This morning, I listened to the Vinyl Café podcast from this past weekend. One of the many features of this show that I enjoy and appreciate is Stuart McLean’s weekly introduction, in which he describes a positive feature of the city or town where they recorded the show. This week, the show was recorded in Montréal and Stuart raved about Montréal’s fabulous biking infrastructure and culture. Among the statistics he mentioned are that that the island of Montréal has over 700 km of bike lanes and paths in its various municipalities and that 40% of the bikes sold in Canada are sold in Québec. (If that second figure is correct, it truly is impressive, since only about 23% of the Canadian population lives in Québec.) He also mentioned how wonderful it is that when spring arrives in Montréal, large numbers of cyclists appear on the road. Moreover, he mentioned the diverse kinds of people who take up cycling; I agree that encouraging a wide range of cyclists to use the roads is a necessary and positive feature of any city that wants to be cycle friendly.
Stuart recognized that Montréal is not a cycling utopia, and that there are problems associated with the cycling infrastructure and how it is used there: snow plowing bike lanes and paths is a problem in winter, lots of cyclists endanger themselves and pedestrians by riding on sidewalks or without helmets, and Bixi Bikes excludes people who don’t have credit cards (i.e. the poor and other marginalized people). But it’s nice to hear about cities that are trying to make themselves better; they deserve the encouragement of having their positive accomplishments highlighted and celebrated.
Congratulations to Montréal, and thanks to Stuart.