Municipalities across Canada are making progress to encourage cycling and make it safer to ride. Recent federal investments, such as the Active Transportation Fund, are accelerating the pace of critically important bicycle facilities (e.g. bike lanes, cycle tracks, etc.) that provide demarcated space for bikes apart from motor vehicles. Cycling facilities offer a huge bang for the buck, especially compared to big-ticket transportation items like highways and subways.
This commitment to cycling infrastructure is supported by a growing body of knowledge that demonstrates, amongst other things that:
- If people are provided with a safe place to ride, they will ride. In the Netherlands, for example, with its extensive bike lane networks, 28% of daily trips are by bike, compared to 1.4% in Canada.
- Bike lanes make streets safer for all road users. Bike lanes also offer important, yet often overlooked, connections for people to get to/from transit.
- Substantial increases in cycling occur in cities that install bike lanes.
- The potential for shifting driving trips is huge, especially in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA). “GTHA residents take 14 million trips every day to travel to various destinations… 4.35 million trips [are under 5 km and] can be considered potentially cyclable trips, which is one-third (i.e., 33%) of all trips…”