The latest annual Attitudes to Cycling Report by Transport for London adds to the large and ever-growing body of evidence that implementation of safe infrastructure for cycling draws a massive uptake in cycling activity from among those self-identifying at “interested by cautious”. This article provides highlights and also a link to the study’s report. Read here.
Numerous case studies highlight the rapid and large uptake in cycling activity following implementation of decent (largely protected) cycling networks in cities large and small. What isn’t as well documented is that the uptake in cycling for purpose and for pleasure then spawns the growth of quite diverse social cycling groups. People find each other and gather as “birds of a feather” to create groups of similar interests and goals, ranging from fun to training, adding to the social capital of the community, with concomitant health and social benefits. This article in the Vancouver Sun describes this scene in that bike-friendly city. Read here.
This article in Momentum Mag highlights the findings of a survey out of San Francisco that mirrors findings by the Green Lane Project in several other American cities. The key finding is that those driving prefer roads with bike lanes, preferably protected bike lanes, simply because all traffic is more orderly. Read here.
A new report from the National Association of City Transportation Officials updates the “safety in numbers” evidence showing that risk to all road users declines as the number of people cycling grows.
Past research has shown conclusively that almost 2/3 of people would cycle more but they hesitate for fear for their safety when mixing with motorized traffic, that protected bike lanes are the preferred facility for this group, and that indeed large uptakes in cycling occur when such lanes are built. NACTO’s report rounds this out with new research tying the larger numbers to lower overall risk, evidenced by declining injury rates.
Read the Streetsblog report here, and the NACTO report here (PDF).
Studies have long confirmed the positive benefits of moderate daily exercise – a walk, bike ride, swim or similar – related to general health in management of mood, cholesterol, weight and so on. A recently published two-decades long longitudinal study now reports that, “The study supports a hypothesis that physical activity has a direct relationship with cognition, over and above any influence on weight and cholesterol.” Simply said, “participants who did some form of movement every day were less likely to suffer memory loss in their 60s and 70s, compared to their sedentary peers.” There is it, Brockville! Active mobility matters! And directly contributing to that, a city that is more walk and bike friendly matters! Read more here.
Regular users of the Brock Trail segment between Cedar St at Church and King St W at St. Lawrence Park will have seen the start of signage installation. Coming soon will be fencing along the west side of the trail corridor to separate the vacant property, mounting of the plaque on the big stone at the corner, and a pedestrian-priority crossover (PDX) on Cedar St.
In Brockville’s SW corner, King St W from Rivers Ave to the City limits at the Country Club is milled and storm drains and utility covers are reset. Repaving will start soon. Expect the reconfigured, renovated and upgraded entry to the City to be complete within a few weeks. It’ll be more welcoming and friendly to all with a reconfiguration of lanes that will benefit those using the sidewalks, or cycling or driving. This will be augmented with similar treatment from the Counties that will extend the lane configuration from the City limits out to Grants Creek. Brockville’s first bike lanes are almost a reality! Details previously posted here.
The notion of licensing bikes has surfaced once again, this time in Toronto. Some cities, like Toronto and Winnipeg, used to do this and abandoned the practice due to high costs and lack of tangible benefits. Still, every year the notion surfaces in a few cities, usually from back-seat politicians eager to make a mark yet not eager to do any homework first. As a preemptive play to dissuade any local thinking in this direction, here’s a helpful summary of why this idea is or should be a non-starter, from Cycle Toronto. Read more here.
CBC has published an interesting article exploring the seemingly endless debate on bicycle helmets. Personally, I wear a helmet, having cracked three in falls over the years and walked away from those falls. Still, I understand that a helmet provides no useful protection in a serious collision. I also understand that helmets, like seat belts in a car, only come into play when a collision or misadventure is already in motion. Finally, from decades of studying cycling issues, I also understand that cycling benefits far outweigh all the risks, and that providing safe infrastructure and facilities for cycling is much more effective in preventing injury than any passive device will ever be. The helmet debate detracts us from that more important work. It’s also clear that legislating helmets is ineffective (pdf). Read CBC article here.
An interesting article reporting on a constrained research piece exploring people’s perceptions of others who are driving or biking. The research is constrained because the sampling drew from attendees at a transportation conference, limiting the findings’ applicability to the general population. Nevertheless, the findings generate some interesting insights and comparison with more generalized surveys reported elsewhere. Read more here.
The causal linkage of cycling infrastructure with increased cycling modal share has been well researched and proven in several case studies. That linkage has now been extended to quantify the long-assumed reduction in GHG emissions that contribute to climate change. The Canadian-based research examined over ten years of data from Montreal, reaffirmed the positive link between cycling infrastructure and modal share uptake, and went on to quantify the GHG reductions resulting from modal switch from autos to bikes. Bottom line? Building bike infrastructure results in cycling uptake and a quantifiable reduction in motorized modal share, contributing (among other things) to slowing climate change. Read more here.
Cycling, like swimming, as a generally non-load bearing form of aerobic exercise, is ideal for the 1/3+ of the population struggling with obesity. In one focus group session with 60 bariatric surgery patients, when asked how many remember having fun riding bikes as kids, nearly all hands went up. When asked if they’d consider riding again to lose weight if it were safe and comfortable, all those hands went back up. A not-insignificant part of the “safe and comfortable” challenge is the “safe” aspect, and much attention is being given to education and cycling infrastructure. However, safe and comfortable bikes for heavier riders are hard to come by. Here’s an article on the quest to solve that challenge. One aspect not addressed though is the obvious advantage of pedelecs, or power-assisted e-bikes. Read more here.
While British in origin, this compendium of resources is a helpful guide for those seeking to find just the right “hooks” for their local cycling advocacy efforts. The references are broad and linked, and provide a useful way to launch more local or regional searches for information more targeted at local needs. Health, traffic congestion, environment, social equity, tourism, property values, and economic opportunity development are all potential hooks, and have all been researched, case studied and monetized across Europe and North America. Read more here. And see other Active Brockville posts for further reference.
New Yorkers are biking to work in record numbers! To find out why, they were asked. The consistent response? Because they feel safer doing so compared to before the build-out of bike lanes, many of them protected. Build it and they will come. Again. See video here.
New road rules are now in effect in Quebec as of July 1st, mirroring Ontario’s recent updates. This includes both the 1m passing law as well as dooring penalties. For those who ride and/or drive in Ontario and Quebec (and Nova Scotia), be aware that there’s a 1m minimum for passing clearance. This means a person driving must either change lanes to pass, crossing the centre line if necessary when the opposing way is clear, or wait behind a person cycling until able to pass. When driving, also remember that on roads too narrow to share side by side, a person cycling is entitled and encouraged to take the whole lane for safety. Read about Quebec’s update here.
This article from Toronto applies to all communities. The conversations around road safety – for all road users in the community, from 8 to 80, have a number of common elements. These are worth knowing and remembering, and quizzing your municipal Council about. Ask them when we can adopt a Vision Zero program, for instance. If they don’t know what any of these elements are, they’re not up to date with cities more progressive and attractive. Read more here.