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This app could help advocate for better cycling infrastructure in your city

Volunteers will map out Canada's potential to shift to a cycling nation post-pandemic

Photo by: Canada Bikes

Canada Bikes has announced a new data collection initiative, Pedal Poll, which will require the effort of volunteers across the country. From June 1-6, Canadians will map out Canada’s potential to shift to a cycling nation post-pandemic using a specially developed app to count cyclists in their city.

Rider data

While it’s clear that, compared to the start of the pandemic, there are more bikes on the road, the Pedal Poll aims to find out who is riding them, where they’re being ridden and how much people are riding. The poll will also look into how frequently pop-up cycling infrastructure put in place during the pandemic is being used.

Volunteers across the country will observe cyclists passing by and note key information in two-hour shifts on June 1 and June 6 (or other non-rainy days that week). The data collected will be used by Canada Bikes and university researchers to find out more about cycling behaviour in Canada.

It’s estimated that a major increase in cycling could cut the proportion of greenhouse gas emissions related to transportation from 25 per cent down to 14 per cent. Pedal Poll aims to get more info about cyclist numbers in order to see if Canada would be able to make the shift to becoming a more bikes-as-transit country. The researchers also hope to get information to help support women and racialized people, as these groups are disproportionately excluded from cycling.

Pilot cities

Canada Bikes is a not-for-profit created to encourage Canadian residents and visitors of all ages to cycle more often for transportation, recreation and touring by “making cycling attractive, safe, accessible and convenient across the country.” The group advocates for increases in cycling infrastructure and has created Pedal Poll to get more data on Canadians riding bikes.

While volunteers anywhere in Canada can sign up to count cyclists, the Pedal Poll will be focusing on 14 pilot sites this year. St. John’s, Halifax, Charlottetown, Moncton, Montréal, Ottawa, Mississauga/Toronto, Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Red Deer, Yellowknife, Kelowna, Vancouver, and Whitehorse are the communities the study will focus on. The Canadian cities were selected in terms of population and geography, and Canada Bikes has teamed up with local cycling groups in each location.

Volunteers can sign up on the Canada Bikes website and will receive instructions for standardized data collection soon.