I must admit I’ve been a tad reticent the past few days when it comes to writing about cycling in Montreal vis-a-vis Albuquerque in particular, or transportation here versus home in general. It’s a case of not wanting to rub it in.
I don’t want to give the impression it’s perfection here. Heck, Montreal had its first cycling death of 2018 pretty much the day I got to town. Still, the city is so much more conducive to non-motorized transportation, and while density and other older “big city” factors play roles in that, the truth is also that decisions have been made to make driving here very, very uncomfortable.
And that’s a glorious thing.
I’ll be back with more on this subject, but to give context here are two short videos shot at the intersection of Saint Laurent and Bellechasse this afternoon. I’ll admit the scene here isn’t for everyone, not even for every cyclist, but it is one in which young fathers feel comfortable enough to take their young child along (note screaming baby heard in the cacophony is off-camera, not the child on bicycle. Also note the hand and foot rails for the young dad and French-speaking gentleman jamming out on the headphones behind him and his kid).
And here’s the scene a couple of hundred feet away, after going under train tracks in a protected cycle track along St. Laurent to the light at the short Rue de l’Arcade which connects, via cycle track, to a kilometers long cycle track on Rue Clark. Note the number of times “cycle track” has appeared in this paragraph.
Also notice the kind of traffic light employed here:
And Yes, there’s yet another bicycle-only red light on the other side of St. Laurent. They are all over town.
- Cycle tracks
- Bicycle-only red lights
- Very young children on bikes (with helmets, thank you) not screaming
- Too many cyclists to count (although if you want to exercise your OCD, give us an actual count from the two videos)
While these were shot during afternoon rush hour on a beautiful 72 degree almost Summer day, I can report that Montreal reaches near Copenhagen level ridership at many places and times throughout large swathes of the place. I would show you more videos, but I don’t want to rub it in.
Why are there so many, and why have drivers in meaningful ways become less powerful vis-a-vis those bike riders vis-a-vis the power dynamic back in Burque? More about that in an upcoming post.
To close for now, a still frame from the afternoon’s “shoot.”