Active Transportation

people riding bicycles

Active transportation is all about getting our bodies moving! It involves using “self-propelled” transportation such as bicycling, walking or running, in-line skating or skateboarding, skiing or snowshoeing, to help get us around where we need to go. Active transportation offers many benefits to us, and the communities we live and grow in.

The County of Essex’s County Wide Active Transportation System (CWATS) partners have worked to install bike repair stations around the County to provide a fixed platform for cyclists to re-inflate tires, tune bikes and make repairs while away from home. There are a number of stations that have been installed along the CWATS network to improve the reliability of cycling as a mode of transport or recreational activity. Some of these locations include:


  • Rotary (1918) Centennial Hub, Howard Ave. Diversion (County Rd. 9)
  • Chrysler Canada Greenway – Harrow Rotary Community Entrance (26 Sinasac St E, Harrow, ON)
  • Chrysler Canada Greenway – Kingsville Train Station Community Entrance (169 Lansdowne Ave, Kingsville)

The repair stands incorporate a range of tools such as screwdrivers, tire levers, chain tools and an integrated pump with a pressure gauge.

These public pumps are more user-friendly and a quicker alternative to portable bike pumps. Stay tuned for more repair stations around the County of Essex as we become a more cycle-friendly community.

Instructional Videos

To learn more about how to use the new bike repair stations, a series of short videos have been produced to help you.

Photo of a cyclist using the CWATS repair station

Some benefits include:

Health and fitness

Active transportation, is a great way for us to stay active and has many health benefits such as reducing the risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, certain types of cancer and can help with stress, depression and anxiety.


Walking and cycling are great forms of transportation activities that are efficient, affordable, and accessible and are the most energy efficient types of transportation that generate no pollution. Active transportation such as cycling and walking can help with reducing road congestion, maintenance/infrastructure and decrease user costs (i.e., gas and maintenance for your motor vehicle)


Active transportation is friendly to the environment by helping to reduce air pollution, reduce traffic congestion, greenhouse gas emissions and to preserve green space that would normally have been used for new motor vehicle facilities such as roadways and parking lots.


There are economic benefits of active transportation such as reduced costs to fuel, repair, and maintenance of an individual’s vehicle.  Active transportation can help increase tourism (e.g., bike tourism; promotion of trails and their amenities) in communities that promote biking and hiking on trails, and can help increase property values along greenways, trails, and paths.

The following tips can help you include more active transportation into your daily life:

  • Before getting into your car, think about the distance to your destination. Could you take the same trip by bike or walking this time?  It may be just as quick and/or convenient.
  • If you can, try cycling to work a couple times/week when the weather permits.
  • Trade in your dress shoes for running shoes. Consider walking all or part of the way to work. You could take a public transit halfway and then walk the rest as another healthy option.
  • Instead of driving your children to a park or sports field/facility, walk or make it a family outing on your bikes.
  • If you have young children include them in your daily errands. Enjoy a walk or bike ride to the grocery store or picking up the mail.
  • If you usually walk or bike to work, school, or to run errands, consider taking a different route which might add a little more time and distance to and from your destination in order to help increase your physical activity minutes. 
  • Look at your own neighborhood before heading out:
    • Is it pedestrian or bike friendly?
    • Can you walk to do most of your small errands?
    • How far away is the nearest school for your children? Can you walk with them to school?
    • How far will the distance be to those places you regularly need to reach? Can it be done in 15 to 30 minutes by biking or walking?

Before venturing out on your bike, it is a good idea to make sure your bike is in good working order and you are taking the proper safety precautions while riding. You should be practicing the following:

  • Ensure the bike is properly equipped (i.e., reflectors, bell, lights), with everything in working order.
  •  Use the “ABC” quick check – Air in tires, Brakes are working, handlebars aren’t loose, and the Chain/gears are working. 
  • Ensure that your bike fits you properly as well – not too big or too small. Make sure your seat is at the right height and that it is straight and tightened as well.
  • Remember, cyclists must follow all the same rules of the roads as motorized vehicles (e.g., using proper hand signals when turning, riding with the flow of traffic, obeying traffic signs and lights).
  • In Ontario, it’s the law for anyone under the age of 18 to wear an approved bike helmet.  And it is strongly recommend that everyone wear a helmet, as it can help to reduce a cyclist from experiencing a serious head injury if they fall from their bike.
  • When wearing a helmet ensure it is properly fitting by following the 2V1 rule: 2 finger distance from edge of helmet to the top of the eyebrow; straps should meet in a V shape just below the ears; 1 finger fit between chin and bottom strap.
  • Wear bright, reflective gear if you cycle at night.
  • During the colder months make sure you dress in layers to stay warm. Make sure to keep your hands, feet and ears warm and protected while riding. For more information on how to ride in the fall/winter months visits the following website. 

For more information on choosing the right  bicycle and cycling and helmet safety visit

Follow these safety precautions when walking:

  • Be safe and seen; wear bright colored, reflective clothing that is appropriate for the weather
  • Carry a flashlight when walking at night.
  • Be careful at crossings: look both ways before you cross.
  • Be prepared and plan your route; let someone else know where you are going.
  • Be aware of your surroundings, especially when walking at night.
  • During the colder months, make sure you dress in layers to stay warm.
  • Choose a pair of good-fitting winter boots that are well-insulated and waterproof. They should have a thick non-slip tread, a sole made of natural rubber, wide low heels, and be light-weight.

When you do find yourself using an off-road multi-use path or trail, remember these safety tips:

  • Ride at a slow speed.
  • Use your bell or horn when approaching others from behind.
  • Stop before intersections and scan for vehicles.
  • Watch for vehicles exiting from driveways.
  • Keep right unless passing.
  • Pass on the left when it is safe and there is room.
  • Give warning before passing.
  • Consider walking your bike if the trail is crowded with pedestrians.

County Wide Active Transportation System (CWATS) 

CWATS is a forward-looking initiative that works to enhance and expand the County of Essex active transportation system and supports the broader community vision of giving people the opportunities to get active and enjoy the beautiful sights and sounds of the area and their communities. . The on-going collaboration with local municipalities and community partners has helped the County develop a CWATS network that connect people to local active transportation facilities and places of interest around the Windsor-Essex Region. CWATS facilities and programs help people live more active lifestyles, enabling them to "Walk, Ride, County Wide." Once completed, routes in all of our local towns, ERCA trails, City of Windsor and the Municipality of Chatham-Kent will be connected. Check out the CWATS website to learn more about the strategic plan, resources for active transportation such as bicycle safety, and maps of the trail routes and much more!

Active Transportation Expert Panel (formerly the Windsor Bicycling Committee) 

The purpose of the Committee is to address all modes of active transportation. This inclusive approach will ensure that all perspectives and transportation methods are adequately represented, resulting in a well-rounded and holistic strategy for promoting active transportation. An expert panel of avid cyclists and families examines ways to advocate and improve active transportation opportunities in the City of Windsor. The shift to an Expert Panel will foster a conducive environment for informal idea exchange; facilitate in-depth discussions and will provide an opportunity for collaborative engagement and enable the Expert Panel to collectively develop and refine ideas.

Walk Wheel Windsor

The Walk Wheel Windsor Active Transportation Master Plan was developed as a vision along with policies and actions to guide the development of safe, attractive and convenient active transportation options for people of all ages and abilities over the next 20 years. The focus has been on creating active transportation opportunities to get people where they need to go—work, school, appointments and activities.

Bike Windsor Essex 

Bike Windsor Essex, advocates for safer cycling infrastructure and public and government acceptance and support for cycling as a legitimate means of transportation. The organization seeks to help make our region more bicycle friendly by advocating for adequate funding for improved cycling infrastructure; networking with local, provincial, national and international cycling organizations to share best practices and to monitor current trends; organizing and supporting events that promote fun and safe cycling; and acting as a liaison for all cyclists in Windsor and Essex County.

Share the Road 

The Share the Road Cycling Coalition is a provincial cycling advocacy organization working to build a bicycle-friendly Ontario. They work in partnership with municipal, provincial and federal governments, the business community, road safety organizations and other non-profits.

Canada Walks 

Canada Walks promotes the value of walking and walkability, provides tools to get people walking, and works with partners to help build Canada’s walking movement

Ontario Trails Council

The Ontario Trails Council (OTC) is a charity that promotes the development, preservation, management, and use of recreational trails in Ontario. The website includes many resources for hiking, biking, and camping. It also includes  “find a trail” tool for any trail in Ontario that you may wish to learn about.

The Great Lakes Waterfront Trail

Stretching over 3000km, the Great Lakes Waterfront Trail is a route connecting 140 communities and First Nations along the Canadian shores of the Great Lakes region and is a signature project of the Waterfront Regeneration Trust. The trail consists of both on-road and off-road facilities. The route is primarily paved, with sections of unpaved path and gravel roads. Check out their web link to see where you can join onto the trail in your own community!

Trans Canada Trail

The Trans Canada Tail now consists of more than 24,000 kilometres of multi-use trails, linking Canada and Canadians. Whether you are looking for a place to hike, cycle, paddle, ride, cross-country ski, or snowmobile, you can find an experience that resonates with you. As the longest recreational trail in the world, The Trans Canada Trail offers a wide range of activities through a variety of landscapes – urban, rural, and wilderness, along greenways, waterways, and roadways.

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