Monday, April 16, 2012

More Bike Facilities=More Cyclists

I have been reading the book Bicycle Revolution again and love getting recharged about the idea that more cyclists=safer roads=more cyclists. It is a perfect feedback loop. Now a new study has been released that also proves this common sense theory.

Rutgers researcher John Pucher - he studies what seems like common sense in transportation, and then makes it sound good. Studying bike lanes in 90 or the 100 largest American cities, Pucher and collaborater Ralph Buehl used Pearson’s correlation, bivariate quartile analysis, and two different types of regressions to measure the relationship between more and longer bike lanes and quantity of cyclists.

Their conclusion: cities with a greater supply of bike lanes have more bike commuters. And according to the researchers, that correlation exists even when controlling for things like land use, climate, socioeconomics, gas prices, public transport supply, and cycling safety.

In addition, Pucher and Buehler found that cities with safer cycling, lower auto ownership, more students, less sprawl, and higher gas prices had more cycling to work. So, build the bike lanes and the cyclists will come.

In a city such as Portland, Milwaukee, and New York, this conclusion seems so obvious. But leave the biggest cycling cities, and it can feel like cycling is light years behind and the car the overwhelmingly dominant transport device. However, Pucher's research is welcome news in that it proves that all you really need to have cyclists and start building critical bike mass, is bike lanes.

1 comment:

  1. I totally agree. I was hesitant to start riding to work, but they've put in a couple miles of bike lanes near my office. It's still a long ride from home, some without bike lanes, so I have been riding a folding bike. I drive to where the bike lanes start, but with the bike in my trunk, I can just park near there, and then get in the bike lane. It's nice to get a little exercise in before work, and I've been saving on gas and parking.