May the wheels be with you: May is National Bike Month!

May 6, 2022

Clara Phillips

Come along for the ride this May as we celebrate Bike Month 2022! Dedicate this month to riding your bike as much as you can, and enjoy the many benefits that cycling offers for your health and for the environment. Whether you are a new, learning, or experienced rider, there are numerous ways to fit cycling into your daily routine. Ride your bike to work, use it to run errands, or simply take it out for some exercise or a leisurely ride.

Great for all ages, cycling can help offset the impacts associated with sedentary lifestyles. It is low impact and easy on the joints, and you can choose the intensity to match your level of fitness. It has been shown to improve posture, sleep, and mental health, and the cardiovascular benefits are clear: in a 2017 UK study with over 260,000 participants, cycling to work was found to reduce the risk of early death by cardiovascular disease by 48%.

Choosing to cycle not only improves your physical and mental health, but it takes cars off the road and reduces greenhouse gas emissions in the process. In a 2010 Green Paper published by Share the Road Cycling Coalition, various statistics are reported that demonstrate the environmental costs to inactive forms of transportation:

  • Cycling instead of driving directly eliminates emissions from transportation, which currently accounts for 30% of all of Canada’s emissions.
  • Air pollution causes 9,500 premature deaths per year in Ontario, with the highest numbers of smog-related deaths in Toronto, Peel Region, and York Region.
  • 57% of Canadians who travel to work by car live less than five kilometers from work. This causes a lot of unnecessary congestion on the road, as Environment Canada has recognized cycling as the fastest mode of transport for distances up to five kilometers.

Check out the City of Toronto’s Cycling Network Map and Trails Maps to help plan your route. If you can’t commute to work by bike, you can still reap many of the benefits with just a few hours of gentle cycling each week. We encourage you to get out in any way you can – start with short routes around your neighbourhood, and work your way up to running small errands with your bike rather than with your car.

If you are among the 60% of Ontarians who say they would cycle more often if road cycling safety was improved, click here to learn more about how Share the Road is building bicycle-safe communities, and get involved with your own advocacy toolkit.

Looking to log your riding and track how much your fellow cyclists are riding? Use the Bike Month kilometer counter and even be entered to win a prize! Sign up and pledge here.

As part of West Park’s efforts for environmental sustainability in the planning of the new hospital, the campus will incorporate many features to encourage safe cycling for staff, patients, and visitors, supporting a healthy and sustainable way to travel to West Park. Stay tuned for more information coming soon from Campus Development about the planned bicycle spaces for the new building.

We hope that you enjoy some time spent cycling this month (and continue into the summer!). Encourage your colleagues, neighbours and family members to do the same, but remember, safety first!

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