“Enormous” potential for cycling in Quebec

The signs don’t lie, cycling is popular in Quebec. People of all ages enjoy this practice. Passion, for many, develops at a very young age. A trend which tends to increase with the development of the cycle network and the growth of active mobility in general, including the popularity of the electrically assisted bike-sharing service.

At the Saint-Paul-Apôtre primary school in Limoilou, where there is no school transport, “the racks by bike are full every morning,” confirms a parent of a student we met on the 8th Avenue cycle path.

“There is a strong propensity for families to come [à l’école] by bike,” says Flora Charlet.

Interest in active mobility education

It’s not just the bike workshops that are “in the juice” right now, at the start of spring. Requests are pouring in from everywhere for road safety education training, offered directly in primary school classes by Accès transports viable. Young people learn to recognize road signs, as well as good practices for getting around on foot, by bike or even in a small car. ” It’s really super cute [de les voir aller] », observes the general director of the organization, Marie-Soleil Gagné.

“Actually, it turns out it’s [les formations] so popular that we are not meeting demand at the moment. »

A cycling culture to develop

Responsible for active mobility on the executive committee of the City of Quebec, Pierre-Luc Lachance argues that we must invest in popular education for toddlers, in order to encourage travel by bicycle to schools.

“For us, it’s [important] to bring this culture very early in the journey of young people, from primary school. »

Thus, if the children take “the right tricks”, the rest “will follow”, estimates the elected representative of Saint-Roch–Saint-Sauveur. The young people will then adopt good cycling behavior and will be able to teach it to other people later.

“I remember accompanying my cousin with my little bike. I was young when I learned to ride a bike, says Mr. Lachance, himself a utility and sports cyclist. Necessarily, when I arrived at secondary school (…) and we had a little less than two kilometers to walk to get to the high school, well we did it by bike, worse we did it for four seasons. »

Potential

The development of a network of secure lanes dedicated to cyclists, the Vélocité corridors, also suggests great potential for utility cycling in Quebec.

“The end we have [du lien cyclable] from chemin Sainte-Foy, what I hope for in the future, I would like it to go as far as Laval University, in the Cégep Sainte-Foy area. (…) If it could extend to the west, I would find it really great,” expresses a resident of the Saint-Sacrement district, Maxime Turgeon.

Utility cycling is beneficial for mental and physical health, for the environment, for social life, for the wallet, etc.
Photo credit: Thomas Verret

In its vision of active mobility 2023-2027, the City plans to complete the cycle path on Chemin Sainte-Foy, from the gates of Old Quebec, to Laval University.

“ [Dans le secteur de l’Université Laval]there is excitement, incredible potential,” says Pierre-Luc Lachance.

“Thousands of students want to change their behavior, but like everyone else, want to do it in a way that keeps them safe. I don’t know many students who are happy to pay parking permits to park their car for three hours to go study. The world would much rather make an economic choice and invest their money elsewhere. The bike can help you make this choice,” says the elected official from Quebec, strong and proud.

For its part, Access viable transports notes an “appetite” for cycling in Quebec. “We see it with the àVélo service and the cycle link on Chemin Sainte-Foy (…) when the infrastructure and services are there, people are there all the time,” notes DG Marie-Soleil Won.
Photo credit: Thomas Verret

Road safety

Safe infrastructure can therefore encourage cycling. This is the objective, among other things, of the four-season protected cycle link, which will see the light of day this summer on rue Marie-de-l’Incarnation. The future Vélocité de la Pente-Douce corridor will adequately connect the Saint-Sacrement and Saint-Sauveur districts, linking two solitudes.

“For the good majority of cyclists, improving this connection, upper town/lower town, will be really very beneficial,” estimates Maxime Turgeon, also a member of the neighborhood council bicycle consultation table.

Another example is the establishment, about a year ago, of a one-way street and the construction of an elevated cycle path on 8th Avenue, near the Saint-Paul-Apôtre school, Cégep Limoilou and the Limoilou Vocational Training Center. The new developments help to calm this residential sector of the Lairet district, to secure active travel, including those of bicycles, pedestrians, scooters, etc. By necessity, there are also fewer cars on this portion of 8th Avenue.

“Tse, it’s wide, the path for pedestrians and that for cyclists, worse I think it’s really good practice too, in light, to have a light for pedestrians and a light for cyclists,” maintains Flora Charlet.

“Even if it is not always necessarily respected, it explains to cyclists that it is the priority of pedestrians first and then the cyclist, to go from the most vulnerable user to the automobile, which is much less so. »

The City has added signage to make cyclists aware of the new cycling lights.
Photo credit: Thomas Verret

In the next ten years, the Marchand administration aims to develop 150 kilometers of Vélocité corridors. This year, the City is also carrying out a project linking Charlesbourg to the city center (Saint-Roch). In the future, the Municipality also intends to complete the axis from Pente-Douce to Vanier, ensure a connection to the rest of the network via Pierre-Bertrand Boulevard, to access peri-urban neighborhoods located further north, and more Again.

“We are working on the utility bike, traveling to work. It’s really promising,” considers Ms. Charlet.

“This is what will cause the car modal share to decrease. »

A cyclist walks in front of Cégep Limoilou, on 8th Avenue.
Photo credit: Thomas Verret

Mechanical link

On the other hand, the coastal aspect of a municipality like Quebec constitutes a barrier to active mobility, hence the importance of developing adequate infrastructure, in particular a mechanical link between the upper town and the lower town, for people who are not cycling experts with legs of steel or for other types of users.

“We continue to think about our mechanical link, it is still part of the elements that we want to work on in our vision of active mobility (…) to also meet other needs, such as a mother with her stroller, a person with a four-wheeler,” says Pierre-Luc Lachance, municipal councilor responsible for transport and active mobility.

May, cycling month

Finally, go to the Accès transports viable website to consult the program for Quebec Bike Month.

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