05/15/2012 11:31 EDT | Updated 07/15/2012 05:12 EDT

Website rates Canadian cities on bike-ability

Researchers at UBC and Simon Fraser University have come up with a way to rate how good major Canadian cities are for cycling.

Modelled on a site called Walk-Score, researchers tallied up three factors: topography, bike accessibility to shops and the number of bike lanes. The results are then colour-coded on a map posted on a website.

The website ranked Victoria, Vancouver and Montreal as the highest in bikeability for Canadian cities, while Minneapolis, Portland and San Francisco lead in the U.S.

The website also covers Calgary, Charlottetown, Halifax, Moncton, Montreal, Saskatoon, St. Johns, Toronto, and eight other U.S. cities.

Professor Michael Brauer, with UBC's School of Population and Public Health, says the aim is to raise the demand for better biking infrastructure.

"We think actually by doing this it will encourage people who live in more bike-able areas to try it out," said Brauer.

"Also people who may be interested in cycling but live in less bike-able neighbourhoods, now they actually have an objective tool they can use to advocate for getting the infrastructure and also for planners to actually see where they need to provide more infrastructure."