Despite the inclusion of a couple of new cities in the ranking and the performance of others, Montreal hangs on to a Top 20 finish in 2015. The city has long been the best North American city for cycling, not least because they have had a semblance of protected bike lanes since the late 1980s. Montreal continues to impress, despite slipping in the rankings. A strong gender split - unusual for North America - and stretches of decent infrastructure with impressive numbers of cyclists using them each day keep Montréal's baseline firm. A great bike share system and consistent advocacy adds to the cocktail. Montréal is hanging on to their spot but it won't take much to slip further - now that so many cities around the world are gearing up for change. City Hall launched a cycling plan after our editorial deadline, but it wouldn't have affected their score at this stage. Let's see if anything happens with it.
In the surrounding region, Montréal rises above cities like Ottawa, Toronto and Boston. Only the Canadian capital seems intent on giving them a run for their money, while farther afield, Vancouver is drumming up some hype without being able to convert it into ridership. Montréal is a global city so cities like New York City and Paris should be their yardstick for comparison - and they are keeping up with those Joneses for now.
The brilliant visions that have come out of the Plateau borough have failed to replicate across the city at large. Politicians need to force planners and especially engineers need to improve and to plan a network that makes sense for the next 100 years. Again, Best Practice is often ignored, which is regrettable. Better winter maintenance is a must, cycle tracks along main arteries should be a no-brainer (especially with the shocking state of the asphalt on the roads) and feel free to borrow traffic calming inspiration from Paris and Barcelona.