The launch of this year's Bixi season is being met with a mix of excitement and apprehension from cyclists around Montreal.
For Sophie Cassin, an avid cyclist who relies heavily on the service, it means a more active daily commute — but also a test to avoid potholes after a loved one was injured after biking into one.
"My boyfriend broke his foot last year because of one of these," said Cassin, pointing to a pothole.
The popular bike-sharing service officially opened for the season on Saturday, the same day the city begins its spring cleaning services including patching up worn down city streets.
While Bixi is handy for Cassin and her family, she admits she worries about their safety. She describes it as a good service but believes that it would be used by more Montrealers if the state of roads were better.
"It's scary, especially with children," said Cassin.
The concern is echoed by Martin Simmons, who is visiting the city and decided to try a Bixi. He adores cycling, but said he had to narrowly avoid a series of potholes over a 10-block stretch.
"The surfaces at this point after the hard winter are not good at all," said Simmons.
Similar to Cassin's experience, Simmons said his son-in-law broke his wrist last year after making contact with a pothole while cycling in Montreal.
"I just love the concept but some of the roads have got some really big holes in them though and they need attention," he said.
"I would say some of it is even a bit dangerous. If you weren't an experienced cyclist, you could hit one of those and come right off."
Bixi has a plan
While the city is fixing potholes during its spring cleaning blitz, Bixi has its own plan for a summer of construction sites.
The organization is prepared to move up to 35 per cent of its docking stations away from road work sites around the city, citing safety concerns for cyclists who have to weave through construction zones to access the stations.
Pierre Parent, the marketing director of Bixi, said the company is in contact with the city about ongoing roadwork around the city on an hourly basis.
"The safety of the riders is something that is taken quite seriously for us," said Parent.