City council has approved looking to the private sector to come up with a public bike share program for Calgary, but it's rejected calling for proposals in 2014.

Several Canadian cities already have bike shares operating where people can rent cycles from parking stands in public areas. 

Mayor Naheed Nenshi says it seems council wants to focus first on building safer cycling infrastructure, like physically separated bike lanes so that any future bike share users will be safer.


Bicycles are lined up as the public bike-sharing system launched in Toronto in 2011. (Pat Hewitt/Canadian Press)

"We don't mind the idea of a third-party-operated bike share program, but today what we said is — on a close vote — we don't want to put a timeline on this, an artificial timeline," he said. 

"Let's focus on getting the bike infrastructure in place first and I think that's the right thing to do."

Council voted on Monday to have the city's administration develop a network of physically-separated cycle lanes by December of next year.

"Let's just hold back and see how the development of the cycle track network looks and whether there are third parties that are interested," said Nenshi. 

"In short, if someone comes to us and says 'Here's our proposal', we're not going to say 'No,' but i think council said today don't do a ton of work in creating this within the walls of the city."

North Glenmore cycle track petition

Bike lane infrastructure also came up as a separate issue at council Monday when Ald. Brian Pincott presented a petition of Lakeview and North Glenmore residents who oppose a cycle track on Crowchild Trail. 

The Lakeview Community Association says it is confused by the two-way separated bike lanes in the community, and would like to see the infrastructure on Crowchild Trail between 66 Avenue and North Glenmore Trail S.W. removed.