Changing the world, one pedal stroke at a time

Suzanne Lareau
January 1, 2020

This newsletter was being written just as the disappointing – to say the least – conclusions of the UN Climate Change Conference COP 25 were being revealed. More than ever, we understand the importance of thinking globally and acting locally. While this may not resolve the issue of countries without the resources to fight the climate crisis, it at least allows us in the short term – one pedal stroke at a time – to improve the record of Québec and Canada and continue the significant efforts being made to educate our citizens about this issue.

Even though Vélo Québec is not necessarily considered an environmental organization, many of our actions are directly linked to improving the climate. We take the attitude that any action that generates bike travel, especially as a replacement for motorized travel, represents a gain for society – whether by providing municipalities with the technical tools necessary to promote and support active travel, encouraging young people to adopt the bicycle as a safe, fun way to get to school (through the Cycliste averti program), or creating events (e.g.: Go Bike Montréal Festival) that often trigger more sustainable commuting habits. In short, all these actions can be labelled “GOOD FOR THE CLIMATE!”.

In addition, we reminded the Québec government in 2019 about the role it can play by putting forward measures to encourage more people to adopt biking and sustainable transportation. Working on the Sustainable Mobility Policy and the Plan d’électrification et de changements climatiques (PECC) was an opportunity for us to highlight the importance of improving funding programs allowing municipalities to develop cycling infrastructures. We are talking about a target of $100 million annually, shared between the Québec government and the federal infrastructure programs.

We also proposed that bikes, e-bikes and cargo bikes (electric or not) be included in the category for vehicles eligible for financial assistance ($500) of the Roulez vert and Transportez vert programs. Lastly, we reintroduced the idea of a tax-free cycling kilometric allowance for home-work travel by bike. This idea, which is becoming widespread in France and many European countries, is now an attractive option for local employers wishing to encourage sustainable transportation.

The current Québec government likes concrete ideas – and the ones we put forward are exactly that. Relatively simple and inexpensive, they offer high potential for positive results. Since the government is well aware that it must do more to fight climate change, why not devote the second year of its mandate to making these ideas a reality?

Look forward to crossing bike paths in 2020!

Suzanne Lareau
President and CEO