Victoria, British Columbia Bicycle Master Plan

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Victoria, Canada

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Type: Policy

Status: Adopted

Source File:


Go here to download the full plan.

Executive Summary

As the Capital City for the Province of British Columbia, Victoria has many geographic, environmental and urban features that make it the "Cycling Capital of Canada."

The climate is mild most of the year, the topography is moderate, and the urban area is compact enough to make cycling feasible. For example, most of the population in the region is located within 6 km of the downtown, which is an ideal range for attracting cyclists.

To recognize the value of cycling to the quality of life and efficiency of transportation in the City, the terms of reference for Victoria's Integrated Transportation Strategy called for the preparation of a Bicycle Master Plan that proposes policies, engineering standards, enforcement measures, cycling networks and other measures to actively encourage greater cycle use and ensure maximum safety.

The recommendations are linked to the City's stated goals of increasing the numbers of people riding bicycles (primarily for commuting, but also for recreation) and making cycling safer.

The Bicycle Master Plan supports the Capital Regional District's Cycling Strategy and many of the recommendations made over the past three years by the Greater Victoria Cycling Coalition.

Victoria's Mandate
In July 1991 City Council established a mission statement that said, "Committed to a vision of a strong downtown and strong neighbourhoods, the City of Victoria will have open, responsive government that enables citizens to live in a socially responsible, environmentally responsible, artistically rich, and people-oriented city that is economically viable."

The City of Victoria commissioned the Bicycle Master Plan in response to community involvement during the City's development of its Integrated Transportation Strategy. The Bicycle Master Plan is part of the total strategy for transportation management and offers a framework to advance the goals outlined in the City's mission statement.

In order to try to change the trend of the increasing use of the automobile, the City of Victoria is committed to encouraging more cycling, transit or walking. Its leadership needs to include policies focusing on all alternative modes of travel, as well as long- range funding support to achieve the City's goals.

Major Findings and Priorities

Cycling Activity
Today, there are more than 5000 bicycle trips during the peak hours, but further growth is hampered by insufficient facilities or a perception of lack of safety. For example, many employees showed a desire to cycle, even part-time, but they felt that it was not safe. This view was expressed by both recreational and commuter cyclists.

To address these concerns, the Bicycle Master Plan has focussed on five key areas that should form the basis of future municipal efforts in promoting cycling. These areas are:

  • Develop community acceptance: It is important the City involve the public and educate the community on the benefits of cycling if we are to fully integrate cycling as a viable transportation option.
  • Improve the level of safety: Safety is a complex issue and there is a need to utilize all options to respond to improving cycling safety. Many options currently exist, such as bicycle licensing and insurance programs, education programs, enforcement, legislation and developing cycling facilities.
  • Provide more facilities: This includes the provision of safe cycling routes, bicycle lockers and other related amenities.
  • Provide a funding level: Policies for cycling have existed since 1976 in the City. However, other than minor initiatives, ongoing cycling programs have not been realized due to funding. It is estimated that an annual funding program of $50,000 to $100,000 per annum will fulfill many of the Bicycle Master Plan objectives by the year 2010.
  • Implement the Bicycle Master Plan: The most important priority is the implementation of the plan. If the City is to work towards a people-friendly environment, cycling will be a major factor in achieving this goal. Action is necessary before opportunities are lost to the automobile. A goal of this plan is to see the Bicycle Master Plan implemented by the year 2010.