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For #1 Best Cycling City In North America, Montreal Still Sucks For Cyclists

Just months after being named the "Best Cycling City in North America," Montreal citizens are calling on the city to better the cycling infrastructure.

While there's no question that Montreal offers up a lot for those of us that like to opt for two-wheeled transportation, but that doesn't mean there still isn't a lot of room for improvement.

The major issue that Montreal faces now, as a "Cycling City," is that in creating space for cyclists, you must also be prepared for an increase in cyclists. Seems logical, but it takes time.

The major problem that cyclists in Montreal are facing nowadays is the sheer volume of bikes on the road, particularly at peak rush-hour times of day.

The video below highlights the issue perfectly:

David Beitel is currently researching pedestrian and cyclist safely and flows at McGill and he took this video on Saint Urbain where cyclists outnumber the cars but are constricted to the small bike lane.

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A subsequent video, taken a couple weeks later shows the same issue on Parc, at evening rush hour. The issue here is not only the cyclist congestion but also other issues presented by the intersection.

Beitel explains, "I think it shows a few issues. Firstly, bicycle flows on our cycling infrastructure continue to rise; at peak period cyclists face congestion just as motorists and transit users do.

Secondly, traffic signals phasing (the amount of time devoted to each direction of travel) needs updating at many intersections to reflect growing cyclist traffic and vulnerable user safety. 

If the city wants to promote cycling and walking, more bike paths and better signal phasing for cyclists and [pedestrians] are a good way to start."

On his blog,, Beitel presents several examples of cities that are doing it right.

[rebelmouse-image 26890675 photo_credit="Davis Enterprise" expand=1 original_size="2059x1159"] Davis Enterprise

One in particular that caught my eye was a "protected intersection" - the first of its kind in North America - which has been built in California and can be seen above.

The protected intersection allows for more visibility of cyclists, but also protects cyclists from rampant right-turns, often the cause of vehicle-cycle collisions.

There's no question that Montreal is bike-friendly... but it's time to take it to the next level. Let's make it official. Montreal needs to enter into a real romance with cycling infrastructure, so we see fewer stories like this...

And more stories like this...

What would you change about your cycling experience in Montreal?

Let us know by sending us a tweet @mtlblog.

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