FAQ: Whatever happened to “vehicular cycling”?

“Vehicular cycling” is a school of thought that claims people riding bikes are safest when driving their bikes as they would their cars by mixing with traffic boldly and confidently. While all users of public roads are expected to follow the traffic rules, “driving a bike” advocates have failed for 35 years to encourage the rapid adoption of cycling in N.A. as seen in Europe.  Vehicular cycling is a necessary yet entirely insufficient approach that remains a frustrating deterrent to mainstream cycling.  Continue reading “FAQ: Whatever happened to “vehicular cycling”?”

FAQ: Impact of cycling facilities on property values

Portland residential protected bike lane
Protected bike lane in Portland neighbourhood

In cities that first embark on implementation of cycling facilities – whether on-road bike lanes or off-road multi-use paths or trails, local residents often speak out in concern for their property value. This concern is quickly put to rest once the cycling facilities are in place. Savvy Realtors now actively promote the value of cycling facilities, trails and greenways that make a neighbourhood more bike and walk friendly.

Updated March 30, 2016 with this new, compelling research including detailed case studies that clearly document the positive impact of active mobility facilities on real estate value. Read about the Urban Planning Institute report.

Continue reading “FAQ: Impact of cycling facilities on property values”

Vancouver one of the fastest growing cycling cities in the world

“People continually underestimate the number of cyclists using a given street, mainly because they are quiet, and don’t take up a lot of space,” claims the Eco-Counter’s North American Director, Jean-François Rheault.  See how cycling traffic numbers are climbing in response to safer infrastructure like protected bike lanes.
Vancouver one of the fastest growing cycling cities in the world

FAQ: Are cities caving to special interest groups? Let’s listen to the mayors.

Around Ontario and further afield, mayors are responding to widespread residents’ calls for trails and safer roads for active mobility.  They’re also acknowledging the economic competitive necessity. The result has been an increasing groundswell of activity in trails, cycling facilities, education and encouragement. As of May 2015, there were 28 Bicycle Friendly Communities that 60% of Ontarians call home.

Continue reading “FAQ: Are cities caving to special interest groups? Let’s listen to the mayors.”

FAQ: Whose road is it?

Vancouver - photo cbc.ca
Vancouver – photo cbc.ca

“Many people believe that active transport modes (walking, cycling, and their variants, also called non-motorized or human-powered transport) have less right to use public roads than motorists, based on assumptions that non-motorized travel is less important than motorized travel, and active mode users pay less than their fair share of roadway costs. This report investigates these assumptions. It finds that active modes have legal rights to use public roads, that non-motorized travel plays unique and important roles in an efficient and equitable transport system, that motorists often benefit from pedestrian and cycling improvements, that motor vehicle use imposes external costs on active travel which creates demand for separated facilities, and because active modes impose
minimal roadway costs and pay general taxes that finance about half of roadway expenses they overpay their fair share of roadway costs.”
(Whose Road Is It, 2013, Victoria Transport Policy Institute)
Download the report…

Distracted walking a rising cause of injury

HeadsUpUsing a mobile device for texting and talking is quickly becoming the leading factor in injuries incurred while walking, according to a recently published study using data from 2005 to 2010. While the article reveals some approaches that are novel and almost funny but for the injury-prone nature of the behaviour, they suggest that as with other things, role modelling is needed. Parents – teaching kids to “look both ways” is just the beginning!
Read more here

Investing for meaningful impact

reap-the-most-reward“We found that significant infrastructure investment is needed to overcome this dampening effect of fears about cycling safety; that high quality changes to main roads and local streets are the best place to start for cities with low cycling and high car use; and that these investments can have benefits an order of magnitude greater than the costs if you get them right,” Read more

The call for healthier school travel

Much research has been done for the health NoIdlingand learning benefits of walking or cycling to school. It’s also shown that a significant “rush hour” traffic load is comprised of people driving kids to school, most often very short distances.  Yet recently published research delves into the question of how harmful vehicle emissions are for young minds.

Continue reading “The call for healthier school travel”

Improving walkability of winter cities

WinterWalk
Photo from SHAPE Alberta Winter Walk Day, 2010

“Walkability is achieved at the scale of the neighborhood” the author of this article says, writing about many ways that neighbourhoods (and small cities!) can become more walkable, encouraging more people to walk more often.  The benefits are diverse, including mental and physical health, social “community” and economic boost. Read more

Winnipeg adds to the “build it and they will come” trend

Winnipeg, a city with much harsher winters than Brockville, recently added to the growing number of cities large and small that have seen positive response to cycling infrastructure.  Like many cities setting down the path to a healthier community, many scoffed at the concept of latent demand. The proof is in the pudding, as they say.

Continue reading “Winnipeg adds to the “build it and they will come” trend”

Active Mobility as an economic necessity

“There’s no debating whether recruiting and retaining young talent is essential for communities to thrive in today’s knowledge-based economy. Studies suggest that the most successful cities and economic regions in the 21st century will be those that attract and retain young college graduates and are places they want to locate.”

“Growing evidence suggests that young people choose where they want to live largely on the lifestyle and amenities of those communities, and that they gravitate toward more walkable, bike-able and transit-friendly communities where lifestyles are less dependent on driving.”

Continue reading “Active Mobility as an economic necessity”

Bike Lane Opponents’ Stance Starts To Unravel

 

In a prepared statement reported in the R&T today, opponents of the city’s cycling plan said, “We believe that bike paths off road are the way to go. That way, everyone will be safe.”  The proposed plan would do just that – by turning a mostly-unused parking lane of Laurier into a protected bike lane which is separated from and fenced “off road” to cars.  The opponents would seem to be acknowledging the evidence from across North America that protected bike lanes significantly reduce risk for those cycling, calm traffic, reduce risk for those driving, and encourage big uptakes in cycling activity.

Continue reading “Bike Lane Opponents’ Stance Starts To Unravel”

FAQ: What about cities removing bike lanes? What’s up with that?

Recently, someone has claimed that cities in Canada are taking out bike lanes!  What’s the story there?  Well, apart from cherry-picking incidents out of context, a review of the Canadian scene reveals that cycling infrastructure is growing in leaps and bounds on a net basis.

Continue reading “FAQ: What about cities removing bike lanes? What’s up with that?”

FAQ: What about bike lanes and intersections?

A common question about the protected bike lanes on Laurier Blvd is what will happen to the turning lanes at the intersection with Windsor Dr. Some are assuming that turning lanes would disappear, which is not correct. Laurier’s current configuration is actually quite accommodating – it’s a road that’s paved four lanes wide, but only has two travel lanes, making lots of room at intersections.

Continue reading “FAQ: What about bike lanes and intersections?”