Ontario-wide chain of cycling routes proposed

The Ontario government has unveiled a draft cycling strategy that includes a possible chain of cycling routes across the province, similar to Quebec, but politicians want the public's feedback before moving forward.

New provincial cycling plan open to public feedback until Jan. 29

Cycling route chain planned

9 years ago
Ontario's draft cycling strategy wants feedback on plans such as a chain of cycling paths. 2:12

Ontario residents have two months to provide input for a province-wide cycling plan that could include a chain of cycling routes across the province.

A draft cycling strategy was unveiled Friday by Ontario Minister of Transportation, Bob Chiarelli, that also includes providing safety information with every new bike, adding a section on cycling in the official driving handbook and encouraging municipalities to invest in cycling infrastructure.

The plan also includes separate consultations on amending the Highway Traffic Act, which sets cycling rules. Those consultations would feature recommendations from a cycling death review conducted by the office of Ontario's chief coroner in July 2012.

One of those recommendations was mandatory helmet use for all cyclists. The deadline to give feedback is Jan. 29.

The province-wide cycling network is based on a similar path in Quebec that generates about $100 million annually - or $30,000 per kilometre of bike route, according to Chiarelli.

Widow pushing for legislative change

Eleanor McMahon, CEO and founder of the Share the Road Cycling Coalition, said she is confident the province is getting serious about cycling safety.

Eleanor McMahon has been fighting for legislative change in Ontario to make cycling safer since her husband was killed in a 2006 crash. (CBC)

McMahon has worked as an advocate for six years, ever since her husband, OPP Sgt. Greg Stobbart, was killed in a cycling crash in June 2006.

"A lot of motorists believe, unfortunately, that cyclists don't belong on the road and that is absolutely incorrect," she said.

"They are a vehicle under the Highway Traffic Act and have a right to be there so I think we need education all the way around."

It is not clear how much money the province will invest for the cycling strategy