Sunday, September 20, 2009

Biking in Quebec and cycling deaths


It seems we cannot watch the news without hearing of yet another cyclist killed. Either they are sharing a lane with a bus, or hit by a car it is disturbing at best. City council seems unable to come up with a meaningful solution and the Police are giving out free bells.

Today I had a wonderful cycle trip along La Route Verte, which is a bike trail system in Quebec. I cycled along the highway 148 from Masson to Thurso en route to le parc national de Plaisance. Highway 148 is a very busy narrow highway but the Quebec government has simply paved a shoulder all along in both directions. I cycled as transport trucks and cars roared past me. Not one car honked their horn, nor did I hear "Get off the road". I did not have to share the road, I was on a paved designated shoulder and there were signs everywhere urging motorists to share the road.

Why can't Ontario adopt such a simple solution? It is not expensive, does not require the roads to be widened and allows cyclists to use busy highways. La Route verte is only one of the large cycling systems in Quebec and it extends from the Ottawa area all the way into Gaspe. It is well marked and there is ample information for lodgings that are bike friendly.

While Ontario and in particular, Ottawa city council appears blocked, it seems that one possible solution would be to simply imitate a system like La Route verte.

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