The bicycle is one of the most popular pastimes in Quebec, Canada. Moreover, with 750 bikes per 1,000 inhabitants, Quebec's biking environment looks like that of northern European countries.
A great admirer of biking and creator of the informational website ADN du Velo, Jean-Pierre Huot remarks on the growing interest of the people of Quebec in the two-wheeled fixture. "You just need to look at the statistics of Velo Quebec; the growth is there." He notes an exponential rise in events related to biking. Furthermore, the summer calendar on his website counts 106 participatory events (not including competitive events). "This was not the case a year ago. It's constantly growing. There is a great demand," he indicated.
Biking Amongst Youth
The rate of cycling is 84% among children and teenagers, with 612,000 bikers between six and seventeen years old biking at least one time per week during the summer season. Sixty-one percent of young people use a bike, at least on occasion, in order to visit friend's houses or to go out. This practice varies according to each age group.
A little less than one in five children use their bikes to get to school on occasion. In order to get primary and secondary school children to make active transportation part of their daily routine, Velo Quebec has created A pied, a velo, ville active. This program promotes active transportation while facilitating active trips for children and their parents from home to school to work, and facilitates the creation of secure environments in order to give precedence to active transport for all citizens.
For young people, Velo Quebec unfortunately notes that the older they get, the less they bike. We hope that a move toward other activities can explain this decrease, but the data does not allow us to know this.
The Bike as a Means of Transportation
More than just a sport or pastime, the bike also allows for travel (without greenhouse gas emissions). The number of people using the bike as a means of transport has doubled between 2000 and 2010. Velo Quebec counts 1.3 million adults and 600,000 children using the bike as a means of transport. From May to September, for 372,000 adults, it’s even the main form of transport.
In its report on the state of biking in Quebec in 2010, the organization Velo Quebec indicated that "over the last five years, the growth of the population and governments in regards to health, the environment and sustainable mobility have contributed to redefining the place of the bike in Quebec's way of life."
Some statistics ...
- In 2010, there were four million bikers in Quebec;
- There are around six million bikes, including over one million children's bikes;
- The percentage of bikers is 84% among children and teenagers;
- Between May and September, young people devote 3.5 hours per week to biking;
- More than half the adult population bikes.
Quebec’s bike network extends more than 9,000 km. The bikers of Quebec journey 1,940,000,000 km per year. Therefore, the bikers of Quebec bike 145,000,000 km each week. This is equivalent, in rough terms, to the distance between the Earth and the Sun!
Has a biking boom occurred in your city? Why or why not do you think this has happened?
Original article, originally published in French, here.
Credits: Images and data linked to sources.