Cycling into Environment Week: keeping up good habits

It’s Environment Week and the City of Ottawa is encouraging cycling as a way to get around the city. While Physical Activity Month and the Bike to Work campaign ended last Tuesday, there are still many reasons to use your bike to get around. The weather is better, fuel prices are still high, and biking can help you increase your fitness level.

Biking also helps to create a better, more sustainable city. A study conducted by the City of Ottawa put a price tag on the total public cost per passenger trip. Including construction, maintenance, land value, enforcement, unaccounted accidents, air, noise and water pollution, costs per passenger trip are $2.50 per car driver, $1.76 per transit user, $0.24 per cyclist and $0.10 per pedestrian.

Important cycling events over the month of May included:

  • Organization of several Bike to Work events aimed at encouraging cyclists to commute, from providing bicycle adjustments and workplace seminars to rewarding bike commuters with coffee and bike flags. During the campaign, 861 people pledged to cycle to work all month. They accumulated 759,000 km and saved almost 200,000 kg of greenhouse gas emissions. All of them were entered into a draw for a brand new bicycle courtesy of Kunstadt Sports that was awarded to Meghan Watkinson.

  • Residents of all ages also took part in the annual Every Day in May campaign. Research has shown great health benefits for adults who get at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day. If you were one of them, complete your entry form by June 22 to be eligible for a new bike and other great prizes. If you didn’t participate in May, turn June into your own physical activity month.

There are also several ongoing initiatives and resources to promote cycling that will be of interest to residents:

  • Continuous improvements to Ottawa’s bicycle network: Many improvements continue to be made, including the segregated bike lane along Laurier Avenue – a pilot project that aims to make bike commuting through the downtown core more safe and convenient. Experience one of our new pathways for yourself on a City of Ottawa guided bicycle tour from Roy G. Hobbs Community Centre to Petrie Island (less than 5km each way). This tour marks the launch of a series of self-guided bicycle tours aimed at helping residents discover and navigate the great pathways that exist across the city. For more information on the tour, please visit

  • Launch of the iWalk iBike campaign: This campaign is designed to promote walking and cycling as viable transportation choices. There are hundreds of good reasons to leave the car at home. Tell us yours and enter the “What is Your Reason?” contest by June 18. You can also still register for a chance to win great prizes in the iWalk iBike Sweepstakes: Track your time, or click on locations via the Google Map to see how many calories you have burned, your reduction in CO2 emissions and the fuel dollars you have saved.

  • Cycling Map: Watch for the new City of Ottawa Cycling Map coming in the next few weeks. Our thanks to local cyclists who have provided input for the new map. Google Maps is now providing a ‘Bicycling’ route option for Ottawa to help you plan your route. It’s in “Beta” trials, so please send any corrections directly to Google through their web-feedback form.

  • OC Transpo’s Rack and Roll Program: 350 buses are equipped with front-mounted bike racks. The Rack & Roll program runs from May to October and is available on select routes. Bikes can also be transported year-round on the O-Train.

  • The City of Ottawa offers CAN-BIKE courses for all ages and skill levels. They teach riding skills, traffic analysis skills, and collision avoidance techniques. They also provide the basics on safe equipment, and a basic bike inspection. For more information, contact the City Wide Sports office at 613-580-2854.

For more information on smart commuting, visit the City of Ottawa’s TravelWise website.