Canada is Simply Not Doing Enough to Help Kids Who Just Want to Bike to School in Safety

Who else thinks Canada’s spot on this list is deeply troubling?

Children Cycling Canada
Original graphic by the European Cyclists’ Federation.

It wasn’t always this way. Since the 1950s, the number of kids arriving to school feeling fresh, alert and healthy has been dropping in North America. Studies on children’s mobility consistently show that kids would still love to ride to school; the barriers that are cited – both perceived and real – are numerous, but chief among them is always traffic safety issues.

It’s a fixable problem.

If Sweden can do it, we can do it. When countries with similar climates have 10X higher cycling-to-school rates, and when high school bike racks are often full in mid-winter in Finland, there are few excuses for Canada.

Economically, the longterm preventive health impacts alone would pay for billions worth of protected lanes, traffic calming all around the country – resulting in more liveable, bikeable neighbourhoods (which are well-known to result in rapid increases in bicycle modal share) for everyone.

In short, we think that the number of children cycling to school should be nothing short of a metric by which we judge the success of our country. Until we can provide all youth with the safe community and the Canada that they want to live in, this should remain a source of deep concern for all Canadians. It’s time to change how we move . . . starting with the people who are our future.

What do you think? And what can we all do about it?

Join this discussion facebook.

Anders Swanson
Anders Swanson is a walking/cycling policy/design specialist. His recent work has often revolved around children’s mobility, focusing on roadway design, data collection and communications. His recent projects include CounterPoint and BikeWalkRoll.  Anders grew up in a suburb of Winnipeg, where he used to ride his bike to school. Back then, the racks were pretty full. He is currently the chair of Canada Bikes. 

Canada Bikes Election 2015

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The humble little bicycle can do a lot for a country.

When it comes to the average Canadian’s ability to ride a bike safely, conveniently and in comfort, federal support for cycling really matters. Canada Bikes takes a “bike partisan” approach and that’s why we asked all of the the party leaders for their positions on two important issues.

Leadership matters. Canada is one of the few developed countries without a formal national cycling policy. As the European Cyclists’ Federation notes, “these national strategies and/or action plans set clear activities and precise goals for the development of cycling at the national level.” With the benefits of cycling so well-known, a strong strategic direction makes sense.

Infrastructure matters. Over the last 20 years in the US, $7.2 Billion in federal funding has gone towards the construction of 22,000 dedicated bicycle and pedestrian projects. It can happen in Canada too. Examples like the $20 Million in commuting infrastructure that helped kickstart Winnipeg’s bike boom, the support for the North Shore Spirit Trail in BC or the new pieces of the Trans Canada Trail clearly demonstrate that federal government plays a role in building the country we want to ride in. The reality, however, is that Canada is far from being an international leader on cycling infrastructure funding. We can change that.

Read the letter including a synopsis of the benefits to Canada and see the two questions we have asked the federal leaders(ENG/FR).

See their Answers!

Get involved. Email, tweet or facebook your local candidate. Ask her/him the same question we are asking the leader. Mention a specific project you’d like to see. It’s important and it only takes a minute. You can use the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ online candidate lookup tool to find your candidate. Then send them a message linking to the two questions. Ask them to weigh in. Show your support on twitter with a custom Twitter profile ribbon. 

Vote. Hundreds of thousands of Canadians ride bicycles every day. Many more wish they could. On October 19th, make sure to vote and remember to give due consideration to your candidate’s position on cycling (among the many issues that may matter to you) when you make your choice.

#ivoteforbikes #elxn2015

Stay tuned. Join our newsletter or become a member.


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SOS Route Verte

Ever been to Europe to talk to people who love riding bicycles? If so, you’ll know that one of the first things they will mention about Canada is their dream of riding Quebec’s Route Verte.

Quebec’s 5300-kilometre province-wide network of bikeways is the envy of the rest of Canada and a remarkably lucrative tourist draw supporting all kinds of industries. La Route Verte also acts as the spine for bicycle networks in countless small towns across the province.

But La Route Verte is under threat due to shifting provincial priorities on maintenance. If you have ever ridden parts of La Route Verte, or hope to someday, we encourage you to learn more about VeloQuebec’s #sosrouteverte campaign and sign the petition here. 

Election 2015 Survey Evaluation

In our spirit of “bike partisanship”, we asked all of the federal party leaders to respond to a questionnaire containing two important questions on infrastructure funding and national cycling policy.

We encourage everyone to read the responses we received in detail, as well as the full party platforms and to do their own analysis.

To help folks scanning numerous issues during the election interpret the answers, we convened a small panel of experts in cycling policy from around the country to independently evaluate the answers. Then we averaged their scores.

Here are the overall results:




Panel members were asked to score each of the responses using this criteria and scoring system. The overall score represents a simple average of the scores from all panelists. Panelists were asked to remain neutral, fair and to score the parties on their cycling policy only.


Canada Bikes would like to warmly thank the members of the panel:
Mark Cohoe
Executive Director, Bike Winnipeg
Certified CANBike Instructor

Arne Elias PhD MBA
Sustainable Transportation and Energy Specialist

Kay Teschke
Professor at the School of Population and Public Health at the University of British Columbia. Leads the Cycling in Cities program of research examining bicycling motivators and deterrents, and factors that increase or decrease injury risk.

Richard Zach
former Vice President, Bike Calgary

Disagree? Think we missed something?

Tell us. Every opinion matters. The more discussion the better. It’s all part of raising awareness of the importance of cycling as a national issue. We’d love to get your feedback via Twitter, Facebook or email at info[a]

Reponses to Canada Bikes Cycling Questionnaire.

A couple weeks ago, Canada Bikes released an election questionnaire outlining the important role that cycling plays in Canada and looking for answers to two important questions from the leaders.  If you want to see how cycling fit into their vision for Canada, see their responses below (listed in the order in which they were received):



LPC Response (Election 2015), Canada Bikes – Réponse du PLC (Élection 2015), Canada Bikes

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Bloc Québécois – Réponse – Vélo Canada




NDP – ENG  /   NPD – FR




Canada Bikes Election 2015

We are asking two very important questions of each of the party leaders on behalf of all Canadians.

Hundreds of thousands of Canadians across the country ride a bicycle everyday, and more yet feel passionately about issues of transportation, sustainability, economic vibrancy and health.
In order to help Canadians understand how each party best reflects their views, we are asking all party leaders to review this document (also attached) and to return responses to the two important questions before midnight on Friday, October 9th. 
Check back in the week before the election. Make your choice.

Newsletter Fall 2014

Canada Bikes News
October 6, 2014


  • New By-laws Approved
  • Save the Date: 2014 Annual General Meeting
  • Get Involved: Become a Member!
  • Get Involved: Become a Director!
  • Get Involved: As an Advisor
  • Why Victoria? Future AGMs
  • National Cycling Strategy Workshop – You’re Invited
  • Preparing for Bike Day in Canada 2015
  • Canada Bikes meetup at Complete Streets Forum
  • IMPORTANT: Stay Connected

New By-laws Approved

The Canada Bikes Board of Directors recently certified its by-law ahead of the October 17, 2014 Annual General Meeting for member approval. The by-laws of Canada Bikes are available as a PDF from the Goverance page.

For questions about board governance, please contact the Canada Bikes Board Secretary.

Save the Date: 2014 Annual General Meeting

The Canada Bikes 2014 Annual General Meeting (AGM) will be held October 17, 2014 at the Harbour Towers Hotel & Suites in Victoria B.C. from 1:00 to 2:30 PM. The purpose of the meeting is to look back at what we’ve accomplished, confirm our new by-laws by special resolution, review financial statements, and elect directors for 1 and 2 year terms.

Get Involved: Become a Member!

Have your say! Becoming a member of Canada Bikes (as either an individual or as an organization) means you support an increased focus on cycling at a national level. It means you think we can all work together to make a difference in a truly Canadian way. Also, note that to participate in the Canada Bikes AGM, and vote for the board of directors, you must be a member in good standing. For information on becoming a Canada Bikes member, go to Members section of the website.

Get Involved: Become a Director!

Have your say. Since its incorporation, Canada Bikes has been guided by our friendly and dedicated team of volunteer founding directors. Now it’s time to make it official. It’s time to get everyone else involved! Board candidates with energy, enthusiasm and knowledge of what it takes to get people cycling are encouraged to apply! You will be playing a valuable role in helping Canada Bikes become a strong and powerful national voice for commuting, touring and recreation. There are 16 available board director positions open for election at the AGM. Geographic and gender representation is strongly encouraged. Half of the terms will be for one year, the remaining for 2 years. If you are interested, please introduce yourself, your skills, your passions and tell the members a little bit about yourself. Email your application.

Get Involved: As an Advisor

If you are interested by unable to become a board member of Canada Bikes due to other commitments, consider lending your time and expertise as part of the Provincial/Territorial Advisory Committee (PTAC), as a Canada Bikes Research Fellow or as part of a specific Canada Bikes project. We would love your help! To learn more, see the PTAC page on the website.

Why Victoria? Future AGMs

This year Canada Bikes AGM is being held to coincide with the BC Bikes Conference program. To ensure Canada Bikes is truly Canadian, the organization intends to hold its AGM in a different location across the country each year. Whether you are in Saskatoon or Quispamsis, if your cycling organization is interested to host the Canada Bikes AGM in 2015 or 2016 let us know! Tell us why! We would love to have our meeting coincide with your cycling-related conference, workshop, or event. Please contact us.

National Cycling Strategy Workshop – You’re Invited

The AGM is followed by the National Cycling Strategy Workshop at the same location from 2:30 to 3:30 PM Pacific Time. Information on this workshop will be posted prior to the date.

The BC Bikes Conference program can be accessed here.

For more information on the workshop, please contact us.

Preparing for Bike Day in Canada 2015

The first annual Bike Day in Canada on May 26, 2014 in conjunction with National Health and Fitness Day was a great success. Rides and associated events were organized in six municipalities across the country.

For 2015, Canada Bikes wants to see more events in more cities and towns in more provinces and territories. The tentative date for Bike Day in Canada 2015 is May 7, 2015. Canada Bikes is calling on cycling organizations to mark Bike Day in Canada by organizing a local event and branding or co-branding it as an official Bike Day in Canada event.

For a recap of Bike Day in Canada 2014 including videos and photos and for information on participating in Bike Day in Canada 2015 go to the Bike Day in Canada event page.

To explore sponsor opportunities for Bike Day in Canada, please contact us.

Canada Bikes meetup at Complete Streets Forum

Meet and speak with selected members of the Board of Directors of the Canada Bikes at the Complete Streets Forum, the Toronto Centre for Active Transportation (TCAT)’s 7th annual active transportation policy conference, on Monday, October 6, 2014. (

For more information on Complete Streets, visit TCAT’s Complete Streets website at

To arrange a meetup with any of our current directors at the Complete Streets Forum contact.

IMPORTANT: Stay Connected

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