Active Transportation

Photo of a cyclist.

Benefits of active transportation:

  • Opportunities for people to be physically active on a regular basis
  • Improve posture and balance
  • Lowering blood pressure
  • Increasing your energy
  • Increasing your flexibility and muscle strength
  • Lowering your stress levels
  • Improve mental health 
  • Less motor vehicle traffic on our roads
  • Improved local air quality and reduced greenhouse gas emissions
  • Reduces noise pollution and congestion
  • Reduces the need for new parking lots and roadways
  • Saves green space from development 
In 2017, there were 511,757,541 vehicle kilometres travelled in Sault Ste Marie. This was calculated by collecting traffic volume data and centre line length data. This resulted in 173,847 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2e), and is the second largest source of emissions in Sault Ste. Marie. Click here to read the Sault Ste. Marie Greenhouse Gas Reduction Plan.  
  • Saves money on gas and parking
  • On average, driving 1 km in your car costs $13- to $20 dollars. Walking or biking 1 km costs nearly nothing!
  • Motor vehicles cause a lot more wear and tear on roads compared to walking and cycling
  • Less need for corporate subsidized parking and fitness programs
  • Active commuters support local businesses
Getting Started 

Choosing A Bike

There are a variety of bikes that you can choose from with different functions, such as:  
  1. Recreational: you mostly bike for leisure or part of your regular exercise routine.
  2. Utilitarian - you mostly bike to work or to do errands, etc.
  3. Competitive - you want to participate in organized races. 
Other things to consider include where you plan to use your bike, such as trails, commutes, or long-distance touring. The type of terrain that you use will require different bikes.
A description of some of the key types of bikes and their uses is provided below:  
  1. Mountain Bike: Best used for heavy-duty, off road, and trail riding due to its strong and durable tires.
  1. Road Bike: Best used on road and city riding. Great bike to cycle in the city and training. 
  1. Utility (City/ Commuter) Bike: Best used for short distance city riding, with medium tires. 
  1. Fat Bike: Best used for unstable terrain, such as snow, sand, bogs and mud, a strong frame and oversize durable tires.
Cycling equipment

A bicycle is considered a vehicle under Ontario's Highway Traffic Act (HTA). Cyclists have the right and responsibility to obey all traffic laws as others. For the safety of cyclists and other road users, the following items are legal requirements for your safety and others:
  • Helmet: A helmet prevents serious injury and cyclists under the age of 18 are required to wear an approved bicycle helmet when cycling on any public road. It is also strongly recommended for people above 18 to also wear a helmet. 
  • Bicycle Lights: Make sure your bike includes a white front light and a rear red light or reflector. They are required for safety, especially if are riding between 30 min before sunset and 30 min after sunrise, to ensure visibility for other people or drivers. 
  • Brake system: A functioning brake system is needed for the bike to be on the road for safety of your own and others. 
Optional items:
These items can improve your comfort and convenience while riding.
  • Safety & Security: Mirror, Water Bottle, Lock, Basic Tool Kit, Non-slip shoes or pedals, Gloves 
  • Comfort: Water Bottle Cage, Fenders/Mud guards, Chain Guards
Cycling Safety and Riding Safely  

As you are cycling, you must follow the rules of the road. Visit Ontario's Guide to Safe Cycling to learn more about cycling regulation.

Some of the key rules and best practices for cycling are included below:

  • Bike on the right – ride with the flow of traffic on the right hand side of the road
  • Don’t weave in and out of traffic.
  • Stay close to the curb and watch for uneven pavement and debris.
  • Give yourself plenty of room. Remember that you have the right to take a lane if necessary.
  • Avoid roads with lots of traffic. Whenever possible use trails, paths and bike lanes instead.
  • Wear bright or reflective clothing so others can see you easily at night or in bad weather.
Bicycle security 
Bikes, like cars can be stolen, it’s important to take extra steps to keep your bike safe. One of the best things you can do is register your bike with the police, which will greatly increase your chances of having your bicycle returned to you if it is lost or stolen. Some of the other key bike security precautions include:
  • Keep your bike in a visible, well-lit high-traffic area.
  • Use secure parking facilities (bike shelters or indoor bike parking facilities).
  • Lock both wheels and the frame to the rack. Secure your bike’s components or remove them; consider using regular bolts instead of quick releases (wheels that use a mechanism to allow the wheels to be removed quickly and without any tools).
  • Choose a strong lock and combine two different types of locks.
  • Don’t lock your bike to objects that can be easily cut.
  • Don’t lock your bike to someone else’s bicycle.
  • Don’t lock your bike in the same place all the time.
  • Don’t place your lock near the ground where thieves can crush it.
Where to bike?

There are many places that you can ride your bike in Sault Ste. Marie. It is important to understand that the rules can vary from place to place so make sure that you are aware of
any before you head out. Key places to bike in sault Ste. Marie include:
  • On the roadsides and bike lanes
  • On the multi-use trails – such as the Hub Trail
  • Cross rides (allow cyclists to stay on their bikes while crossing through intersections. They are identified with a line of painted squares on both sides the crossing). 
Equally important is understanding where you should bike. Areas where you cannot bike include sidewalks or in areas where there are “No Bicycle” signs posted.
Click here to learn more about using your bike in Sault Ste. Marie.

Bicycles and Public Transit 
In Sault Ste. Marie commuters can conveniently cycle to a bus stop or station, and then bring their bike on the bus. By biking and bussing you’ll not only improve your health, but also help reduce gas emissions. In Sault Ste. Marie most transit buses have bike racks.
Visit Sault Ste. Marie Transit Services for more information.
If you plan to load your bike on the bus bike racks, please follow these instructions for both loading and unloading of your bike.
Loading Your Bike Unloading your Bike
  • Once the bus comes to a complete stop, signal to the Bus Operator that you are going to be using the bike rack. Wait for the Bus Operator to signal back before you start loading your bicycle.
  • Always load and unload your bicycle from the curbside or front of the bus. Do not use locks or chains to attach your bike to the rack. Pull the marked handle up to release and lower the rack.
  • Load your bicycle, placing the front and rear wheels in the appropriate wheel slots. (A label will indicate where to place the front wheel.)
  • After the bike is in position, pull the support arm out and place it over the front tire.
  • Once you arrive at your destination, inform the Bus Operator that you will be unloading your bicycle.
  • Approach the bike rack from the curbside. Raise the support arm off of the front tire and move it down to its loading position.
  • Lift your bicycle from the rack towards the curb. If the rack is empty, fold up the rack until it locks into place.
  • Carry your bicycle off the roadway to the sidewalk. Never cross in front of the bus. Signal to the Bus Operator that you are clear of the bus and wait until it is safe to move.

Biking Resources

Sault Ste. Marie is a cycling friendly community. There are many shops and resources to help residents and visitors. Please see below for some helpful links on bicycle shops in Sault Ste. Marie as well as some resources to connect you with our local cycling community.  
Bicycle Shops in Sault Ste. Marie

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