There seems to be no end of articles highlighting the economic boost that small towns gain when they consciously attract and serve the growing cycle tourism sector. There are lots of case studies right here in Ontario, accompanied by compelling research published by Ontario By Bike, to back up the claims. Sometimes though, it’s nice just to read about small-town success stories and find ideas that can be adapted and adopted for local benefit. This is one such article, which you can read here.
“Are Bike Lanes Good for Traffic?” is the title, yet the article is really a wide-ranging description of the progress being made everywhere as public roads are transformed to be safer for moving people regardless of choice of transportation. It was published in autotrader.ca and serves to both illuminate and describe the variety of approaches, designs, and social factors brought into play as roads built first for cars are now reshaped to serve moving people. Read the article here.
Quite simply, bike lanes help to calm traffic at the same time as they make roads safer for biking for all ages and all abilities. Roads with cycling facilities become more family-friendly and that in turn helps neighbourhoods become more attractive to families. The evidence supporting the positive impact of bike lanes on property values has been well-established for over a decade, and has been reported on this blog before (here and here). Yet every once in a while an article comes along that weaves this information and more into a compelling picture of how cycling facilities are an integral part of family-friendly neighbourhoods – places where families are willing to pay more to relocate. Read more here.
One of the best ways to help your kids be healthier is to be active with them. And one of the easiest ways for anyone to get more active is to weave activity into everyday activities like, say, biking to school. It’s well established that kids who walk, run, ride, or roll to school arrive more refreshed and ready to learn, and that translates to improved performance. It’s also well-established that kids of parents who engage with them in activities are more likely to be active on their own and develop a more active lifestyle. With all that in mind, if you’re interested in learning how to gear up for that school journey with your kids by bike this article provides some great tips. Read more here.
CAPE, the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment, has provided an extensive article on their website outlining their endorsement of a national cycling strategy for the diverse and far-reaching benefits that a more bicycle friendly Canada would provide for all. Read more here.
“A National Cycling Strategy is the holy grail of public health; the public policy the serves many public health goals with one investment. It is an investment that will pay for itself many times over in health care savings alone.”
Communities across the continent are realizing the health, social, and economic benefits of designing neighbourhoods and cities, large and small, that encourage people to move themselves more often. This article explores the changes that are underway as paradigms continue to shift rapidly, and how different designs meet the needs of different types of activities. One compelling aspect of this article is the emphasis placed on the need for changes in thinking with respect to zoning, community design and political will. Read more here.
From Cycling Industry News:
“A new study published in the American Journal of Public Health has concluded that physical separation from motor traffic is “crucial” to reducing the higher than average cyclist injury rates seen across the U.S.”
“In an leading editorial to sit alongside the deeper study, the authors write: ‘bicycle infrastructure can indeed help improve cycling safety and increase cycling levels. That is clearly demonstrated by decades of evidence from Europe, by the 10 US cities listed in Table 1 (below), and by the article on Boston by Pedroso et al. However, the type and quality of bicycle infrastructure matter as well. It is crucial to provide physical separation from fast-moving, high-volume motor vehicle traffic and better intersection design to avoid conflicts between cyclists and motor vehicles. More and better bicycle infrastructure and safer cycling would encourage Americans to make more of their daily trips by bicycle and, thus, help raise the currently low physical activity levels of the US population.'” Read the article here.
A recent editorial in KingstonRegion.com outlines the process and plans for Bath Rd in Kingston, one of this region’s Bicycle Friendly Communities (which also include Belleville, Cornwall, Ottawa and Mississippi Mills). As the editorial notes, “…cutting one lane from the diet of motorists will not only extend Kingston’s waterfront cycling trail but make this west-end section of Bath Road safer for all users. ‘There’s too much speeding, too many collisions, totally inhospitable to pedestrians and all but the most experienced cyclists.’” Read the editorial here.
Here’s an interesting opinion piece from CNN’s Money editors exploring the role that bicycles are playing in the disruption of the transportation industry. In particular the author contends that fleets of shared e-bikes will disproportionately displace the use of automobiles in urban areas, noting that that already in many dense urban areas getting around by bike is faster than driving. Read more here.
“Cycling Without Age” is an international program with 11 chapters in Canada, including Toronto, Ottawa and Winchester. The goal is to provide seniors or others with limited mobility the chance for casual outings at a leisurely pace. Launched in Copenhagen in 2012, there are now 8,000 volunteers worldwide helping others realize the simple pleasure of a leisurely outing. The bikes are a hybrid of a rickshaw and an e-bike. Imagine these in Brockville helping the mobility-challenged enjoy the Brock Trail and waterfront parks.
For the Cycling Without Age Facebook page, see here.
For an article on the Winnipeg launch, see here.
For the North American website, see here.
For the global website, see here.
For a TEDx Talk on the program, from 2014, see here.
An article published by the AARP under their “Livable Communities – Great Places for All Ages” banner enumerates ten ways that bicycle friendly communities are good for everyone. Yes, even those who may never get on a bike. While this may be yet another great summary of the ever-mounting evidence in support of the social, health and economic benefits, it goes a step further by linking the benefits to making a city more age friendly. Brockville, a city that to date has failed to be designated as bike friendly, walk friendly, age friendly or youth friendly could use some of this common sense. Read the article here.
As reported previously here, Belleville is a recent recipient of Share The Road’s “Bicycle Friendly Community” designation. This city of 49,000, divided like Brockville by the 401 and railroads, has a city council that understands and supports the economic business case for making the city more walk and bike friendly. The cycling facilities in their active transportation plan are being implemented at a quick pace. An article in the Intelligencer describes the current activity underway and the support that the plan is receiving. Also of note is the environmental study conducted for the city by their regional Health Unit. Among other things it is one of the few studies that has used the World Health Organization’s economic modelling to quantify and monetize the health benefits of small numbers of increased cyclists and activity in a small city.
British researchers concluded a detailed investigation of the commuting choices, lifestyle behaviours and medical information of 260,000 adults and reported that cycling to work was associated with a 45 per cent lower risk of developing cancer, a 46 per cent lower risk of heart disease, and a 41 per cent lower risk of premature death from any cause, compared to those who drove or took public transport.
The link between moderate levels of activity integrated into daily routines and improved health outcomes has been shown before in many studies, although not usually with this large a population sample. Other studies have monetized the improved health outcomes, reporting that $1 invested in cycling infrastructure returns $10 to $20 annually in reduced future health care costs.
The bottom line? Cities that don’t invest in becoming bike friendly can expect reduced levels of population health and ever-escalating requests for health care spending, in addition to all the other foregone economic benefits.
At the recent 9th annual Ontario Bike Summit in Toronto, both Minister of Transportation, Steven Del Duca, and Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport, Eleanor McMahon, made announcements about province-wide cycling initiatives.
Minister McMahon unveiled Tour by Bike, a tourism strategy that will develop and market Ontario as a cycling destination. The Minister emphasized the positive economic impact of cycling tourism, an industry drawing 1.7 million visitors per year, who spend $428 million. Cycling visitors tend to spend more per trip than the average visitor, and tend to stay longer. In cycling tourism research studies last year in Halton, Prince Edward County and Windsor-Essex, 50% of Ontario by Bike registered businesses surveyed said that cyclists were either a core or regular part of their customer base, and 1,594 cyclist nights were recorded at registered accommodation locations.
Learn more about Ontario’s Cycling Tourism Strategy in the comprehensive website here.
Much has been studied and published on the individual and population-wide health benefits of cycling, as well as the myriad economic benefits. The consensus among politicians and professionals is deep and broad. Now, a new book elevates those findings to a global view, showing how small trips by millions can contribute to a healthier planet.
“The big changes–and they can be huge–happen when a nation doesn’t see cycling as a hobby, a sport, a mission, let alone a way of life. They happen when it becomes nothing more than a convenient, quick, cheap way of getting about, with the unintended bonus being the fact that you get some exercise in the process.” Read more here.
(April 4, 2017) In a unanimous vote today, the Committee of the Whole of the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville passed the following motion:
THAT the Committee of the Whole recommends consideration of paved shoulders in its award of the 2017 County Road 2 contract for the reconstruction of part of the road between Johnstown and Cardinal; and
THAT staff prepare a full financial analysis of paved shoulders in the upcoming update of the Counties’ Asset Management Plan.
If followed through, this would bring Leeds Grenville on par with jurisdictions regionally and further afield who have recognized the cost savings and myriad other benefits of paving shoulders on rural roads.
The report that CAO Andy Brown prepared for the Committee lays out the full rationale for the recommendation. An extract of the agenda package, with that report, is attached.LeedsGrenvilleCmteWhole20170404
In a related motion, the Committee endorsed a call on the province to commit further funding to the Ontario Municipal Cycling Infrastructure Program. Details are in the agenda package above.
CAPE‘s recently published Active Travel Toolkit contains a concise, current and evidence-based summary of the wide-ranging benefits to be harvested from greater uptake of active mobility, ranging from improved mental and physical health (and lower care costs), to social equity, to the environment, to more resilient communities. This short paper is well worth downloading and understanding. Download here (pdf).
This article from the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment describes their toolkit: “Prescribing Active Travel for Healthy People and a Healthy Planet: A Toolkit for Health Professionals – to help health professionals become advocates of active transportation and transit with their patients and in their communities. The toolkit is designed with five stand-alone modules so people can focus on the ones of most interest to them. Module 1 describes the health, environmental and social benefits of active travel. Module 2 provides strategies to motivate patients to use active travel. Module 3 explains the links between active transportation and community design. Module 4, designed for health professionals in southern Ontario, focuses on Ontario’s Growth Plan and how it impacts active travel. Module 5 provides strategies for promoting change in one’s community.”
Read the article and download the toolkit here.
The linked article provides a great overview of the importance of trail-oriented development in rural and small towns, both for residents and visitors, for economic benefits ranging across health, tourism, property values, community and business development.
The discussion covers two types of trail development – longer regional trails (like Brockville being situated on the 2,000 km Great Lakes Waterfront Trail) and local developments like our Brock Trail.