How Montreal became the most bicycle-friendly city in North America - Bike Boom, Carlton Reid

Headlines are quick hits from media outlets from Missouri and around the world. Follow the headline link for the full story. The source of this headline says:

With almost 400 miles of cycleways—including a two-mile curb-protected
cycleway smack-bang in the Central Business District—Montreal is considered to be the best cycling city in North America. The city was twentieth out of twenty in the Copenhagenize Report’s index of best cycling cities in 2015 but, significantly, it was one of only three non-European cities included on the list.

Montreal became bicycle-friendly because of people power. Le Monde à
Bicyclette was founded in April 1975, and many of the campaign tactics employed by this bicycle-advocacy group are still used by advocacy groups around the world. Montreal’s first “stop killing cyclists” demonstration—modeled after playdead protests in the Netherlands from earlier in the 1970s—used black humor, urging protestors to “Come die-in with me.” A placard at one of these die-ins demanded “vélo pour la vie”—“bicycle for life.” . . .

The group’s longest-running cyclodrama was when activists carried bulky items onto Montreal’s metro—a ladder, skis, a papier-mâché hippopotamus—while those with less bulky bicycles were refused access. After three years of these “cyclo-provocations,” MAB won the subway access for cyclists it had sought.

MAB also constructed car-sized wooden frames for placing over moving
bicycles to demonstrate how much space Montreal would save if it catered to cyclists, and not just to automobiles. “Motorists got really mad at that,” remembered Silverman, with a twinkle in his eye.

Always willing to suffer for the cause, Silverman was sentenced to eight days in the clink for refusing to pay a small fine levied after he was caught illegally painting a cycle lane on a residential street. (He was released after two days.) “Bicycle Bob” is now 83, partially blind, and no longer able to cycle—I pedaled him around his old haunts with the help of a cargo bike—but he remains passionate about what he and Morissette were able to achieve as the leaders of Le Monde à Bicyclette.

MoBikeFed comment: The above is a short excerpt from Bike Boom: The Unexpected Resurgence of Cycling by Carlton Reid, an excellent book that tells much of the history of bicycling and bicycle advocacy from the late 1800s on.

You can read the complete Back Matter, from which the above was excerpted, here:

You can find out more about Bike Boom here:

Purchase it here:

Read Reid's Bike Boom blog here: