Montreal Bike Lanes — James Schwartz

Bike lanes: do you use them, can’t do without them, or feel they’re in the way?

As reported by the CBC, in early March the Angus Reid Institute polled over 5,400 Canadians on cycling. Results were released today; not surprisingly, views on cycling and protected bike lanes really depended upon respondent age and length of journey to work, and which part of the country surveyed they came from.

As Angus Reid Institute executive director Shachi Kurl suggested, there’s a reframing happening in terms of how people are perceiving modes of transportation that is possibly just as profound as that which occurred with the 20th century shift towards the combustion engine and vehicles.

Overall, 78 per cent of respondents stated they drove most of the time, while 16 per cent took transit, and 7 per cent cycled several times a week.

From the respondents there was more of an acceptance of protected bike lanes, with only 17 per cent saying that they were not a good thing. Thirty per cent of those polled in Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary said there were too many bike lanes. Edmonton and Calgary also had less than half of those surveyed being positive to bike lanes. If protected bike lanes are built and being used by residents, there was a more positive attitude towards the infrastructure.

In Winnipeg and Halifax survey respondents said there were too few bike lanes. The greatest support for protected bike lanes came from respondents in Montreal, which has done a laudatory job in investing in a bike lane network, a strong and visible presence over many decades; 80 per cent of Montrealers were satisfied with this level of infrastructure.

There were also some unsurprising responses regarding cyclist-vehicle interactions. Nearly two-thirds of motorists blamed cyclists for not following the rules of the road, while almost the same amount of cyclists blamed motorists. Clearly, more work needs to be done on education, and enforcement of the various rules of the road, including what ‘sharing’ means.

While some have questioned the survey for why it would show the “divide” between those that want cycling infrastructure and those who don’t, the survey also indicates where more demonstration projects, education and promotion on the importance of walking and cycling for health and transport is needed.

You can take a look at the Angus Reid Institute’s questions and findings here.

Hornby Separated Bike Lane — Paul Krueger


  1. I was encouraged by the survey finding that 73% of people across the country agreed with the statement “In general, bike lanes make a community a better place to live”

  2. I’m always curious who pays for surveys like this – they never happen in a vacuum.
    They’re not cheap, and if there’s an agenda, it’s simpler to spot bias.

  3. Opinion is opinion. It would be nice to see some facts presented at the same time about who causes conflict or actual crash statistics which in Vancouver at least show drivers at fault most of the time.

    1. So true, the survey seemed to be mostly about opinions. The article doesn’t even counter them with evidence.
      I’m so disappointed in the CBC, they seem to be acting like any corporate media outlet. They’re supposed to be our public broadcaster. They should not be pitting people against each other like this.
      Look at the pictures chosen. The chose pictures with young men only and didn’t use any pictures with women or with older people. I doubt this was an accident. Somebody is framing things.

      In the question about conflict what were the options? Was infrastructure design even an option? Were people told to just pick a tribe?

  4. The CBC didn’t pay for this survey; and the ‘god does it still exist Vancouver Sun’ reposted it with some fat ads including a particularly obnoxious one for AutoTrader.
    Again, can anyone shed light on who laid out cash for this survey – who and why? Who does it serve? What is the stated purpose of this survey? Who hired the inmates of the Angus Reid “Institute”? These “non-profiteers” pocketed serious coin from someone.

    1. Look up the Angus Reid Institute. It is a non profit. They have published guidelines on their approaches to surveys.

      1. a. That’s not the question
        b. There’s big money in “non-profits”
        c. There are a plethora of non-profits/organizations/groups/institutes/asociations/think tanks … that can be hired to manipulate opinion – billionaires do it all the time. It sounds more plausible coming from a group with an uplifting title than t.heir obviously paid media mouthpieces. Eg. Americans for Prosperity, a politcal advocacy group currently being investigated; funded by the Kochs. Non-profit sounds better than p.r. flack.
        A cursory look at Angus Reid shows that it is owned by a publicly traded French company with over 16,000 employees.
        Methodologies and results are easily controlled. Why don’t they say who paid?
        You didn’t wake up this morning and decide to spend a pile on a survey.
        Who paid? It’s a simple question. From there, we can maybe figure out why.

      2. It seems you are conflating the company Angus Reid founded and later sold (to Ipsos), with the not for profit institute he later founded.

        The Institute notes that they can partner on research. When you look at a recent study that they say they partnered on (multiculturalism) the partner organization is identified in the report. Seems reasonable.

  5. Confusion, conflation, or obfuscation, whether it’s the Reid Institute, Reid Group, or Reid Strategies; for profit, or non-profit, the question remains the same. Who paid and why?
    It is completely reasonable to identify the patron. Contracts like this don’t fall off a turnip truck.
    Don’t you want to know who paid, or is it completely irrelevant?

    1. We know who paid. It is on the About Us page of the institute’s web site. We can see their funding policies, etc.

      It is not very relevant to me, since this is just a summary report on an opinion survey. We aren’t dealing in facts here. I found this particular survey to have some gaps, but a far bigger issue to me is the slant that each (for profit) news organization put on their own report on the survey, including headlines. That is where the spin is evident, more so than in the opinion survey itself, IMO. One way to avoid that spin, or at least to identify it, is to read the actual (free) report on the institute’s website, and see if local news reports cherry picked items or not. I wouldn’t rely on one source and consider that I was informed.

  6. If you know who paid, please share – “other non-profits and partners” – doesn’t cut it.
    What I did find fascinating is Reid himself – a man vastly more clever than either of us. He sold his Reid Group, a marketing company, for a 100 million, to the French. And kept the name! Two of them! Throwing descriptors like Institute and Strategies at the end. Cannot believe the French let him keep the Reid name.
    I used to be amazed that corporations could get water for free and sell it. This is better. You don’t have to haul it around. You can operate out of cubicles. The overhead is minuscule.
    And did he retire to grow vegetable marrows? No.
    Didn’t see this guy on Shark Tank.
    As far reading the report – mindless fluff that we all know to be rehashed by media that need time slots to fill and ad space to sell.

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