Gender Equity and Cycling in Canada: Background information and Literature Summary

Gender Equity and Cycling in Canada: Background information and Literature Summary



When a country isn’t bike friendly, women are the first to be left behind. Cycling presents a unique opportunity to address a range of economic and practical disadvantages acutely felt by women in society. There is, therefore, an urgent need to make cycling more practical and accessible in Canada – especially for women and girls.

Transportation is currently the top  barrier to education and employment for women. Women are more likely to run errands before/after work. Overall, their travel patterns vary considerably from those of men. As a result, they struggle to integrate within transportation systems planned by men which focus on rush hour trips. Conflicting schedule pattens mean that women are disproportionately affected by seemingly minor details experienced by men: this includes lack of public transport availability at off peak hours and a lack of provision of infrastructure in both suburban and urban areas for modes of travel that require frequent short trips. Men are more likely to drive straight to a single destination while women tend to make more trips with brief stops where additional time lost to parking is relatively inconvenient. The economic and time pressure felt by women is compounded by the fact that women tend to make less money per hour while they are working. Women and girls are also less likely to meet the recommended amounts of physical activity than men and boys due to lower levels of participation in organized sports and other factors, making the moderate physical activity that would arise from the everyday physical activity of cycling disproportionately important for both personal and public health reasons.

All of these factors combine to increase the practicality, desirability and impact of a cost effective and efficient independent transportation solution ideal for medium range distances (1-7km) with little to no operating costs or wasted time from parking. Such functionality is uniquely embodied by bicycles and cargo bikes alone.

This likely explains why, in countries with similar climates that have created the circumstances conducive to safe, convenient and comfortable everyday practical cycling, cycling rates for women are many times higher then we find here, to the point where women outnumber men. In Canada, even though a bicycle would be particularly advantageous for them, women tend not to ride – especially in dense urban neighbourhoods where it would be most practical and where it would offer the most potential to achieve overarching government priorities such as greenhouse gas emission abatement and poverty reduction through increased accessibility.

The solution is almost certainly the provision of safe and comfortable infrastructure.

Women’s perceptions of cycling have additional effects on other demographics since women act as major influencers on those around them. For example, women’s current perception of cycling in general is almost certainly devaluing the bicycle tourism industry in Canada, since women are overwhelmingly the arbiter of a family’s tourism spending and make key travel habit choices during leisure times. The ingrained perceptions of women are also likely having an effect on the intergenerational transmission of transportation habits since women tend to spend more time with younger children and have more influence on large household purchasing decisions (such as automobiles or a housing). Other factors, such as a lack of representation in culture and in the bicycle industry are ancillary compounding factors to be addressed.


VCB calls upon the Government of Canada to invest in cycling to promote gender equity. One way to do this is to support our call for a National Cycling Strategy and dedicated infrastructure funds to support cycling.


Government of Canada sources:

“Wage gap continues – women earn about 80% of men’s full-time, full year wages.”
( Status of Women Canada 2015–16 Departmental Performance Report  – Source )

“On transportation, Canadian households spent an average of $11,909 in 2016, almost the same as 2015. The largest portion ($10,660) went toward private transportation, which includes spending on the purchase of cars, trucks and vans, as well as their operating costs.”  ( Survey of Household Spending, 2016 – Source )

Males were more likely than females to have cycled in the past year (46% versus 34%), regardless of age, income or education. Males residing in population centres were more likely than those in rural areas to cycle; the opposite was true for females, who were more likely than males to report excessive traffic as a barrier to cycling.” (Cycling in Canada – Statistics Canada – Source )

Older senior women are most likely to be limited in their day-to-day travel, either because they are passengers who have no driver’s licence “ ( Profile of Seniors’ Transportation Habits – Statistics Canada  – Source )

“A higher percentage of women drove to schools and daycares and retail establishments as their next stop after leaving home during morning rush hour” ( Trip chaining while driving—comparing men’s and women’s behaviour – Statistics Canada – Source )

A lack of transportation options can be a barrier to the full economic participation of women. Access to public transit systems plays an important role in supporting women’s ability to access the workforce, as well as supporting services and resources, such as health services and childcare. . . . transportation is the number one barrier to … accessing educational opportunities, and accessing employment.” In urban settings, the cost of public transit and the lack of suitable schedules are barriers to the economic participation of women. In northern, rural and remote communities, there is often an absence of public transit which can be a problem for women who may not be able to afford a car.

( Report of the Standing Committee on the Status of Women Women’s Economic Security: Securing The Future Of Canada’s Economy – FEWO – Source )

Recommendation 13

That the Government of Canada expand the eligibility requirements of the Public Transit Infrastructure Fund to include not-for-profit and non‑governmental community transit organizations, where municipally funded transportation services are not available.

( Report of the Standing Committee on the Status of Women Women’s Economic Security: Securing The Future Of Canada’s Economy – FEWO – Source )

Recommendation 14

That the Government of Canada, immediately and on an ongoing basis, increase investment in public transportation that will ensure affordable, accessible, frequent and safe transit services for women.

( Report of the Standing Committee on the Status of Women Women’s Economic Security: Securing The Future Of Canada’s Economy – FEWO – Source )

A public bicycle system is a bank of bicycles that can be picked up  and dropped off at numerous points across an urban area. The bicycles are available  to the general public for short‐term use for free or for a small fee.” ( Bike Sharing Guide – Transport Canada – Source )

“Our MIssion: To serve the public interest through the promotion of a safe and secure, efficient and environmentally responsible transportation system in Canada.

Our Vision: A transportation system in Canada that is recognized worldwide as safe and secure, efficient and environmentally responsible.

Our Raison d’être, Mandate and Role: Who we are and what we do: At Transport Canada, we are responsible for developing and overseeing the Government of Canada’s transportation policies and programs so that Canadians can have access to a transportation system that is:


  • Safe and secure;
  • Green and innovative; and
  • Efficient


( Mission, Vision and Mandate – Transport Canada – Source)

In 2013, the proportion of people who met the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines differs by age and sex.” (Health Status of Canadians 2016: Report of the Chief Public Health Officer – What is influencing our health? – Physical activity – Source)


Velo Canada Bikes Documents:

A particular opportunity for improving mobility exists for Canadian women, who are considerably less likely to ride bicycles than Canadian men. According to North American experts, a major explanatory factor is a lack of safe conditions.” (2018 Pre-Budget Submission – Source)


“The powerful and wide-ranging benefits of cycling relate to numerous critical areas that are clear priorities for

the Government of Canada. These include climate change and the need for low carbon transportation, health,

gender and social equity, reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, tourism and small business.” ( VCB Position Paper – Source )

It ensures that everyone, regardless of their age, ability, gender, economic status or postal code is able to personally enjoy the innumerable benefits of cycling.”
( National Cycling Strategy Overview – Source)


Canadian Media sources

Only one in 3 cyclists in the Greater Toronto Area and Hamilton are female. It’s a statistic that’s in keeping with other North American cities.,,the report found that more than half of the trips women take every day could potentially be cycled.” (Why poor infrastructure keeps women from cycling – CBC Source)


German, Danish and Dutch women cycle as often as men but the numbers are much different in North America. In Canada, just 29 per cent of daily bike commuters were women, according to 2006 census data, although that number did rise in Canadian cities: women made up 35 per cent of bicycle commuters in Toronto and Montreal and 37 per cent in Vancouver. ( Is there a gender gap among commuting cyclists? The numbers are stark – Globe and Mail Source )


Women’s safety and biking are more interconnected than some might think. The “cycling gender gap”—the idea that women make up a disproportionately low fraction of bikers and that the reasons for this underrepresentation have to do with safety and greater gender inequality—is not a new concept. Though there’s little hard research for Toronto on the subject, we know that the gap is established at an early age: research last year found that high school girls in Toronto had “less access to a bicycle, less comfort or confidence in riding, [and] more fear associated with cycling.”” (Why Bike Safety is Still an Issue for Women in Toronto – The Torontoist – Source )

“If the consumer economy had a sex, it would be female.  Women drive 70-80% of all consumer purchasing, through a combination of their buying power and influence.  Influence means that even when a woman isn’t paying for something herself, she is often the influence or veto vote behind someone else’s purchase.” (Forbes – Source)


Canadian Academic sources:


The results showed a pattern of hesitancy to cycle on the part of female high school students compared with their male counterparts.” (Cycling to High School in Toronto, Ontario, Canada: Exploration of School Travel Patterns and Attitudes by Gender Source )

A consistent pattern of gender differences and women’s lower participation in utility cycling is evident. This is primarily attributed to the risks (actual and perceived) associated with cycling in countries with relatively poor cycling infrastructure, policies, regulations and low cycling prevalence” (Integrated strategies to accelerate the adoption of cycling for transportation – Science Direct Source )


Our results indicate that female students cycled less compared to male students for both commute (6.8% versus 10.3%) and non-commute (7.9% versus 11.6%) purposes.” (Does the Built Environment Explain Gender Gap in Cycling? a Study of Post-Secondary Students in Toronto, Canada – MoveTO Source )


Women and transit pass holders were less likely, while students rather than staff were more likely to cycle during the winter.” ( Facilitators and Barriers to Winter Cycling: Case Study of a Downtown University in Toronto, Canada – Ryerson Source )

“…90 per cent of travel decision-makers are female. “Their perspectives help define the leisure travel industry,” said Dorothy Dowling, Best Western’s senior vice president of Marketing and Sales.”
(Top travel habits of Canadian and U.S. women revealed – Global News Source)

International Academic sources

With traditionally men working in transport sector, it is therefore not surprising that transport policies have generally favoured car use over public transport, cycling and walking. Decisions regarding transport policy are generally taken by “mature” men, precisely the age group that mainly travels by car.” (Gender and Transport – OECD International Transport Forum Discussion Paper – Source)

The issue of taking account of gender in transport is a fairly recent one. Since the statistics do not differentiate between men and women, it is hard to understand the differences in reasons for making trips, trip frequency, distances travelled, mobility-related problems in gaining access to health services, employment, etc” (Gender and Transport – OECD International Transport Forum Discussion Paper – Source)


Women frequently need to make trips outside rush hours and to destinations different to those of men, for example to go shopping or to accompany children to school, health centres, etc. The time lost in travelling is therefore far more penalising for women.“  (Gender and Transport – OECD International Transport Forum Discussion Paper – Source)

In both North America and Europe, for example, women make more trips, and in chains that are more complex, than those made by men, notably due to the fact that they undertake more non work-related trips. At the same time, their journey-to-work trips are shorter as their area of access to jobs is often smaller due to time constraints and their lesser degree of access to a private car. Because of the complexity of their travel chains and the fact that they have more trips to make, they are more dependent on the car. However, when they have the time, they make greater use of public transport and walking than men for equivalent trips. (Gender and Transport – OECD International Transport Forum Discussion Paper – Source)

The difficulties faced by women with regard to their mobility are a form of social exclusion which affects all aspects of their lives and in particular hinders the economic output and health of women.” (Gender and Transport – OECD International Transport Forum Discussion Paper – Source)

If women wish to find work and combine a professional life with housework, they must overcome innumerable obstacles and in particular: non-proximity between the place of residence, workplace and shops; insufficient public transport, particularly in suburbs and outside rush hours; public transport schedules aimed primarily at journey-to-work trips;” (Gender and Transport – OECD International Transport Forum Discussion Paper – Source)

As in other areas, in order to evaluate the issue of gender in relation to transport and mobility issues, it must first be possible to measure it. The World Bank has identified four fields in which statistics on the interactions between gender and transport would be useful to planners: 1) access to different modes of transport, 2) the cost of transport, 3) trip characteristics (modes, frequency, length of trips, reasons for trips), and 4) transport quality.” (Gender and Transport – OECD International Transport Forum Discussion Paper – Source)

For women, having choices that will provide easier and fairer conditions of access to all the possibilities afforded by cities is an essential issue. Being able to put an end to confinement and/or isolation is a major step towards the personal fulfilment of women.” (Gender and Transport – OECD International Transport Forum Discussion Paper – Source)


In low-cycling countries, cycling is not evenly distributed across genders and age groups. . . . n high-cycling countries, where gender differences exist, women tend to cycle more than men.” ( Does More Cycling Mean More Diversity in Cycling? Source )


“In this large, population-based, prospective study, we found that women who reported regular exercise, cycling for transportation, or a higher level of nonexercise activity were at a 20–50 percent lower risk for early mortality compared with the less active women.” (Influence of Exercise, Walking, Cycling, and Overall Nonexercise Physical Activity on Mortality in Chinese Women – Source )


“In this sample of 1862 bicyclists, men were more likely than women to cycle for recreation and for transport, and they cycled for longer. Most transport cycling was for commuting, with men more likely than women to commute by bicycle. Men were more likely to cycle on-road, and women off-road. However, most men and women did not prefer to cycle on-road without designed bicycle lanes, and qualitative data indicated a strong preference by men and women for bicycle-only off-road paths…. The main constraints for both genders and both cycling purposes were perceived environmental factors related to traffic conditions, motorist aggression and safety. Women, however, reported more constraints, and were more likely to report as constraints other environmental factors and personal factors.”  (Gender differences in recreational and transport cycling: a cross-sectional mixed-methods comparison of cycling patterns, motivators, and constraints – Source


Gender differences were statistically significant for preferring bicycle signals (63.7% men, 69.1% women) and cycle tracks (53.9% men, 60.2% women). “ ( Gender and used/preferred differences of bicycle routes, parking, intersection signals, and bicycle type: Professional middle class preferences in Hangzhou, China – Source )

International Media sources

“The main reason most women don’t cycle in the UK is because they think it is dangerous.”
( Women shun cycling because of safety, not helmet hair – Guardian – Source )

“Among all households with kids and one breadwinner, women tend to commute 13 minutes less than men do, and the largest gender difference for work travel occurs in households with children and two breadwinners: 16 minutes.” (Women Still Do More Traveling Than Men for Household Errands – CityLab – Source)

“there is widespread support for greater investment in cycling, with as many as four in five women supporting better funding for cycling” (Study reveals the stark gender gap in cycling and what could be done to close it. – Cycling Weekly UK Source)


“If there aren’t at least as many women as men, then usually it’s because cycling is not safe enough. It’s an indicator that you do not have good enough cycling infrastructure.” (‘If there aren’t as many women cycling as men … you need better infrastructure’ – Guardian Source)

“[In the US} Women account for 85% of overall consumer spending including everything from autos to healthcare … [including] 92% Vacations . . . 91% of New Homes . . . 65% New Cars (FAST FACTS Marketing to Women – Source)

Prepared by Anders Swanson, Dea van Lierop, and Sara Kirk
Velo Canada Bikes 2018

AGM 2018

Vélo Canada Bikes 2018 Annual General Meeting Agenda

Sunday, September 9, 2018, 14:00 – 16:00 EST

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November 2017 Newsletter

Message from the ED

Dear Members and Supporters of a Bike-Friendly Canada,

My first year as Executive Director has flown by incredibly fast and we can look back together and celebrate many accomplishments this year. You will be able to read about these in this newsletter. The momentum for cycling in Canada has grown and is unstoppable now. From big local victories like Bike Lanes on Bloor Street in Toronto and a bike-friendly bridge in Halifax, to the growing call for federal investment in cycling and walking from our partners like the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment (CAPE). CAPE recently wrote a letter, calling for a National Active Transportation Strategy that was signed by 8 major national health organisations,  and sent to Minister Philpott. Our National Bike Summit, the first of its kind in Canada, was a sold-out event with speakers such as Mayor Lisa Helps of Victoria, Josh Shaw of Lightfoot Bikes and Jean-Francois Pronovost of Velo Quebec, all joining our call for a National Cycling Strategy.

As your ED I have been meeting with numerous federal officials, elected and non-elected. I have met with the Ministries of Environment and Climate Change, Health, Infrastructure and Communities, Transport Canada, the Privy Council Office, Small Business and Tourism and Sports and Persons with Disabilities. I’m developing ties with national stakeholders including the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, Canadian Urban Transit Association, Parachute Canada, Cycling Canada, Physical and Health Education Canada, Green Communities Canada (GCC) and the Active School Travel Alliance of Canada (ASTAC). Together with these allies we can get to a #BikeFriendlyCanada. In fact, with GCC and ASTAC we have formed the Active TransportationAlliance, to further our common goal of making Canada a bike and walk friendly country.  

We can’t do this work alone. We need the financial support of all of you that believe in a #BikeFriendlyCanada to do our work and take it to the next level. Please contribute to our campaign by clicking the Support Us Today button below. We are planning a two-day National Bike Summit in Ottawa May 28-29, 2018. Help us make it happen!

Judi Varga-Toth, Executive Director

Support Us Today
We’ve launched an e-petition to support Bill C312: An Act to Establish a National Cycling Strategy. Together, our voices and signatures will show the Minister of Environment and Climate Change Catherine McKenna that we do WANT federal leadership and vision for cycling. Sign today and share.
Bike Shorts…

The​ ​Way​ ​Forward​ ​is​ ​Paved​ ​with​ ​Bike​ ​Lanes:  How investing in cycling infrastructure will make Canadian cities more efficient, our businesses more competitive and lead to billions in reduced health and environmental costs for all of Canada. Read the Canada Bikes full pre-2018 Budget Submission

As referenced above, eight national health organizations have sent a letter to the Federal Minister of Health asking her to invest in the development of a National Active Transportation Strategy.  Signatories to the joint letter include Heart & Stroke, Diabetes Canada, Canadian Cancer Society, The Canadian Lung Association, Asthma Canada, the Alzheimer Society of Canada, Upstream, and CAPE. Kim Perrotta of CAPE created a blog post with details of what Active Transportation can do for Canada.  

Our postal code is a powerful predictor of our health. The design of our cities and neighbourhoods can either help or hinder our physical activity and social interactions, influencing our chances of experiencing poor health outcomes like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Canada will spend over $180 billion on infrastructure over the next 12 years. How will these investments impact our health and wellbeing? Who stands to benefit, and how? These are the big questions motivating all of us at INTERACT (Interventions, Research and Action in Cities Team), a new national research collaboration of scientists, urban planners, and engaged citizens uncovering how major changes and investments in city infrastructure are shaping the health and wellbeing of Canadians from coast to coast. For the full story on the INTERACT Project

Hosting an event can be an important part of any non-profit’s activities; whether it’s to build awareness about your organization or to fundraise for a specific cause. Making sure you have the right insurance coverage for your event is important to protect you and your organization. But what kind of insurance do you need? Find out tips on event coverage from The Co-operators here


Walk 21 in Calgary – Speed Date Night & Saturday Workshop

Attention active transportation / safe streets advocates! On Wednesday, Sept 20th join Canada Bikes for an evening of networking during the Walk21 Conference in Calgary, Alberta. We invite all members of non-profit advocacy groups, urban planners and anyone interested in active transportation to attend and submit a 2 minute elevator pitch about your current initiative or your base platform to encourage networking with groups from across the country and beyond our borders.

Canada Bikes in alliance with Green Communities Canada (Canada Walks) and National Active and Safe Routes to School will be sharing thoughts and progress on an Active Transportation National Strategy in anticipation of a workshop September 23rd. We will have each group present their vision, and then enjoy some snacks and Alberta brewed beers ($4.00 pints for attendees!) and explore alliances, partnerships, and potential crossover. Please read more about us and register today!

Please also consider joining us on September 23rd for our workshop.

Ride Your Riding!

There is no better place to have a meeting and no better way to see the impact of cycling on your community than from the seat of a bicycle.

Whether you are an MP or simply a citizen keen to show your MP what’s out there, Canada Bikes invites you to organize a Ride Your Riding event in celebration of Canada’s 150+ Birthday celebration.

What? A community-oriented, family-friendly, educational bike ride between June and September 2017.

Who? Local federal provincial and municipal elected officials are invited to join, and so is the whole community.

Why? Ride Your Riding is great for MPs and politicians because it:

  • Acts as an opportunity to show off the great active transportation projects and programs happening in your community.
  • Encourages broader community interest and enable you to point out investment in cycling infrastructure
  • Allows you to meet with the people that currently make active transportation decisions locally and understand the bigger picture
  • Provides an opportunity to highlight your favourite bike experiences, as well as provide insight into what could be improved
  • Lets you meet active and connected constituents face to face
  • Its the best way to see, feel, hear and understand the area you represent


The rides are encouraged to be all-inclusive and should be routed with consideration of all ages and abilities for cycling.


Our role: Canada Bikes will be contacting local MPs, to encourage them to start planning a date between June 1st and August 31st 2017 when a ride might be appropriate within their schedules, and will track all the ridings that have had one. We can also help get you started. Just email for details.

The impact:  Selfies with the hashtag #RideYourRiding are highly encouraged and unavoidable. Have fun. We’ll certainly be sharing widely and local bike groups have a wide reach. Other tangible ideas, projects, intiatives, plans?? You never know what can come out of a meeting by bike. Canada Bikes will be tracking all the rides happening over the country and paying close attention. We’ll make a map and try to get as many of the ridings in Canada covered (with your help, of course).


photo L.A.Parry

Some examples of Ride Your Riding events already happening: 
– Dr.Doug Eyolfson already has one planned with Winnipeg Trails in Winnipeg in July
– Gord Johns, MP for Port Alberni is planning to ride his entire riding all summer, endeavouring to see every part of it.

Other helpful info:

Why is bike infrastructure such a big deal? Research shows that bicycle-
friendly projects are great for everyone even if they never ride a bike

• Safer streets are safer for everyone

• When bikes have dedicated safe space sidewalks are safer for pedestrians

•Well-designed infrastructure can improve the experience for everyone. and leads to smoother trips improving the behaviour of all modes

• Leads to less congestion as people will be to make the healthy choice, the easy choice

• Complete streets lead to livable communities, the air is better and the amount of noise decreases

• Research is emerging that bike infrastructure routinely encourages economic vitality

• Costs for bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure are a fraction of large roads projects enabling nimble design, shovel-ready projects that put people to work right away

• Every taxpayer in Canada should be excited about the health benefits as diabetes, dementia, depression, colon cancer and cardiovascular disease are reduced by 40% from 30 minutes of riding

• Currently, transportation accounts for 30% of all greenhouse gases. Swapping a single 5km car trip with a bike trip would keep 2,000 lbs of carbon out of the environment per year.

Interested in putting your riding on the map or learning more?

Email for details

Support for Cycling in Canada – Leadership Candidate Questionnaire

On March 15, Canada Bikes sent out an emailed questionnaire to all of the candidates running for the leadership of the Conservative and New Democratic Parties of Canada this year. The questions  and the answersare below.

We will be posting all their answers here as they arrive. We look forward to working together to build a bike friendly Canada.


Full text of email*:

Dear Mr./Ms. ______:

We would like to commend you for making the decision to run for public office and would like to help you share your thoughts on cycling. To help us understand your views so we can share with our members and the public, we are asking you to complete the short survey below by March 24th.

Canada Bikes is a national organization that includes 14 member organizations representing thousands of members in Canadian towns, cities and provinces from coast to coast. We want to improve conditions for the hundreds of thousands of Canadians who regularly bike to work. We share our vision with tens of millions of concerned adults and teenagers in Canada who do not ride to work but say they would if only they had safe infrastructure. We also represent millions of people of all ages who already ride for exercise or leisure or school and who would like to more often. We also represent those who do not wish to ride bicycles, but want safety for their loved ones. Together, this is the vast majority of Canadians.

We feel everyone should be allowed to experience the joy and benefits of cycling without fear or insurmountable barrier. Canada Bikes wants to support and celebrate politicians who share this vision and we know we can achieve great things for Canada together.

Cycling Questionnaire:

1. If elected leader – and eventually Prime Minister – your vision for cycling in Canada will reverberate across the country. Why do you believe cycling is important for Canada?

2. Do you support the creation of a National Cycling Strategy?

3. If you become Prime Minister, how much do you envision the government of Canada investing annually in cycling infrastructure while you are in office?

4. The overwhelming majority of parents in Canada want better, safer routes to school. Compared to peer countries in Northern Europe, whose national transportation and infrastructure ministries have invested trillions in cycling infrastructure for decades and set meaningful policy to improve land use and reduce traffic violence, Canada has done relatively little. As a direct result, our cycling to school rates remain dismal and young people are unnecessarily being steered toward a life of physical inactivity and chronic disease. Will you commit to Canada becoming a leader in children’s mobility and cycling to school within one generation?

5. What has been your favourite personal experience on a bike so far?

Please reply directly to this email with the subject line (Support for Cycling in Canada Questionnaire) by midnight on March 24th*.

It is our pleasure to do our best to help you share your message publicly.

If you have secondary materials you would like us to share along with your answers – i.e. a social media, photo of you on a bike, platform link – feel free to include it.

My sincere thanks for your time and consideration,

Anders Swanson
Chair, Canada Bikes

*The email to the NDP differs slightly as they choose a leader later. Candidates have until August 10th to respond.

Chris Alexander’s Response


1. If elected leader – and eventually Prime Minister – your vision for cycling in Canada will reverberate across the country. Why do you believe cycling is important for Canada?

Because it’s healthy, invigorating, green and social.  Cycling brings us together and helps us lead better lives!

2. Do you support the creation of a National Cycling Strategy?

Yes!  It should be part of our work with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, as well as all those in Quebec, together with the provinces and territories.

3. If you become Prime Minister, how much do you envision the government of Canada investing annually in cycling infrastructure while you are in office?

It will depend on infrastructure priorities set by municipalities, provincial and territorial governments.  But I will give them strong incentives to support cycling and public transit.

4. The overwhelming majority of parents in Canada want better, safer routes to school. Compared to peer countries in Northern Europe, whose national transportation and infrastructure ministries have invested trillions in cycling infrastructure for decades and set meaningful policy to improve land use and reduce traffic violence, Canada has done relatively little. As a direct result, our cycling to school rates remain dismal and young people are unnecessarily being steered toward a life of physical inactivity and chronic disease. Will you commit to Canada becoming a leader in children’s mobility and cycling to school within one generation?

Yes!  We need to make this commitment — and find ways to allow kids to self-propel to work even in winter!  Snow bikes have come a long way, after all!  The federal government should establish urban design and road safety norms for cycling — following Danish and Dutch examples, which are the best in my experience.

We need to promote healthy active lifestyles in every way!  Cycling, skiing, running and walking are all part of the solution.

5. What has been your favourite personal experience on a bike so far?

I made one fairly long trip down the Old Nipissing Road — now part of the Trans Canada Trail — a few years back.  That was absolutely awesome!  My wife and I also rented bikes in Paris a while back — and had a ball….
There will be more specifics from me on active life, cities and transport.  My policies to date are here:

Thanks for bringing these questions into our campaign!  They are truly important….

Task Force on Pedestrian and Cycling Safety

The Hon. Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport, recently announced that Transport Canada and the provinces will establish a task force to discuss safety measures to reduce injuries and fatalities involving cyclists, pedestrians and heavy trucks. This was prompted in part by recent deaths of two people on bicycles in Ottawa and Montreal – a sad, preventable and all too common element of the transportation landscape in Canada.

Canada Bikes strongly supports measures to make our roads, our vehicles and the way they are both designed much safer for people cycling. We will be working with the Government to help ensure measures are implemented soon.

We believe that people have a right to feel comfortable and safe on a bicycle anywhere in any community in Canada. While cycling is inherently much safer than driving, our country still has rates of injury for people on foot and on bikes far higher than those in the world’s bike-friendly countries. More importantly, tangible fear of fast moving traffic and of poorly designed roads and vehicles keeps most people from even starting. That needs to stop. We know the solutions. We know that infrastructure investment and policy change result directly in safe roads, healthier people and more people riding. It didn’t happen spontaneously in other countries; they made a choice. We can too.

(photo: A.Swanson Den Haag, NL)


Read our letter to the Minister. 

Fall Newsletter 2016


Welcome to Canada Bikes’ Fall Newsletter! This one is chock full of exciting updates for people who love to ride bicycles in Canada….

National Cycling Strategy
Momentum on a National Cycling Strategy for Canada is growing. We were proud to support Hon. Minister Catherine McKenna when she called for a National Cycling Strategy on the steps of Parliament Hill on Bike Day in Canada with MPs from all parties. We were also honoured to attend and speak at the announcement of a private member’s bill calling for a National Cycling Strategy by Gord Johns MP for Courtenay-Alberni.

Bike paths, everywhere.
When the Government of Canada invests in cycling and walking infrastructure, we all win. We are thrilled to share this national cycling and walking infrastructure fund proposal. We are excited by the collaboration with the Heart and Stroke Foundation, the Canadian Automobile Association, Velo Quebec, the Canadian Lung Association, Share the Road, Canadian Cancer Society, the Canadian Independent Bicycle Retailers Association (CIBRA) and the British Columbia Cycling Coalition (BCCC) and we know it has the full support of many many others! We will be working closely with members of the government to offer helpful advice on the best way to make it happen. Along with millions of Canadians, we were pleased to see the word “bicycle” appearing in conjunction with a big increase in infrastructure spending in the Fall Economic update and we look forward to the future. If you want to get involved, remember it always helps to contact your local politician or federal MP to talk about cycling infrastructure projects you’d love to see near you.

Canada Bikes, lately.
Coast to coast, we are growing our reach. We were in Vancouver last month for Pro Walk Pro Bike and found time to visit CIBRA’s fall conference in Toronto. We added five talented new faces to our board at our AGM in October. A big welcome Cornelia Dinca, Yvonne Bambrick, Cheryl Trepannier, Christina Vietinghoff and Karly Coleman, each of whom bring incredible amounts of expertise and energy. Lastly, we want to welcome and thank the new organizations who have joined us recently including Cycle Toronto, Bike Brampton, Citizens for Safe Cycling (Ottawa) and Bicycle Nova Scotia.  Learn more about Canada Bikes here.

In Case You Missed it (Important Developments Across Canada and Around the World).

Transport Minister Hon. Marc Garneau announced a task force on pedestrian and cycling safety. There was a unanimous vote in Edmonton to fast track a downtown protected bike lane network. Now Winnipeg wants one too. Better infrastructure can’t come too soon to help address gender imbalance on the roads of Canadian cities and equity issues in transportation everywhere. Speaking of important research, don’t miss this big report from Velo Quebec or the TCAT study that found that 1.3 of the trips (4 million) in the GTA could easily be made by bike. Montreal will host the 5th international Winter Cycling Congress Feb 8-10. Velo Quebec has also called on all school boards to adopt an Active Transportation Charter. Finally, since many European countries already have national cycling strategies of their own, our friends over at the European Cycling Federation (ECF) are taking the next logical step and working on a pan-European cycling strategy. We are watching closely.

Do you have an important info you think we should share in our next newsletter?
Contact us at with your idea.

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Remember, you can help make Canada a bike friendly country.
Become a member, donate or contact us to find out about other ways you can help.

Anders Swanson
On behalf of the board of Canada Bikes

Save the Date: AGM Saturday October 15th

You are cordially invited to attend our 2016 AGM!
It’s an exciting time for cycling in Canada and for Canada Bikes too.

Please save the date: Saturday, October 15th at 1pm Eastern (2pm in Halifax., noon Winnipeg, 11am Calgary, 10am in BC).

If you or your organization is planning to take part, please take a quick moment to RSVP (by filling out this short form). It is greatly appreciated as it will help us plan accordingly. (Organizational member contacts receiving this invitation who plan to delegate another representative for the AGM, please forward this RSVP form to that person. This will let us know who is coming on your organization’s behalf.)

The agenda will include the usual AGM proceedings (report from the chair, financial report, appointment of officers, etc.) including an update on the work we’ve been doing and any exciting new developments.

Importantly, to ensure we make the most of this opportunity of having you with us, there will be an opportunity for discussion so we can hear from you.

Logistical details, (how to dial-in/connect to the meeting, vote, etc..) are being finalized in the coming weeks and will be updated here as well as sent out along with the formal agenda to all members.
Stay tuned and we look forward to hearing form you on October 15th!