Kids learn to bike safely in a Mtl park

This installation has directional signs, dinosaur crossing panels, small speed bumps and bridges

Kids learn to bike safely in a Mtl park

Credit: Plateau Mont-Royal / Toma Iczkovits

A popular bicycle installation in Plateau-Mont-Royal borough has reopened for a second season. Located in the heart of La Fontaine Park, Jardin du Petit Monde à bicyclette is designed to help children aged 2 to 12 practice their cycling skills and build confidence in a safe location away from vehicle traffic. Highlights in the sectioned-off area are directional signs, dinosaur and animal crossing panels, painted designs to follow, small “speed bumps” and bridges, as well as a maintenance area where young cyclists can make sure their bikes are in tip-top condition.

Initiated by the Plateau-Mont-Royal borough, and produced in collaboration with Vélo Québec, this will be the second year that the park is available to Montreal children, but will actually be its first full season. The bicycle park was inaugurated last year on September 12, 2020 with additional support from various partners.

Marianne Giguère, city councillor responsible for active transport in the borough, spoke at the park on opening day and emphasized the importance of learning good habits early in life as well as road safety rules, civility, and respect. She also explained that the choice of name came about following a call for proposals, and is a poetic nod to the group “Le Monde à Bicyclette” — who campaigned in the 1970s and 1980s to institute the bicycle as a means of transport in the city.

Credit: : Lëa-Kim Châteauneuf, CC BY:SA

New for the 2021 season

A $10,000 financial contribution from the borough allowed for the project to resume this year and added supervision of the site. The surface and furnishings will be repainted and financial support from Sport Loisir île de Montréal will go towards purchase balance bikes and bicycles to lend, and a container in which to store them.

Beginning June 12, 2021, and continuing on alternating Saturdays, the Centre Sablon — whose purpose is to facilitate access to sport and the outdoors for as many young people as possible — will be offering free activities for children aged 4-11. And kids can also borrow a variety of bike sizes for free on Mondays and Wednesdays from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.

“We feel that the [bike] playground will reach its highest potential with such directed activities around road safety. It will also be a great playing and learning field for children taking part in the Cycliste averti summer camps (ages 10-12), also offered by Sablon in partnership with Vélo Québec,” said Magali Bebronne, program director at Vélo Québec.

Plateau Mont-Royal / Toma Iczkovits

The bicycle education park — which sits on the former access road and parking lot of the Calixa-Lavallée Cultural Centre — is a transitional project that will eventually change location. The master plan of La Fontaine Park calls for the asphalt surface to be replaced with green space.

One of the first cycling education spaces in Quebec, the Jardin du petit monde à bicyclette was recently selected as one of the 20 recipients of 2021 Novae Prize, which awards Quebec’s most innovative solutions of the year.

The installation will be open until November 1, 2021, and can be used free of charge by all Montrealers.

Related reading: How to choose a helmet for your child