint : NOVEMBER 2014

Mountain biking: Montréal must follow the example

The sport of urban mountain biking must be demystified. Major cities like New York and Toronto offer dozens of kilometers of marked trails spread over several sites. In Québec, mountain biking facilities are available in Sherbrooke, Victoriaville and Rigaud. However, in Montréal, despite the enormous potential of Mount Royal, some people feel that the trails may be ruined by the presence of cyclists. However, a review of best practices shows us that it is possible to develop sustainable, environmentally friendly mountain bike parks in large urban areas. In fact, the proper design of these sites minimizes the impact on the environment and reduces user-sharing problems.

Vélo Québec feels that Montréal must adopt a mountain biking policy. The development of trails on Mount Royal would resolve the interminable game of cat and mouse between illegal users and municipal authorities. But the City must also develop other sites, such as the Complexe environnemental Saint-Michel, Parc Olympique, Saint-Jacques Escarpment and Parc Jean-Drapeau, in order to reduce pressure on Mont Royal and offer other facilities in Montréal for mountain biking. Since this activity attracts many young people, we would like the City to take a positive approach to monitoring the sport by encouraging them to respect both the environment and other users. This would be far better than banning the sport of mountain biking in Montréal.

A municipal mountain biking policy should also provide for the establishment of a local club to oversee the development, maintenance and use of the trails, as is the case in rural areas. In Montréal, the group Sentiers Royal has shown interest in assuming this role. Vélo Québec is pleased to see that a citizens’ group is rising up to defend its ideas and offer its assistance in finding solutions. We are supporting this group and acting as an intermediary with the municipal administration, in hopes that the dialogue initiated with the City will bear fruit.

Suzanne Lareau
President and CEO