The City of Calgary has dubbed Calgary a bike-friendly city, with bikes permitted on most roads. There is an amazing pathway system shared by cyclists, walkers, runners and rollerbladers. Calgary’s multi-use pathways have a speed limit of 20 kms/hr, unless posted otherwise, and for the most part, all the different users of the pathways co-habitate peacefully. Many downtown buildings have bicycle parking facilities and support for cyclists is integrated into the transit system.
However, while there is definitely a wonderful infrastructure for recreational cycling (Calgary has the largest network of cycling pathways in North America), not all drivers in Calgary are particularly “bike tolerant”. Cycling in Calgary can be a terrific experience, but don’t expect to take a leisurely ride through the streets of downtown Calgary. Watch out for the City buses, too. While most City bus drivers are good about sharing the road with cyclists, there are some that make it very clear they don’t think cyclists belong on the road.
Also, watch for unleashed dogs. Dogs are supposed to be leashed while on the pathways, and under control when off their leashes, but there are many dog owners who do not, or can not, control their dogs.
When cycling on any road, as in any city, be sure to abide by the rules and ride safely. Being treated respectfully by other vehicles on the road is something that needs to go both ways.
City of Calgary’s cycling pages
The City of Calgary has a cycling section on their portal that includes information on Calgary’s cycling network, commuter information and more.
There are a number of bylaws that apply to cyclists in Calgary.
- Parks — bicycle use on pathways.
- Stephen Avenue Mall — bicycle use and parking on the mall.
- Transit — bicycles and transit.
- Traffic — use of bicycles on Calgary roads
Alberta Transportation has a great kid-friendly page on bicycle safety for kids.
Alberta’s helmet law
As of May 1, 2002, Alberta has a new bicycle helmet law. Parents could be fined if a child under the age of 16 rides without an approved bike helmet. Young adults age 16 and 17 who ride without an approved bike helmet could be fined.
Calgary’s mountain bike cops
Calgary has had a “bike cops team” since 1990 and the team operates year round. Their primary focus is on drug enforcement and interdiction. They’ve had great success in a PR role as well and can often be seen riding downtown. Other districts throughout the city also have bike cops patrolling various park areas.
Calgary’s mountain bike paramedics
Emergency Medical Services has a special group of mountain bike paramedics. Equipped with advanced life support (ALS) systems, these paramedics on bikes can be found in the parks and at special events.
Park ‘n’ Bike locations
There are several designated spots around Calgary where you can park your car and ride (or run, rollerblade, etc.) into the downtown core.
- Home Road
- Edworthy North
- Edworthy South
- Sandy Beach
- Vista Heights
- Max Bell Arena
- Pearce Estates
For more info, see the City’s “Park ‘n’ Ride” page.
Bikes on the trains
Bikes are allowed on the trains, but only within certain hours:
Before 6:30 a.m.
9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
After 6:00 p.m.
Weekends & holidays:
There are no hourly restrictions on weekends on holidays, but bikes may be prohibited during events that result in large crowds using the trains (before and after hockey games, etc.)
First-come, first-serve bicycle lockers are available at several train stations. You’ll have to bring your own padlock, and there is no fee. Bikes are not to be stored in these lockers overnight.
Bikes on buses
Bike racks have been mounted on the fronts of the many buses in Calgary. The racks carry a maximum of two bikes and are simple to operate, but the bus drivers will not assist you in mounting or removing your bike.
For more info, see the Calgary Transit “Bikes on Board” page.