Quebec's Route Verte
#1 in the world by National Geographic
April 18, 2010
Québec's route verte is a joint effort between Vélo Québec (a non-profit organization pushing bicycle usage) and the provincial government. In the 1980's, Vélo Québec began planning and brainstorming ideas for a bike-path infrastructure throughout the province. In 1995, the Québec government announced it would join forces with the organization and invested $88.5 million over 10 years. This money has gone to developing over 4,000 kilometres of bicycle-only routes. These pathways can now be found throughout southern Québec, adjacent to roads and through parks.
The main bike path is called La Route Verte. In our experience travelling on it (in and around Montréal, to Ontario, around Lac St Jean and around the Gaspé peninsula) the pathways and signage can easily be followed. Maps of different portions of the route can be found in bookstores and gas stations. We have had to use our GPS only a few times. In the past year we have seen more and more signs go up directing bikers and keeping them off busy roads. While having maps (perhaps a GPS too) is always a necessary backup, I think eventually a tourer entering Québec will not have any problems navigating across. The planners are off to a great start, as we’ve found many options for entering the busy city of Montréal by bike is no problem. The extent of Route Verte is shown here on the government's velo site.
Québec has led the way in North America by rolling out this infrastructure for bicycles. It is an obvious choice for city governments – more people on bikes means less cars, less parking spaces downtown, reduced pollution, quieter and with a healthy population, less on health care. While Montréal is not yet an Amsterdam, the city is well on its way.
In a book from National Geographic, Journey's of Lifetime, La Route Verte is listed as the world’s #1 bicycle route. See the article here.