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June 11/09 15:48 pm - Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve to be Closed to 'Performance" Cyclists

Posted by Editoress on 06/11/09

The F1 racetrack in Montreal - Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve has been used by Montreal area cyclists for many years to train (safely) at speed. That use is now in jeopardy as the park managers will close the park to performance cyclists saying that  a number of accidents in 2008 leaves them no choice.

The managers of Parc Jean-Drapeau - where the circuit is located - apparently have arbitrarily made this decision without consulting regular users or their federations (FQSC, TriQuebec, Can. Speed Skating [who appearantly also train there]).

Park Mgmt has decided to erect "barriers [speed bumps or chicanes]  as of June 6th to prevent cyclists from using the course as a training location.  They would prefer that the entire F1 track be used as a cycling path - for recreational bike users only, saying that "only 300 performance cyclists" will be "affected" however, a petition in circulation has over 1300 signatures.

The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is used by Canadian Paralympian mega-gold medallist Chantal Petitclerc who has also expressed her displeasure with this decision.

The FQSC (ED: Louis Barbeau) has stated that they were not consulted and that the new "rowing basin track" is totally unsuitable for cyclists.

The Park mgmt has recommended that cyclists who wish to train should use the nearby track that circles the Olympic Basin. Something that is not going over well with the rowing community. See article at

Quebec's Rowing Federation president has also stated that they don't want cyclists around the basin, and that it would be enormously dangerous.
-Parc mgmt has advised performance cyclists to use a one-lane bike path built around the rowing basin as a training area instead. The aforementioned, one-lane bike path is totally unsuitable and furthermore, totally unsafe due to its:
• 90 degree angle corners
• location directly beside the rowing basin water (no barriers to prevent cyclists from falling in if they make a wrong move);
• rowing coaches often walk, blade, or cycle alongside their rowers and therefore are not watching for cyclists or other path users (let alone those riding at high speed);
• the suggested path cuts directly in front of where rowers and their boats enter the water.... rowers are often carrying their boats *to* the water....
• speed bumps are also present on this suggested new "track"

What People Can Do To Help:

Petition to keep the Track open

Facebook group
Letters can also be sent to:

Mme. Nathalie Lessard
Directrice principale -Affaires publiques et développement durable
1, circuit Gilles-Villeneuve
Montréal (Quebec)
Canada H3C 1A9

Fax: 514 872-5691


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