A recently announced project to add 26 kilometres of bike paths over the next two years is one of the ways the City of Montreal has been trying to improve its cycling network by making bike paths wider and more secure at intersections. While cyclists applaud the initiative, they say more needs to be done.
The SAAQ says that road injuries involving cyclists have been declining in the last two years. Jacques Quevillon, the owner of Velo Montreal, said the condition of the bike paths is a bigger issue than the security of users.
“It’s really good to have that initiative towards cyclists, anything positive for cyclists is always welcome,” he said, adding that the asphalt needs repair and it causes a lot of cyclists to take roads that don’t have designated bike lanes.
The city has allocated $15 million to expand and improve the bike lane system, which currently has 876 km, by 2021.
“After waiting for two years we are finally seeing positive results from this administration,” said Magali Brebonne, program organizer at Velo Quebec. She said the city has a hard time keeping up with the fact that urban cycling has become more popular over the years and will keep growing as a mode of transportation.
Numerous people use bike paths for various reasons, from going to work to staying healthy. The option of renting a bike with membership along the network is also appealing to some. “Having a bike rental service is a great idea...I’m able to bike to work and back,” said cyclist Annick Leduc.
Avid bike lane users say the condition of the paths needs improvement while commuters appreciate the convenience given the size of the island’s cycling network. Cyclists are a part of Montreal like a lot of cities around the world. Improving the network is an ambitious project but like anything else it will need constant maintenance, cyclists say.