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Cycling is even more popular in Québec

>> par Vélo Québec  September 12th, 2001- Better equipped and more active cyclists, and a booming cycling industry: the cycling culture is solidly imbedded in Québec, as confirmed by the State of cycling in Québec in 2000. The study, undertaken by Vélo Québec in collaboration with the ministère des Transports du Québec, reveals that one Quebecer out of two has used a bike in 2000. This represents 53% of people aged 6 to 74, about 3,5 million people.

“Cycling keeps getting more popular in Québec, states Jean-François Pronovost, director of Vélo Québec. With 750 bikes for 1000 inhabitants, Québec is close to European countries that are traditionally cycling nations, like Denmark and the Netherlands (1000 bikes/1000 inhabitants)”. Today we can estimate that there are 5,5 million bikes in Québec, compared to 5 million in 1995.

This increase also comes with a more frequent use of the bicycle. So, since 1977, the number of adults who use a bike at least once a week has almost doubled, going from 0,9 million to 1,7 million. The increase is particularly notable with cyclists older than 45, and notably with the 65 to 74 age group (21% of cyclists in 2000 compared to 12% in 1995). On the other hand, a decrease in cycling has been reported with young adults. The popularity of cycling for the 18-24 age group has gone from 76 to 58% and from 67 to 58% with the 25-34 age group. We might think that this decrease is part of a generalised decrease of physical activity with youths.

The popularity of cycling is directly linked to the ongoing development and improvement of cycling infrastructures. From 1987 to 2000, the Québec cycling network has gone from 800 km to 5 000 km. Cyclists ride on other terrain than roads almost half of the time (47%), either on cycling paths or mountain paths.

The progress of cycling infrastructures has positive effects on the practice of cycling trips in Québec. In 2000, 190 000 people have been on a cycling trip, compared to only 150 000 in 1995. “This is even more encouraging because cycling travellers spend twice as much than regular tourists (108$/day compared to 52$/day), states Jean-François Pronovost. The availability of quality cycling travel products has increased in the last few years. By continuing in this direction, we can expect significant economic effects for the tourism industry, but also for the cycling industry.

Québec’s cycling industry is already showing positive results. In 2000, 900 000 bikes were made in Québec (compared to 800 000 in 1995), representing 85 % of Canadian production. Procycle, Victoria Precision and Raleigh, the three main manufacturers of Québec bicycles, make up 80 % of Canadian production between themselves. There are 700 retailers in Québec, about three times as much per capita than in the U.S. Quebecers are indeed the North American champions of bike and accessory purchases. Annual spending is about 26$ per person in Québec, compared to 21$ in Canada and only 14,5$ in the U.S.

Concerned with the improvement of cycling in Québec, the main manufacturers of bikes and accessories in Québec (Louis Garneau Sports, Procycle, Victoria Precision, R.T. Raleigh and Giraff) are involved in the promotion of la Route verte and its Internet site at . La Route verte is a cross-Québec cycling itinerary which will allow cyclists, once it is completed, to cross the province from East to West and North to South.
Over 2 400 km of the 4 300 km predicted for 2005 have already been completed. “This major project will make the province a choice destination for all cycling travellers in Québec, but also from North America and Europe, states Jean-François Pronovost. There is no doubt that the project will incite people who would not usually do so to take a cycling holiday”.

The state of cycling in Québec in 2000, replacing the State of cycling in Québec from 1995-1996, is an initiative of Vélo Québec. It came to be with the use of several inventories, counting exercises and polls, notably two polls undertaken in the fall of 2000 by the Echo Sondage firm: The state of cycling practices in Québec in 2000, and The practice of bike travelling in Québec.

This study was made possible by the ministère des Transports, the City of Montreal, Tourisme Québec, la Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec and la Communauté urbaine de Québec. The complete research report is available on Velo Québec’s Website.
Vélo Québec is a non-profit organization who aims to encourage and facilitate the free and safe practice of cycling by putting the emphasis on the improvement of quality of life and the protection of life and the protection of both rural and urban environments.

• The state of cycling in Québec in 2001:

THE KEY NUMBERSw 61% of Quebecers own a bike
• There are 5,5 million bikes in Québec, of which 4,2 million are adult bikes and 1,3 are children’s bikes
• 77% of households have at least one bike
• The Québec cycling and accessories market is of 193 million dollars.
• Cyclists ride on average 37 km a week
• 47% of cycling is done on paths where automobiles aren’t allowed
• 20% of cyclists use their bike as a means of transportation, at least on occasion
• There are 750 bikes per 1000 inhabitants in Quebec, compared to 1000 bikes per 1000 inhabitants in Denmark and the Netherlands, but only 400 bikes per 1000 inhabitants in France and Great-Britain.

2000 1995
6-17 years 76% 73%
18-24 years 58% 76 %
25-34 years 58% 67%
35-44 years 60% 55%
45-54 years 44% 47 %
55-64 years 41% 34%
65-74 years 21% 12%
* Have used a bike in 2000

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