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It used to be illegal to learn to ride a bike on paved Vancouver streets

Cycling has always been a thing here
Two women stand with bicycles in Stanley Park in the 1890s. COV SGN 119

Vancouverites have long had a love affair with the bicycle. Early machines were called ordinaries, also known as penny farthings with their large front wheel, and were first spotted in Vancouver around 1888.

By July 1896, bicycles, primarily now of the safety variety as shown in this photograph taken around that time in Stanley Park, were clearly making more than a fleeting appearance on Vancouver’s streets. In July of that year, City Council passed Bylaw no. 258, which set out the regulations on the use of bicycles within the City.

One such regulation was the maximum allowable speed of a cyclist – eight miles an hour, unless at an intersection at which point the maximum dropped to six.

Later amendments to this bylaw included mandatory registration and licensing of bicycles, the prohibition of learning to ride on paved streets, and the use of bicycle lights in the dark from October to May.

See more archival photos on the City of Vancouver Archives' website