Canadian cities are home to a growing number of bike paths, the use of which is governed by a set of rules, including a 20 km an hour speed limit, signaling audibly when passing, keeping to the right of the lane, yielding the right-of-way and no electric bikes or scooters on the paths.
he law states that cyclists must have a bell and a light if driving after dusk. Biking on the sidewalk is also prohibited. Bikers who break any of the aforementioned rules are subject to fines.
A public bicycle sharing system, Bixi, exists in Ottawa, Montréal, Toronto and Calgary. Vancouver has its own bike share system, called Mobi. These bike-sharing programs are meant for short trips within the city, not for an all-day bike trip. Bikes can be picked up and returned at any Bixi station (or Mobi in Vancouver). Each station has a pay machine, bikes and bike docks where the bikes are housed. Users pay a set fee to access the system, which includes 30 minutes with the bike. Additional charges are incurred for every additional 30 minutes you use the bike. A credit card can be used for the deposit and payment. Bike rentals are also available at a number ofbike shops across Canada. Public transportation systems in most major Canadian cities allow you to board public transit with your bicycle or to place your bike on a rack at the front of the bus.
The National Capital Region has more than 600 km of bike paths, many of them along scenic rivers, wooded areas and canals. Cycling on streets is also permitted. Many routes feature special bike lanes to make commuting safer. In areas without designated bike paths, biking in traffic can be a challenge. But many bikers do it. A map of the City of Ottawa bike paths can be found at www.ottawa.ca, the National Capital Commission under the “Capital Pathways” www.canadascapital.gc.ca or Google Maps. Printed maps are available in information booths along bike trails, tourist/information centres and City Hall and other locations. Bike rental information can be found at: www.rentabike.ca.
Montréal offers cyclists more then 650 km of bicycle lanes, paths and trails, as well as more than 5,000 Bixi bikes. The bikeways are classified according to the level of road sharing with cars: shared lane, adjacent lane on the same road (bike lanes) and bike path. Maps of bike paths can be found at www.ville.montreal.qc.ca under the Quick Links, and at tourist/information centres. Cycling publications and organizations have consistently rated Montréal as one of the top bicycle-friendly cities in the world over the past decade.
Toronto has a large bikeway network with a 563 km mix of bicycle lanes, off-road trails and signed routes. Toronto is easy to access by bike either by cycling in and out using the Waterfront Trail or thanks to the many rail and bus providers that offer bike transportation services. Some of the best trails are the Toronto Islands, Martin-Goodman Trail, Leslie Street Spit, Don Valley and Beltline trails.
Calgary has nearly 800 km of connected pathways along parks and natural areas. In addition, there is a 138 km pathway that loops around Calgary and another 290 km of on-street bikeways. Calgary has the most extensive urban bikeway network in North America. A map of biking paths could be found by entering “Bike Maps” in the search box at www.calgary.ca
Vancouver is served by a network of over 300 km of on- and off-road bicycle routes. Most of the routes are local street bikeways, also known as bike boulevards. In the downtown core, about half the population gets around by walking and cycling. The Central Valley Greenway, a 25-kilometre green bicycle corridor, forms a regional connection linking downtown Vancouver to Burnaby and New Westminster.