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Vélo Québec Association reveals the results of the quinquennial study Bicycling in Québec in 2005

>> par Vélo Québec Association  Montréal, Thursday, June 8, 2006 — Vélo Québec Association today released the results of its study Bicycling in Québec in 2005, which provides an overall portrait of cycling in Québec at the present time.

“This study clearly attests to the sustained enthusiasm for cycling among the people of Québec,” said Jean-François Pronovost, executive director of Vélo Québec Association. “Although cycling has become slightly less popular among people in certain age groups since 1995, particularly among 18 to 24 year olds, the overall cycling presence is stronger than ever.”

The main findings of the current study include the following:
1. The number of committed cyclists increased between 2000 and 2005, climbing from 31 to 33% of adults aged 18 to 74. This accounts for the presence of more cyclists on our roads.
2. The number of cyclists aged 65 to 74 has more than doubled over the past 10 years. The proportion of cyclists in this age group increased from 12% in 1995 to 21% in and to 25% in 2005.
3. Over a million people in Québec at least occasionally rely on their bicycles as a means of transportation. This includes one out of six adults (16% of 18-74 year olds) and one out of three young adults (33%), as well as the 75,000 children who cycle to school. In 2000, 10% of adults used the bicycle as a means of transportation.
4. Almost one out of three adults (30%) cycles frequently enough to improve their health. For one out of eight adults (13%), cycling alone is associated with a sufficient amount of activity to maintain their fitness level between May and September.

Interestingly, the publication of this third edition of Bicycling in Québec coincides with the 10th anniversary of the Transports Québec cycling policy. Launched in June 1995, this policy reflects a favourable attitude toward cycling that can be summed up by one of its key objectives: “The ongoing promotion of the use of the bicycle as a means of transportation.”

“This policy undoubtedly helped to clarify role of Transports Québec with regard to cycling and to begin to change perceptions within the public administration,” asserted Jean-François Pronovost. “Take the example of the Route verte. Even though it is first and foremost a bicycle touring route, the planning and development of this infrastructure since 1995 has had a major impact on the development of the entire bicycle network, which has tripled in size over this period, increasing in length from 2,300 to 6800 kilometres. Often regarded as a major cycling axis, the Route verte has allowed numerous municipalities to launch initiatives designed to promote active living.”

The Route verte has also led Transport Québec and its regional directorates to adopt new planning practices when redeveloping certain infrastructures. “Furthermore, the expansion of the bicycle network, both the Route verte itself and related projects, clearly helped to improve the road safety record of cyclists between 1995 to 2000 and continues to do so,” Pronovost added.

Cycling is a form of physical activity that is accessible to almost everyone, whether they ride through a local park, vacation by bicycle or rely on cycling as a means of active transportation. The development of a basic bicycle network has allowed a significant portion of the population to take up this activity while making it easier for existing cyclists to maintain their level of activity.

“Additional facilities are required to provide for the development of cycling in Québec, particularly in terms of the roadway environment in our towns and cities,” maintained Jean-François Pronovost. “One of the findings of Bicycling in Québec is unequivocal in this regard: automobile traffic discourages 56% of people in Québec from cycling. This doesn’t mean we have to build bikeways alongside all 130,000 kilometres of the road network, but rather better integrate more effective facilities for pedestrians and cyclists into public roads and improve the behaviour of all roadway users.”

Vélo Québec Association, a non-profit organization, is dedicated to encouraging and facilitating the free and safe use of the bicycle for recreation, tourism and transportation, by focussing on the improvement and protection of rural and urban living environments. Vélo Québec Association is part of Vélo Québec, which also includes Vélo Québec Éditions, Vélo Québec Événements and Vélo Québec Voyages.

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