2020 a record year for cycling in Quebec

2020 proved to be a record year for cycling, with bike shops selling out of inventory, and Quebecers purchasing 950,000 bicycles.

According to Velo Quebec, since 2000, the annual average of bikes purchased in the province has stayed around 600,000. Bicycle retail sales (including accessories) soared to $565M last year.

Sales of electric bikes have also been on the rise, and now represent around 8 per cent of all bicycles on Quebec’s roads. In 2020 alone, they represented 26 per cent of adult bicycle sales.

The latest statistics on cycling in Quebec have been published in Velo Quebec’s 2020 report on Cycling in Quebec, which is based on a province-wide survey.

The report also found older Quebecers are cycling a lot more than they were in the 1990s. The province now has 4.5 million cyclists, and the proportion of those cyclists age 55 and older has nearly doubled to 42 per cent since 1995.

For seniors aged 65 to 74, that number has almost tripled, with the proportion of cyclists rising from 12 per cent in 1995, to 34 per cent in 2020.

Velo Quebec also reports 2.7 million people cycle weekly or more often between the months of May and October, and cyclists are also spending an average of 3.3 hours on their bikes each week, averaging around 44 kilometres in distance.

“The appeal of cycling continues to grow, with more and more people across the province choosing it for recreation, transportation and tourism,” said Jean-François Rheault, the head of Velo Quebec. “What’s really exciting is to see past efforts paying off, with progress being made on several fronts, even in the midst of a pandemic.”

The report suggests the transition to working from home in 2020 had an impact on commuter cycling, but cycling was impacted less than other modes of transportation during the pandemic.

It also notes a 34 per cent decrease in the number of accidents between cyclists and motorists, between 2015 and 2020.

Velo Quebec has been publishing its report every five years, since 1995. Later in June it will also release individual reports for Quebec’s largest cities.

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