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Bicycle routes promote cycling commutes: UBC study

(Photo credit: Dustin Godfrey for NEWS 1130)
Summary

The study found the distance to a bike path is a large determining factor in whether a person will cycle to work

Walking still remains more popular than cycling, because sidewalks are more common than bike routes

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – How close you live to a bike route may be closely linked to how likely you are to cycle to work, according to a study from UBC.

Using the national household survey on commuting to work in Montreal and Vancouver, population and public health professor Kay Teschke found the distance to a bike path or bike infrastructure is one large determining factor in whether a person will cycle to work.

“One kilometre closer to a bike route and about four times higher likelihood that you’ll cycle to work, so it really makes a difference being close to bike routes,” Teschke said. “A kilometre isn’t a huge difference, but it means when you’re at home you’re not aware about it, you’re not thinking about it, your neighbours aren’t aware of it; cycling doesn’t seem as much of a possibility.”

Bike infrastructure is also the great equalizer for men and women cyclists, according to Teschke. Cycling communities in areas without infrastructure are nearly 90 per cent men, while when routes are available, there are roughly the same number of men and women.

“Although women and men like similar routes; everyone likes to be away from traffic, men are more willing to ride on busy streets where there’s no infrastructure at all,” Teschke said.

Walking still remains more popular than cycling because sidewalks are more common than bike routes.