Monthly Archives: December 2010

If you build it, they will ride

McGill study shows large increase in cycling in areas where the city has invested in bike paths.  Read the article from the Gazette’s Michelle Lalonde, Dec 24, 2010.

Not even winter  weather can deter city cyclists. Montreal has a 35-kilometre network  of bicycle routes, called the reseau blanc, that is often cleared of  snow during the winter months.

Not even winter weather can deter city cyclists. Montreal has a 35-kilometre network of bicycle routes, called the reseau blanc, that is often cleared of snow during the winter months.

Photograph by: ALLEN MCINNIS, THE GAZETTE, The Gazette

MONTREAL – Bicycle use has increased by as much as 40 per cent since 2008 in areas of Montreal where the city has invested in bike paths or lanes, according to a new McGill University study.

The study, which is to be presented at a major transportation conference in Washington, D.C., next month, used automatic bicycle counters installed at five locations in the Plateau and downtown boroughs to tally passing bicycles between April 2008 and July 2010.

The main objective of the researchers, Luis Miranda-Moreno and Thomas Nosal of McGill’s Department of Civil Engineering and Applied Mechanics, was to examine the impact of weather conditions on bicycle usage. But they also wanted to know whether cycling is on the rise in spots where the city has invested in cycling infrastructure.

The answer to both questions was a resounding “yes.” Not surprisingly, the study showed rain and very humid or cool weather caused dips in cycling levels. But the huge jump in cycling levels over only two seasons surprised the researchers.

“The increase has been enormous,” said Miranda-Moreno. “There are places where congestion (on the cycling routes) will soon be a problem.”

Ridership at the five locations went up by 20 to 27 per cent from 2008 to 2009, and by 35 to 40 per cent in 2010 compared with 2008, the authors found. The locations monitored were Brébeuf St. between Rachel St. and Marie-Anne St., Berri between de Maisonneuve Blvd. and Ontario St., de Maisonneuve Blvd. between Berri St. and St. Denis St., de Maisonneuve Blvd. between Peel St. and Stanley St., and St. Urbain St. between Mont Royal Ave. and Villeneuve St.

The data were collected using automatic bicycle counters installed and maintained by the City of Montreal. Two counting methods were used; one involving cables installed under the pavement that monitor changes in electrical currents, and another that uses pneumatic tubes to detect changes in pressure when bicycles pass over them. Both can differentiate between car and bicycle traffic.

During the evening rush-hour period, an average of 350 cyclists an hour (April to November) were passing the counting points.

“Montreal’s experience should serve (as an example) for other cities looking to upgrade their cycle facilities and non-motorized infrastructure,” the study concludes.

Darren Becker, a spokesperson for Montreal Mayor Gérald Tremblay, said “these kinds of statistics are music to this administration’s ears.”

“Since he took office in 2002, Mayor Tremblay has had a mission to make Montreal a world leader in bike use. … Residents said, ‘If they build it, we will come,’ so over the course of 2008 to 2010 when this study was being done, we invested $25 million and added 100 kilometres,” to Montreal’s network of painted lanes and physically-separated bike paths, he said.

The bike network is now at 535 kilometres, and the Tremblay administration aims to get the tally to 800 kilometres by the end of 2013, Becker said.

Becker notes the city has also added bike stands that provide space for 2,000 bikes, and now provides a “réseau blanc,” a smaller 35-kilometre network of bike routes that are often cleared of snow during winter months. (Boroughs have been directed to clear 35 kilometres of bike lanes and paths throughout the winter months, once streets and sidewalks are cleared.)

The Bixi bike sharing service has also contributed substantially to the increase in bicycle use in the central boroughs, the study’s authors suggested.

“This is great news in the sense that Bixi was set up by the city of Montreal because we want people to choose active and non-polluting forms of transportation,” said Bixi spokesperson Bérengère Thériault.

She noted that 3.3 million bike trips were taken on Bixi bikes in 2010 and a Bixi-commissioned survey showed that 23 per cent of those trips would otherwise have been by car, taxi or another motorized means of transport.

© Copyright (c) The Montreal Gazette



See the following web-site for a great way to make your winter biking safer- and without needing to buy winter tires!


Fietsberaard is the bicycle council of Holland, a good site for all kinds of topics on bicycling.  Of course, a lot of the site is in Dutch but there are interesting topics in English.  This is their Dec newsletter.

Monday 20 December 2010


New in the Knowledge Bank

The knowledge bank of the Fietsberaad tries to present the most complete overview of information relating to cycling and associated subjects.

The most relevant documents as well as the summaries of many other documents have therefore been translated into English. A selection of recent documents:

Article Interventions to promote cycling: systematic review
Lin Yang and others , British Medical Journal – 2010
Study to determine what interventions are effective in promoting cycling, the size of the effects of interventions, and evidence of any associated benefits on overall physical activity or anthropometric measures.

Article Infrastructure, programs, and policies tot increase cycling: An international review
John Pucher, Jennifer Dill, Susan Handy , Preventive Medicine 50 (2010)
Assessment of existing research on the effects of various interventions on levels of bicycling.

Report Making a Cycling Town: a compilation of practitioners’ experiences from the Cycling Demonstration Towns programme.
Cycling England , Department for Transport
Recommendations for development and delivery of a town-wide programme to promote cycling, developed from the lessons learnt working with the six Cycling Demonstration Towns.

Report Analysis and synthesis of evidence on the effects of investment in six Cycling Demonstration Towns
Sloman L, Cavill N, Cope A, Muller L and Kennedy A , Cycling England
This paper provides a summary of evidence on changes in cycling and physical activity in six towns following the first phase of the Cycling Demonstration Town investment programme.

Read more…

Visit the Netherlands

If you want to learn more about –Dutch – bicycle policies, directly from Dutch cycling experts, Fietsberaad International is ready to meet your needs.

Prepare your visit

A list of the best Dutch towns on cycling..
Read more…

Organize your visit

We are happy to invite you to visit the Netherlands,
Read more…

Invite Dutch experts

Fietsberaad International also has at its disposal a group of Dutch cycling experts, our ‘bicycle ambassadors’ who are prepared to visit you.
Read more..


Fietsberaad is an expertise centre for cycling policy.
The objective of Fietsberaad is the development, dissemination ans exchange of practical knowledge abd experience for cycling policy.


You can reach Fietsberaad through the international co-ordinator, Hans Voerknecht.
T: +31(0)30 – 2918203

Gebouw Leeuwenstein
Jaarbeursplein 15
3521 AM Utrecht

Messages, tips, reports, brochures etc. for this newsletter can be send to the editor of this newsletter, Ron Hendriks:


You can subscribe for this free e-newsletter via this link:


Successful tour of US and Canada by Dutch bike experts

Recently Dutch bike experts have paid a visit to four cities in Canada and the US to debate and explain opportunities to increase bicycle use there. They received a warm welcome.

Read more »

Amsterdam bicycle promotion

Amsterdam has made a beautiful promotional video, depicting both the town and cycling. Subtitled in English, the video has already reached a considerable number of foreign websites.
Read more »

Austrian supermarket focuses on cyclists

In Austria supermarket chain Spar has provided its branches of bicycle with bicycle stands, in cooperation with Vienna local authorities. This concerned 650 bicycle parking spaces overall. In addition a number of branches will be provided with charger facilities for electric bikes.

Read more »

France requires bicycle parking at residences

As of 2012 new residences in France are to be equipped with a covered or safe place to park a bicycle. Charge facilities for electric bicycles will be required as well.
Read more »

Cycle against obesity

The evidence that cycling is good for your health is piling up. Recently a publication in the American Journal of Public Health has underlined this: the more trips on foot or by bicycle, the lower the number of obese people.

Read more »

Health advantages of town cycling outweigh risks

Despite all the dangers a cyclist may encounter in traffic, it is still healthier by far to abandon the car in favour of cycling. This is the conclusion drawn by IRAS (Institute for Risk Assessment Sciences) of Universiteit Utrecht and Planbureau voor de Leefomgeving (PBL).
Read more »

Increase in cycling conducive to public health, despite extra traffic casualties

If 10 per cent of short car trips (up to 7.5 km) are replaced by bicycle trips, the number of traffic fatalities in the Netherlands will increase by 4 to 8. There will be an additional 500 serious casualties. But as more exercise is conducive to public health, an increase in cycling leads to improved public health overall.

Read more »

Trauma units call for bicycle helmets

Use of a bicycle helmet leads to a reduction by 63% to 88% of the risk of head injuries. An obligation to wear a bicycle helmet will meet with much resistance from interest groups. Yet trauma units emphasize that a helmet may reduce head and brain injuries particularly in children.
Read more »

Parking garage becomes colourful bicycle parking

How to transform a multi-storey parking garage into a bicycle parking – in Breda the basement of the Concordia garage has had a complete makeover. Not only by the placement of bicycle stands, but the grey concrete was transformed by colourful furnishings with pictures referring to the town’s history. The new bicycle parking provides room for 420 bicycles.

Read more »

Part-time parking on car spaces

Quite a number of bicycles fit onto a car parking space, as revealed by this demonstration – with folding bicycles. The GroenLinks political party, part of the Amsterdam council, feels that more often parking spaces should be adapted to use by bicycles, if necessary part-time only at busy locations in the country’s capital .

Read more »

Students as role models

This summer, on the eve of the Tour de France start in Rotterdam, some 500 first-grade students of seven secondary schools participated in a four-week competition to cycle the highest number of kilometres. Ultimately they covered 54,000 kilometres.

Read more »

Test for new blind-corner solution

the German town of Flensburg a new warning system for blind-corner accidents is being tested. A flashing light warns car drivers making a right turn when cyclists are approaching from behind.

Read more »




Cleaning Westmount’s bike path of snow is not a priority

The state of the Westmount portion of the de Maisonneuve bike path is dismal following a snow storm a week ago.  The path has snow plowed onto it from the sidewalks and roads.  Streets, sidewalks and lanes have been cleared but not the path. Westmount has decided to keep the path open for the winter on a trial basis but is putting this trial basis at risk. The following note written on Dec 17, 2010 is from a member of the WWCA concerning the cleaning of the path.  It could be called “A Tale of Two Cities”

The Westmount cycling path along deMaisonneuve east of Westmount Park was half in a passable state, half ploughed in with vehicular snow between Melville and Greene.   The usual margin of safety between traveling cars and myself did not exist because of the half ploughed in state of the winter cycling path.

The real nightmare was between Greene and Atwater whose cycling path was nearly completely ploughed in with vehicular snow and on top of that had enormous piles of obstructing snow laid right across the path in seven locations.   The idea of Safe Passage had been reduced to zero.

The de Maisonneuve path in Montreal had been ploughed clear of snow and somewhat salted and sanded.  It was in very good shape, not excellent, but very good.  This condition had existed since at least Tuesday evening when I remarked on its condition on returning from skiing on Mont Royal.

This state of affairs has continued even after the number of emails I sent to Councillors Ikeman, Samiotis, and Duncan, and Mayor Trent.   Only Councillor Ikeman had the courtesy to respond, albeit with less than encouraging news for winter cycling.