Tuesday, May 29, 2018

It's Bike to Work Week in BC. Should it be Bike to Shops, Schools, and Parks Week instead?

This week is Bike to Work Week in BC, an opportunity to raise awareness about cycling as a way of commuting to work. Bike to Work Week started in Victoria back in 1995 with approximately 500 participants. Last year, 44,523 people in 56 communities around the province took part in Bike to Work Week events.

Langley is one of the communities that is officially part of this years Bike to Work Week. More information about events and prizes can be found at the Go By Bike BC website.

Yesterday, I had an opportunity to chat with Michelle Eliot and Tom Skinner from HUB Cycling about cycling in our province on BC Today. I was part of the second half of the show.

I started by pointing out that there is about 8% of the population that will ride their bike no matter what. These are the people that you see in shoulder bike lanes along 200 Street. There is around one-third of the population that will never ride a bike. This leaves around 60% of the population that wants to ride a bike if safe infrastructure is built such as buffered and protected bike lanes.

A person riding their bike along 203 Street in Langley City in a protected bike lane. Select image to enlarge.

I noted that communities throughout the province, from Langley City to Kelowna, are investing in cycling infrastructure that supports the 60% of people that are interesting in cycling as long as safe infrastructure is provided. This has resulted in the number of people riding bikes rapidly increasing.

While encouraging people to bike to work is important, only about one-third of all trips taken are for travelling between home and work in our region. Local governments should focus on providing safe cycling infrastructure for the majority of trips that get people to places where they shop, play, and socialize. In communities like Langley City which is 10 square kilometres, this is a real opportunity, maybe even more so than biking to work.

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