11/30/2012 04:05 EST | Updated 01/30/2013 05:12 EST

Ontario pushes provincial biking network in draft cycling strategy

TORONTO - A network of bike lanes criss-crossing Ontario is being considered in the province's draft cycling strategy.

The plan released for public feedback Thursday includes a proposal for existing cycling routes to be chained into a system allowing cyclists to pedal across the province without stopping.

It points to a similar cycling network in Quebec that generates an estimated $100-million annually — or $30,000 per kilometre of bike route.

The draft strategy also contemplates freeing up more provincial funding for municipal cycling infrastructure, running public safety campaigns and kicking off separate consultations on amending the Highway Traffic Act, which sets rules on cycling.

It notes that almost half of Ontarians hop on a bike at least once a week from spring through fall.

The public is asked to send in their views on the draft strategy before the end of January.

Transportation Minister Bob Chiarelli said the strategy aims to make Ontario's roadways safer for everyone who uses them.

"We need your input to ensure Ontario has the right strategy in place to support and encourage safe cycling in the province. We will continue consultations on a made-in-Ontario strategy so that our roads remain the safest in North America," he said in a statement.

The draft plan says mandatory helmet use and other recommendations made in a cycling death review released by the province's chief coroner office in July will be included as part of the separate Highway Traffic Act consultations.