8 July 2010

Bike Share Boogie

Lots of cities now have bike share programmes for their citizens but Montreal has a music video about their Bixi bike share system. Check this. Thanks to Graham for the link.

And while we're on the topic of Montreal, here's an article about how the city is the best for cycling in North America. Thanks to Taras for the link.


Charlotte said...

I think bike share programs are absolutely amazing, however I've been living in Paris (and frequently use the Vélib) and honestly can't believe the way these bikes are treated. I know in any big city vandalism is a possiblity, but I'm wondering if this same problem exisits in the states?

Kiwehtin said...

Hah! Cute song. But it's not a free ride, like they sing... Believe me, Bixis are everywhere (in the Bixi area). And you can tell them from a kilometre away by those blinky lights. They were a massive hit from the get-go when they were introduced last year and going strong this year as well as being extended to new boroughs not served in last year's roll-out. (You hear them singing "now get 'em to NDG (Notre Dame de Grâce) and Park Extension!", two boroughs just outside the original Bixi area.

The Expos baseball gear is amusing retro. The team was bought up and moved to Washingto DC to become the Nationals back in 2005.

The article is quite interesting, but I could quibble about a few things. A couple of details: actually la Maison du cycliste on Rachel is opposite Lafontaine Park, not Fairmount Park (is there such a park?), and Westmount is not actually a borough of Montreal but a separate city, which must have something to do with its non-participation. As far as I know, the Bixi programme is managed by the city itself, and not individual boroughs.

As for Mtl being the best cycling city in North America, it still doesn't come close to the Netherlands or Denmark. Though some bike paths are well paved and broad enough for comfortable riding, many (like the Rachel street path that goes by the Maison du cycliste) are too narrow, with barely a metre's width for each lane, riddled with grates and bumps, and sloped toward the sidewalk. And then there are horrors like the gravel "recreational path" along the CP rail tracks on the southern edge of Rosemont borough, which rut up like nobody's business, and the inexplicable double back and forth zig-zag to go under the train tracks to connect with the bike network in the Plateau. People avoid that like the plague and keep making holes in the CP rail fence to cross directly (and CP has started taking a hard line about their Private Property since last year, failing to consider that the tracks rarely carry trains and are much better put to use as a public cycling right of way with properly installed pedestrian/cyclist level crossings, like we have on the commuter train lines.

And many of the segregated bike paths are closed down in mid-autumn, way before snow, and aren't reopened until mid-spring, way after the last remains of snow have disappeared.

We may be best in North America, but we have a long way to go yet, and the city's transportation planning is still entirely centred on the idea that the convenience of motorists comes first and cycling is not a fully legitimate mode of transport.

Niki said...

Montreal represent! Wooohooo.

I actually live in Denmark now and go everywhere with my bike. But now I'm on vacation back in Montreal and heard my best friend saying bixi bikes are taking too much (parking) spaces in downtown.

I told her she has to have an open mind and there's nothing wrong with biking. It seems hard for people to ditch their cars and go on bikes in Montreal sometimes.

Kiwehtin said...

I think of it the other way: car parking (most of it free, paid for by all taxpayers including non-motorists) takes up too much space that should be devoted to better things like separate bike lanes, wider sidewalks, green space boulevards, sidewalk cafés and places to relax etc. etc. etc. Yes, the mindset is still so car-centred for most people that they think nothing of getting in "the" car to travel a mere few blocks, something that would be five minutes by bike or ten to fifteen on foot.

Stefan said...

I have family in Montreal and when I wasathere I went everywhere on the my uncle's bike. Those super cycle highways from the suburbs to the centre are really good. Sorta like a subway network for bikes, above ground.

Adam said...

Instead of showing white thirty-somethings rapping why don't you link to naked octogenarians? My eyes! Thanks for the PTSD.

ehmeelu said...

Another Canadian city that is getting serious about cycling is Winnipeg. (Everyone forgets we're out here in the middle of the prairies!). The city's budget for active transportation routes in 2006 was only $200,000 but this year there is $20.4 million being spent on new projects, as explained here: http://www.winnipegtrails.ca/press/active-transportation-gets-going/
There's a long ways to go, but I'm excited that my city is becoming a much better place to cycle. I see a lot of people biking in normal clothes here, too . . . not as stylish as Copenhagen by any means but they have the right attitude!

Jessica said...

Wow. Thanks for posting this!
I'm actually going back home to Montreal in 3 days.
I bought myself a bike while I was in Copenhagen and I'm bringing it with me.
Now I'm excited to see how the Montreal bike life compares to the Copenhagen one.

Adult Tricycle said...

Sweet video! We need one of those for our new program here in Denver.

Anonymous said...

Well, I am not sure this is a "free ride": Rio Tinto Alcan - they helped Bixi get started - currently presents (sponsors?) the "Bixi Code of Conduct", including helmet promotion of course.

Rio Tinto Alcan is a subsidiary of Rio Tinto. You can read the, uh, glowing reports of their own codes for conduct here and here.