A study recently published by experts at the University of British Columbia and the University of Colorado shows what changes a city can make to get more people riding bikes.
Published in the Journal of Land Use and Transport, the study looks at census data dating back to 2012.
That data, say UBC authors Michael Brauer and Kay Teschke—the latter of whom spoke to Canadian Cycling Magazine in November, 2015 about helmet use—shows that in some parts of the country, as much as 20 per cent of census-surveyed Canadians get around on two wheels. Working with that information, with the partnership of Anna Chinn, an expert from the University of Colorado, the authors noted the developments that worked in Vancouver and Montreal that got more of would-be riders riding.
Bike lanes, of course, were a major focus of the study. For one, proximity to bike lanes appears to make a big difference in terms of overall ridership, with those who live within a kilometre of a bike lane being more likely to use them—four times more likely, to be exact. Looking at four different types of bike lanes, the authors found that separated bike lanes were more likely to be used, too, especially when networked with other cycling routes.
Notably, the study also found that there’s a direct correlation between protected cycling infrastructure and getting more women in the saddle. Separated lanes and cycling networks, the authors said, see male and female cyclists represented more or less evenly, whereas areas lacking in such infrastructure are frequented by men more than women by a ratio of two to one.