Viewpoint : May 2013

Montréal: Top North American City

Since 1999, Montréal has been regularly ranked among the most bicycle-friendly cities in North America or the world. This time, it is the Copenhagenize Index that just included Montréal on its top 20 list. But what earned Montréal this honour? Mainly five things: a reliable cycling network throughout the Island, a deeply entrenched biking culture, an effective cyclist lobby, a host of world-renowned cycling events, and the commitment of the Québec government and the City of Montréal to invest in the development of bicycle infrastructures.

If Montréal is performing so well, despite the cycling zeal of several cities like Vancouver, Portland (Oregon), New York and Chicago, it is because the City has been in cycling mode for over 30 years. The first bike path (Lachine Canal) appeared in the late 70s, the bulk of the cycling network was developed in the early 80s, and further expansion began in 2005. The Tour de l’Île, which helped get Quebecers back on their bikes, will celebrate its 30th anniversary in 2014, while BIXI will mark its 5th season!

No, biking in Montréal is not an overnight phenomenon. In fact, this activity, which has become increasingly popular over the past 30 years, is now integrated into the City’s various policies and action plans. This is the formula for biking in Montréal.

There’s still work to be done to make Montréal even more friendly and comfortable for cyclists. But we look to the future with enthusiasm, especially in light of how far we’ve come. We’ve claimed for 30 years that biking is a basic trend and history has proven us right.