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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Buffalo, NY
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    194

    If they build it, we will come.

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    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/...QQLT_blog.html


    Apparently, research says there is a strong correlation between cities that build more bike paths and the number of cyclists who use them. The duh factor comes to mind but I thought it was interesting.
    Savra

    2006 Specialized Dolce Elite/Specialized Stock Saddle
    2011 Surly LHT/Brooks S Flyer

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Western Canada-prairies, mountain & ocean
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    6,982
    The qualifier would be: after bike routes are built, then there has to be a major marketing effort...ongoing effort.

    But very true for City of Vancouver. Different between 2002 vs. 2012.

    It also speaks to some die-hard cyclists who insist that we don't need bike lanes. Then the cycling % just remains low/same, doesn't change.

    I know some people here really don't care for bike lanes, which is fine if one is just thinking about themselves but not thinking big vision, about getting a significant number of people leading a more healthy lifestyle/not use car for short trips locally.
    My Personal blog on cycling & other favourite passions.
    遙知馬力日久見人心 Over a long distance, you learn about the strength of your horse; over a long period of time, you get to know whatís in a personís heart.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Columbia, MO
    Posts
    2,051
    The thing about a study like this is that it doesn't really need a qualifier. They showed that there is a correlation between bike lanes and bike commuters. They showed that this correlation held true despite weather and a number of other co-factors.

    Maybe promoting the bike lanes helps. Maybe people use bike lanes even if they aren't promoted. That wasn't part of this study.

    It might seem obvious, but this is a really important study. It seems obvious to us but go to a city council meeting and propose bike lanes to encourage bicycling and someone will inevitably say, "Well, we can build all the bike lanes and bike paths we want, and no one is going to use them." Or they say, "We built a bike path in 1972, and no one uses it" (referring to a 0.5-mile segment of crumbling asphalt that goes from nowhere to nowhere).

    We have to have data to make a case.

    I looked at the original study. They got their data from the Census, the Bike League, and the Alliance. I am intrigued and thinking about the possibilities in research. (First thing to do is probably remind myself that this is not my field. This isn't the type of research I do. I am not trained in this type of research. I have a day job where I'm paid to do a different kind of research. Too bad I rarely listen to myself...)
    2009 Trek 7.2FX WSD, brooks Champion Flyer S, commuter bike

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Between the Blue Ridge and the Chesapeake Bay
    Posts
    5,226
    What a great discussion! I am trained in this field and I DO do this kind of research, so it's really interesting and useful to me. I can't wait to delve into the study deeper over the next few days.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    IL/FL
    Posts
    3,863
    We have many new bikes lanes here, and they are being used!! But most of the media stories I see about them comment more on the price of gas than the relationship between providing safer riding spaces and use.

    Electra Townie 7D

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Austria
    Posts
    374
    I definitely like it better to ride on bike lanes. I think they not only provide safe space to ride but also send the message to other traffic users that there are cyclists on the road and they are "wanted".

    I live in an area with a lot of bike lanes and I notice that drivers tend to drive far more aggressive on streets that are very car-dominated, cutting me off or overtaking me in places where it is not safe.

    Bike lanes are very well used by a mass of cyclists in my town. Still, there are a lot of discussions going on because people don't want to sacrifice parking space or driving lanes for bike lanes.
    I find it strange that there are streets with 4+ driving lanes, 2 tram lanes, 2 parking lanes and no bike lane and a sidewalk so narrow that you can hardly walk on it and have to jump onto the street if you want to pass other pedestrians - in the middle of a town.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Indianapolis, Indiana
    Posts
    10,956
    Indianapolis has/is installing quite a few bike lanes in the city - some of which are better designed than others. There are some that I just don't feel safe riding because they are crazy narrow, have the tendency to disappear and reappear at some point down the road.

    I would like to see more done to educate the public on the use of these lanes. There well may have been efforts that I've not seen - I don't normally read the paper and don't have cable/watch much broadcast television so there may have been more than I've noticed.

    The growing bike lanes are a welcome sight and will go far to help make Indianapolis a more bike-friendly community. We won an award a couple of years back on this and hopefully there will be more in the future. Our Mayor is very bike friendly and leads multiple rides throughout the year. I think that helps.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Kansas
    Posts
    493
    The problem around here is we have some great bike paths but they don't quite connect. There is a 10-mile long path that follows the river northwest to southeast and the only time it intersects with car traffic is at one lightly-traveled neighborhood street. There are several other paths that don't quite connect with this. There is some long-term planning to try to complete a nice system, but it has a lot of steps to go through.

    We also have a bike and outdoor-activity advocating mayor who puts his name on several cycling, running and other recreational events. The local cycling club has bicycle gatherings at some local parks which the mayor attends and participates in, and the running club started an annual 5K Mayor's Challenge (beat the mayor at a 5K) race a few years ago. It does seem to stir up interest. I hope it keeps up.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Western Canada-prairies, mountain & ocean
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    6,982
    Bike lanes are very well used by a mass of cyclists in my town. Still, there are a lot of discussions going on because people don't want to sacrifice parking space or driving lanes for bike lanes.
    I find it strange that there are streets with 4+ driving lanes, 2 tram lanes, 2 parking lanes and no bike lane and a sidewalk so narrow that you can hardly walk on it and have to jump onto the street if you want to pass other pedestrians - in the middle of a town.
    It has been shown in some studies over the years, of road diets where choosing a street carefully with too many lanes which are only heavily used for a few hrs., each day and converting a lane or 2 to a bike lane along with other changes, calms down the traffic. This is very true in the city where I live, in its downtown core area. (too many 4 lane, one-way streets, it's an intimidating experience for cyclists...and pedestrians.)

    Of course some drivers may not like it. But if there are alternate parallel streets, they will eventually go elsewhere for a different route.

    I think some social marketing needs to happen after bike lanes of significant distance are installed, or where there has been alot of money spent (especially separated bike lanes). Especially in cities where cycling % tends to be low and not yet embedded in culture on a wide scale.

    There is a certain % of non-cyclists or hesitant cyclists/wannabes need to be shown where the routes are /how much better the cycling experience can be.

    The reality is that now marketing efforts really must be on multiple fronts, since less people are buying newspapers, etc. How does one reach all citizens in 1 big city? So a real concerted marketing strategy needs to occur on: tv, web, newspaper, twitter,...and to also counteract bad press. Even personal cycling blogs are helpful if there is local following.

    What is annoying is that drivers/pestrians judge bike lane use based on narrow short-time personal experiences. They don't stand around for several hrs. to observe the volume of cyclists using such lanes over several months, over years.

    Some cities do need to install counter equipment to measure and acquire objective quantifiable data.
    Last edited by shootingstar; 04-26-2012 at 10:27 AM.
    My Personal blog on cycling & other favourite passions.
    遙知馬力日久見人心 Over a long distance, you learn about the strength of your horse; over a long period of time, you get to know whatís in a personís heart.

 

 

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