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Living Car Free Do you live car free or car light? Do you prefer to use alternative transportation (bicycles, walking, other human-powered or public transportation) for everyday activities whenever possible? Discuss your lifestyle here.

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Old 08-01-14, 08:07 PM   #1
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Canadian carfree/carlite people, please raise your hand....

We talk a lot hear about carfree issues, but seems to me most of the issues are south of your border.

I'm Canadian but live in the US. I've noticed In Canada there seems to be a lot more bicycles and much less bicycle infrastructure... but my view may be incorrect.

What is different about active transportation by bicycle in Canada?

Tell us what Canada does well...
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Old 08-01-14, 11:43 PM   #2
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Can I be an honorary Canadian if I've visited every province except the new ones?
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Old 08-02-14, 12:00 AM   #3
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I'd consider us to be car light now that we own a car and a truck (Jeep)... the car gets almost all the use and the Jeep is waiting for winter / camping trips and will also get used as a mobile service vehicle for the shop.

I ride about 100 km on the bike this week and 30 km on the car which was so I could pick up a bike from the south side and will be doing mobile service by bike all weekend which should add another 60km to my riding total.

In one of Canada's most sprawling cities there still isn't much I can't do via bicycle and living centrally most of the things I need to do are within 15km.
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Old 08-02-14, 11:10 AM   #4
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I am originally from eastern europe but have been living in canada for a very long time, so I guess that makes me a canadian...I am car-free. I think that Canada is just as car-centric as the USA, not much difference between the two. There is a lot of car-free people in my city as evidenced by our public transit buses being stuffed full...Most car-free people in my city aren't cyclists, they use public transit to get around, lately I've also noticed an increase car-share, zip-car.
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Old 08-02-14, 11:55 AM   #5
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Based solely on casual observation while biking on the west coast of Canada and the US - I think Americans are more respectful of cyclists than Canadians. I found I was given a lot more room biking through the US than I do in Canada. The few times I was buzzed enough to make an impression, the cars had BC plates

With the exception or Urban centres, I feel like we Canadians still don't view bicycles seriously as a legitimate form of transportation. For that matter I also feel like our reputation for politeness is no longer appropriate.

Sixty Fiver what did you own before that 2 vehicles is Car Light?
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Old 08-02-14, 07:37 PM   #6
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Sixty Fiver what did you own before that 2 vehicles is Car Light?
Before we had two vehicles we had no vehicles for 5 (me) and 12 years (my wife)... we do not put a lot of miles on the car and even less on the Jeep which sometimes sits for weeks before we have need of it.
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Old 08-02-14, 08:11 PM   #7
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Can I be an honorary Canadian if I've visited every province except the new ones?
Ha ha!! I'll vote for you. I think if we get 1 more, you're in
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Old 08-02-14, 08:15 PM   #8
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I am originally from eastern europe but have been living in canada for a very long time, so I guess that makes me a canadian...I am car-free. I think that Canada is just as car-centric as the USA, not much difference between the two. There is a lot of car-free people in my city as evidenced by our public transit buses being stuffed full...Most car-free people in my city aren't cyclists, they use public transit to get around, lately I've also noticed an increase car-share, zip-car.
So do Canadians have more public transit options? I certainly notice this coming to the Mid West where public transit is pretty sparse.
And, if most car-free people don't use a bike, what would be the reason?
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Old 08-02-14, 08:38 PM   #9
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And, if most car-free people don't use a bike, what would be the reason?
Lack of cycling infrastructure ??... Most people are just too afraid to share the roads with cars...Also, buses are a little bit faster and a lot safer, more comfortable, AC in summer and heating in winter...Nobody wants to arrive at work drenched with sweat or rain or deal with freezing cold. Not too many people want to spend 2 hours every day on a bike.
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Old 08-02-14, 11:02 PM   #10
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One thing I've noticed traveling in Canada is the enormous regional diversity. The Maratimes, Ontario, the Plains, BC--all very different culturally. And then Quebec, even more different. So I imagine bike culture and acceptance of bikes is very different in the different provinces/regions.

And why fewer bikes? Most parts of Canada are pretty extreme in both climate and topography. Southern Ontario and Southwestern BC have fairly mild temps, but it's COLD everywhere else, and the daylight hours are extremely short for much of the year. Parts of Ontario are pretty flat, but there are mountains in much of the country, and even the prairie regions have challenging hills.

Do you "real Canadians" agree that climate and terrain make it a little harder for many Canadians to embrace bicycling?
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Old 08-03-14, 04:47 AM   #11
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Can I be an honorary Canadian if I've visited every province except the new ones?
Nope. No more than I'm French because I've spent 2-3 months in France.
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Old 08-03-14, 04:58 AM   #12
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We talk a lot hear about carfree issues, but seems to me most of the issues are south of your border.

I'm Canadian but live in the US. I've noticed In Canada there seems to be a lot more bicycles and much less bicycle infrastructure... but my view may be incorrect.

What is different about active transportation by bicycle in Canada?

Tell us what Canada does well...

Canada was where I was car-free for 6 years ... year-round in Winnipeg. And I wasn't the only one cycling year round in Winnipeg ... there were quite a few of us. It was kind of like a challenge to cycle through the winter. And Winnipeg wasn't known for its cycling infrastructure. There were no cycling lanes etc. there when I was there.

Even now, I still keep in touch with a group of Winnipeg cyclists who especially relish the idea of cycling in the winter. As well as commuting etc., there are winter cycling events.


Also, the public transportation in Winnipeg was pretty good.
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Old 08-03-14, 06:30 AM   #13
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And Winnipeg wasn't known for its cycling infrastructure. There were no cycling lanes etc. there when I was there.
That contrasts with Des Moines in that there are a lot of bike paths and some lanes. The MUPs act as a stepping stone into urban cycling... at least for many cyclists.

What got your cyclist friends riding on city streets?
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Old 08-03-14, 06:48 AM   #14
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That contrasts with Des Moines in that there are a lot of bike paths and some lanes. The MUPs act as a stepping stone into urban cycling... at least for many cyclists.

What got your cyclist friends riding on city streets?
I don't know ... the roads were there, they (we) wanted to cycle ... so they (we) rode on the roads. Where else would we ride?

The "need" for bike paths and lanes puzzles me.

I've been cycling since I was 6 years old ... and more actively since 1990. The first time I encountered cycling lanes was in Canberra (Australia) on a tour in 2004 ... I thought they were so cute. Since then, I have seen cycle lanes here and there in various parts of the world, but still, the majority of my cycling has been on roads with no cycling infrastructure.
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Old 08-03-14, 11:16 AM   #15
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Well I was born and raised here in southern Ontario, but I've never done any real travelling, except to the Netherlands where my sister lives. On my way to work and back, I almost never see another bicycle, but our community paths get pretty busy on weekends, especially the rail trails south of Cambridge.

Cycling infrastructure here in Waterloo consists of bike lanes on some roads, usually close to the universities. As for driver politeness? In the last few years, I can only remember one truly hostile driver. I get frequent close passes, mainly under heavy traffic conditions, and usually there isn't much room to move.

The one thing I don't like about my commute is the condition of the roads -- most of them are deteriorating and it takes all the fun out of using a road bike. In fact, the city gets frequent complaints from motorists with damaged rims and tie rods. Right after this last winter, you could have staged downhill races in some of the potholes we had.
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Old 08-03-14, 04:50 PM   #16
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The "need" for bike paths and lanes puzzles me.
There are a lot of people who think different from you and they won't ride on the roads unless those roads have bikelanes... Personally I don't care about bike lanes because it's just a white line which doesn't make it any safer, I don't have a problem riding in traffic...However, I do enjoy some of our MUPS and off the road trails and I wish we had more of them...
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Old 08-03-14, 05:01 PM   #17
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Do you "real Canadians" agree that climate and terrain make it a little harder for many Canadians to embrace bicycling?
I don't know if I can agree with that...Parts of Northern Europe have a very wet and cold climate and they have a lot more bicycle commuters then in Canada.
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Old 08-03-14, 06:23 PM   #18
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We talk a lot hear about carfree issues, but seems to me most of the issues are south of your border.

I'm Canadian but live in the US. I've noticed In Canada there seems to be a lot more bicycles and much less bicycle infrastructure... but my view may be incorrect.

What is different about active transportation by bicycle in Canada?

Tell us what Canada does well...

You might find this article interesting ...
Top 10 cycling communities in Canada

The city I'm most familiar with is, of course, Winnipeg. As they indicate the grades are easy (Winnipeg, and an area 150 km around Winnipeg, is pancake flat ... highway overpasses are large mountains) ... and the roads are wider than most, which makes it quite easy for cyclists and motor vehicles to share the road comfortably.

Winnipeg doesn't have a European-size cycling community, but the cycling community there is a decent size and quite diverse.
This is the Manitoba Cycling Association: Welcome | Manitoba Cycling Association

[HR][/HR]

I wonder if another factor is that there are a lot of smaller cities and towns in Canada. I spent most of my life in those smaller cities and towns, and children there are taught to ride bicycles at an early age. Or at least they used to be.

I started commuting by bicycle when I was 6 ... as did the large majority of my classmates. That's how we got around as kids, and there was no cycling infrastructure. When we hit 16, we started driving ... but some continued to cycle.


We were also taught bicycle safety in school, and more recently (1985) the Canadian Cycling Association had developed the Can-Bike program ... a bicycle education program for both children and adults:
http://canbikecanada.ca/
CCA - CAN-BIKE

"Designed for the more than 14 million Canadians who ride bicycles, the Canadian Cycling Association's CAN-BIKE program is a series of courses on all aspects of cycling safely and enjoyably on the road; it is oriented toward recreational and utilitarian cycling. The CAN-BIKE cycling safety program provides a nationally standardized set of courses that can be taught through a variety of organizations who are interested in education, safety and health.

CAN-BIKE Instructors are nationally certified highly skilled cyclists and instructors."
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Old 08-03-14, 06:42 PM   #19
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I'm Canadian, female, live not too far from El Cid. I'm carlite and use my bike 95% of the time.

It's not hard to get around my city, I use bike lanes where I can and sidewalks where it's unsafe to be on the roads.

In the dead of winter I walk or use transit.

I can't compare us to the U.S . because I've never ridden there.

Cycling is becoming more popular all the time but if we could ever get separated bike lanes, it would become even more popular.

All I can say is that being able to ride around the city and avoid car use has improved my quality of life immensely...
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Old 08-03-14, 06:52 PM   #20
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I live in Montreal, Quebec and have been car free for the past 15 years. We have very good public transportation and 60% of adult residents do not own cars. The bike infrastructure has consistently been voted in the top 10 in the world. In the past couple of years I've noticed more parents biking with young children. Friends who visit Montreal always comment on the numbers of women on road bikes.
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Old 08-03-14, 06:53 PM   #21
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When I lived In Toronto i only had a hike and a bus/subway pass....it worked good.
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Old 08-04-14, 06:57 PM   #22
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I live in Montreal, Quebec and have been car free for the past 15 years. We have very good public transportation and 60% of adult residents do not own cars. The bike infrastructure has consistently been voted in the top 10 in the world. In the past couple of years I've noticed more parents biking with young children. Friends who visit Montreal always comment on the numbers of women on road bikes.
Montreal is the Amsterdam of Canada.
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Old 08-04-14, 09:14 PM   #23
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Montreal is the Amsterdam of Canada.
We are a long way from it but recently the Gov't appointed Louis Garneau, a former Olympic cyclist and cycling products manufacturer to study the present situation regarding conflicts between cars, cyclists and pedestrians and to recommend changes to the highway code if needed.

Last year 14 cyclists died on Quebec roads, 146 suffered serious injuries and 1500 were treated in hospital.
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Old 08-05-14, 12:15 PM   #24
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I live in Montreal, Quebec and have been car free for the past 15 years. We have very good public transportation and 60% of adult residents do not own cars.
Are you sure about that 60%? It sounds very high.
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Old 08-05-14, 02:50 PM   #25
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My error. From About Montreal

Montreal has a great reputation in the commuting department and residents echo the latter with frequent public transit use. Despite a decline pattern in public commuting over the last twenty years, the latest Census figures show that 21.4% of employed Montrealers use public transit to get to work (and more than half of downtown workers commute), the highest proportion in Canada after Toronto, a city with a 22.2% ride-to-work rate.

With the lowest personal car ownership rate in Canadian and U.S. cities as well, one third of Montreal households don't have cars at all, suggesting a possible trend toward sustainable modes of transportation.

But it's not just about coverage and convenience. For many Montrealers, it's a bottom line issue, with commuters saving thousands a year on transportation and in a position to claim tax credits on their federal tax returns. For others, it's an environmental concern knowing buses spew out nine times less greenhouse gases than cars and electrical-powered subways cause even less environmental damage.
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