Viewpoint : November 2019

Mouvement VÉLOSYMPATHIQUE:
More relevant than ever


Two weeks ago, the Forum VÉLOSYMPATHIQUE, organized by Vélo Québec under the theme Accélérer le movement (Accelerate the movement) took place in Bromont. About one hundred elected officials and professional from the municipal sector were there to discuss and share their strategies for making biking a real transportation and recreation option in their community.
 
The Mouvement VÉLOSYMPATHIQUE, which we launched in 2015, is an adaptation of the Bicycle Friendly America program, created in 1980 by The League of American Bicyclists, and implemented in Ontario by the Share the Road Cycling Coalition about ten years ago. When considering a name for this program in French, we decided on Mouvement VÉLOSYMPATHIQUE. Our hope at the time was that things would move more quickly on the ground, making it easier for elected officials and municipal teams to intervene. We hoped for the creation of a movement that would generate new supporters and achievements every year.
 
By taking part in the Forum VÉLOSYMPATHIQUE, I observed not only that this movement has been created, but that it is being embraced by the municipal sector. Listening to Suzanne Roy, Mayor of Sainte-Julie, and Louis Villeneuve, Mayor of Bromont, I said to myself: “We’ve done it! We’ve made the municipalities realize that it is in their interest to join this initiative and strive to create cities on a human scale.” A new generation of elected officials is now in charge of the cities. Municipal employees, professionals and technicians have become veritable cycling and active mobility ambassadors in all municipalities - large and small.
 
We have always strongly urged the governments of Québec and Canada to invest further in biking – and we will continue to do so. Nevertheless, the role of the municipal government – the local government – is crucial, since it is involved at the grassroots level and can make us want to walk or pedal when leaving home each morning.
 
Be an ambassador of the Mouvement VÉLOSYMPATHIQUE in your community. Encourage your municipality to join, if it hasn’t already, by submitting a certification application by April 3, 2020.
 
Suzanne Lareau
President and CEO