Active Transportation



Active or non-motorized transportation can include walking, cycling , in-line skating, skateboarding, cross-country skiing and using mobility aids such as wheelchairs. Active transportation can be combined with public transit and or other transportation methods.

Story Ride

Hop on your bike and join the Library Story Ride on Saturday, Setpember 7 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. starting at Station Gallery.

Learn more about how to register at

View event poster here.


Where to cycle

Understanding cycling facilities

Cycling facilities are places you can safely and legal ride your bike including bike routes, shared roadways and multi-use paths.

Bike Route: a portion of a roadway which has been designated by pavement marking and signed exclusive use of cyclists.

Shared Road: a road where both motorists and cyclists share the same vehicular travel lane.

Multi-Use Path:

These paved asphalt paths, known as “multi-use paths”, are an alternative to sidewalks and provide a number of advantages including:

  • They’re wider than a sidewalk – at approximately 3 metres wide, the asphalt path, allows multiple walkers to travel beside each other.
  • They’re smoother than a sidewalk – which makes them more comfortable for wheelchairs, rollerblades, skateboards, bikes and all modes of active transportation.
  • They offer cyclists an alternative to riding on sidewalks, which are meant only for pedestrian use.

Greenbelt Cycling Route

The Greenbelt is 728,000 hectares of protected countryside that stretches from Rice Lake to the Niagara River. The Ontario Greenbelt Cycling Route was developed by the Waterfront Regeneration Trust and Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation. It is 600 kilometres and a portion of the route is within the Town of Whitby. Discover the Greenbelt Cycling Route.

Town Trails

Experience Whitby's beautiful natural environment by hiking or cycling one of the Town's many trails.

Waterfront Trail: Whitby's Waterfront Trail is 13 km of family-friendly Trail great for cycling and walking. There are a number of beautiful natural areas to enjoy along the trail, such as Lynde Shore Conservation Area, Thickson's Woods, the Rowe House, Port Whitby Marina's Clubhouse, Rotary Sunrise Lake Park and Kiwanis Heydenshore Park.



Cycle Safety and Skills

Under the Ontario Highway Traffic Act (HTA), a bicycle is a vehicle. This means that, as a cyclist, you have the same rights and responsibilities to obey all traffic laws. As a cyclist, you must share the road with others (e.g., cars, buses, trucks, motorcycles, etc.).

Duty of Cyclists:

  • must obey all traffic laws
  • have the same rights and responsibilities as drivers
  • cannot carry passengers - if your bicycle is only meant for one person
  • use care and caution when cycling with young children who are too young to ride themselves

Duty of Drivers:

  • must obey all traffic laws
  • watch out for cyclists as they are smaller than cars and trucks harder to see
  • check for cyclists in your blind spots and especially when turning at intersections
  • check in your rear-view and side mirrors to avoid opening your car door into the path of cyclist
  • prepared to slow down and stop for young cyclist. They may lack the necessary knowledge and skills for safe cycling around traffic, and may not be aware of all the dangers

Safety resources

Ontario's Guide to Safe Cycling features rules of the road, helmet information, and safety tips. The Young Cyclist's Guide has riding tips, information on bicycle equipment and the explains the rules for the road.


Benefits of active transportation

Taking part in active transportation will help you:

  • maintain a healthier lifestyle by increasing physical activity
  • contribute to improved mental, emotional, and social health
  • reduce the chance of developing chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, and diabetes
  • reduce the amount of money you spend on gas, vehicle maintenance and parking

Active transportation also helps the environment by:

  • reducing road congestion
  • reducing vehicle-related greenhouse gas emissions and global climate change
  • improving local air quality


Making active transportation part of your life

Making active transportation part of your life is easier than you think.

If the weather is nice and you're going somewhere nearby, consider choosing active transportation by using the bike lanes, sidewalks, multi-use paths and trails.

Here are a few ideas to help get you started:

  • Walk or bike with your kids to daycare or school instead of driving them
  • Ride your bike to work instead of taking the car
  • Walk or bike to the grocery store with your kids


Active transportation in your community

Increasing active transportation can have many positive impacts on overall community well-being. Typical benefits include:

  • Residents are more inclined to spend their money in businesses close to home, which enhances the economic viability of their community
  • Attracts new residents and business, increasing property values as walkable and bikeable communities are increasing in demand than similar properties in more car-dependent communities
  • Residents increase their social interaction with neighbours, make new friends than residents in more car-dependents communities


Walking and Biking to School

Register your school for Bike to School Week Here:

The high numbers of vehicle trips to/from school add to the traffic congestion around schools and create long queues of vehicles that often extend onto the road and through intersection/crosswalks.

Currently, many Whitby students that live in close proximity to their school are driven by parents/guardians. Not only is this a missed opportunity for physical activity, but a number of studies suggest that walking to school helps improve learning ability throughout the day.

In an effort to promote healthy physical activity and reduce environmental impact, students and families are encouraged to walk or bike to and from school.

Traffic congestion by Whitby School - Traffic congestion by Whitby School

Creating safe school zones

The most basic and popular form of outdoor recreational activity is walking. The safety of the children in your neighbourhood school could be in your hands if you drive your child to and from school. Traffic congestion in a school zone can be a significant safety hazard for school children, especially during arrival and dismissal times, when parents are dropping off or picking up their children. As congestion increases, it becomes more difficult for drivers and school children to see one another.

Examples of a fully used bike rack at two Whitby schools Examples of a fully used bike rack at two Whitby schools - Examples of a fully used bike rack at two Whitby schools

School Safety tips

When walking to or from school remember the following:

  • Stay on the sidewalk and only cross the road at an intersection.
  • Walk facing oncoming traffic to be visible if there is no sidewalk
  • Obey all the pedestrian and traffic signals.
  • When crossing at an intersection of a road, remember to cross the road with the assistance of an Adult Crossing Guard, if available.

When biking to or from school remember the following:

  • Wear a helmet every time you ride.
  • Ride in a straight line on the right hand side of the road, in the same direction as traffic.
  • Stop at red lights and stop signs
  • Stop for stopped school buses when their red lights are flashing.
  • Read our Keeping School Zones Safe brochure for more tips.


Bicycle Friendly Community Award

Did you know Whitby is a bronze-level Bicycle Friendly Community? This means we're working hard to support cycling, creating more safe places to ride, and providing education and programs that encourage cycling.

What is a Bicycle Friendly Community?

Municipalities who apply to be recognized as a Bicycle Friendly Community are asked to show their achievements in five categories: Engineering, Education, Encouragement, Enforcement and Evaluation. Depending on the level of excellence in these categories the city or town may be awarded either an Honourable Mention, Bronze, Silver, Gold or Platinum award. Currently there are 36 communities in Ontario that are designated Bicycle Friendly. Whitby, Ajax and Oshawa are all bronze-level communities.

Who decides if we're Bicycle Friendly?

Share the Road Cycling Coalition, with assistance from the League of American Bicyclists, reviews applicants and decides which are bicycle friendly. The Coalition and the program provide incentives, hands-on assistance and award recognition for communities that actively support bicycling.


Studies, plans and maps

Active Transportation Study Plan

The Town of Whitby is currently undertaking an Active Transportation Plan (ATP) Study which will involve significant public and stakeholder consultation. The anticipated completion date is December 2017. View Active Transportation Study Plan

Cycling and Leisure Trails Plan

Whitby has a Cycling and Leisure Trails Plan, adopted, in principle by Council in 2010. The link provides the final report, maps of existing and planned cycling facilities, and maps of the core priority network for cycling and leisure trails.


Durham Region Transportation Master Plan

Durham Region's Transportation Master Plan (TMP) is a strategic planning document designed to define the policies, programs and infrastructure improvements required to address the Regional Municipality of Durham's existing and future multi-modal transportation needs.

The current TMP was developed in coordination with the Municipal Comprehensive Review, which is the five-year review and update of the Regional Official Plan. This helped to ensure that the transportation system would be aligned with development to support the Region's overall growth objectives.

Cycling and Walking in Durham Region

Visit the Region of Durham website to learn about: 

  • Cycle Durham - a program that supports current cyclists, encourages more people to try cycling, and educates all road users on how to safely share the road,
  • Active Swith - a health and wellness program for personal, workplace, and school use.,
  • and, the Regional Cycling Plan, which promotes the development of a Region-wide Primary Cycling Network (PCN) to link major centres and destinations.  It supports longer trips between communities along Regional and local roads.


Links and information

Suggestions/Improvement contact the Engineering Department: Email to Engineering