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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Cycling research may resolve questions

Separated bike lane in CopenhagenFrom, 08.21.07:

Tracking Cyclists, Avid and Otherwise

How important are bike lanes to avid bikers, leisure cyclists and occasional bike commuters, respectively? Are dedicated pathways crucial, or is it more important that people feel safe on the street itself? What's more helpful: segregation of bicycles from cars or pavement markings and other wayfinding signals that help bikers navigate the same right-of-way as drivers? (Read more.)
This ongoing research by Jennifer Dill of Portland State University may help provide a few answers to a long-time debate among bike advocates. Nobody disputes that more cyclists means safer cyclists--motorists become more accustomed to sharing space with bicyclists, who feel more at home on roads. The dispute is exactly how to attract more people to bicycling.

Transportation funding for bicycling is sadly sparse--as it is for almost any non-automotive transportation mode. Government policy has long prioritized cars. This research may help transportation planners to more effectively use those scarce dollars to encourage more bicycle use. Readers of this blog know how I feel: Bike lanes make a huge difference.

Image: Streetsblog.
Visit: Paul Dorn's Bike Commuting Tips


Jett said...

After noticing an increase in bike commuters over the winter, I started counting cyclists I came across during my morning commute. It didn't take long for me to notice that I got better counts on the bike paths and bike lanes along my routes.

I don't have numbers, but it seemed motorists were more comfortable with cyclists in areas where cyclists were plentiful. It's hard to say whether it was experience through multiple encounters versus awareness of signs and painted lanes, but it was certanly working.

Bike facilities correlated well with higher numbers of cyclists, but I noticed another strong predictor: weather. Threat of rain and recently the high temperatures knock down my counts from 1.5 cyclists per mile travelled to around 0.75 per mile or less.

Anonymous said...

I love to tell folks how I have a lane all to myself - its called the shoulder. The "driving" lanes get filled up with the majority of the road users, leaving the bike lane or shoulder free for me and other cyclists.