regional government, Metro Vancouver, has just released its plan to
make cycling a popular mode of transportation in the Lower Mainland.
The plan called “Cycling for Everyone” has two goals: increase the
number of trips taken by bicycle, and make cycling safer.
has many benefits to a community. It does not pollute and is more
energy efficient. Building cycling ways is less expensive
building roads for automobiles. For shorter trips, the time to ride a
bike is comparable to driving the same distance. Finally, a bicycle
costs consderably less to own and maintain than a car. Car ownership
costs a family between $6000 and 16000 for each vehicle depending on
the make and size of the vehicle.
A large proportion of people
want to cycle, but they do not for many reasons. Some feel unsafe
sharing the road with cars. There is also the problem of having to
breathe polluted air along the roads. For some, bike theft is the
reason cited for choosing to use a car. Finally, when you get to the
end of your trip you might feel dirty, tired and sweaty, not to mention
the problems of “helmet head”, chafed thighs and a bruised gluteus
Despite the benefits, only 2.2% of trips
less than 8km in the region are done on bikes. By contrast, in the
Netherlands cycling makes up 27% of the share of commuter
The goal of Metro Vancouver is to increase the percentage to 15% by
2040. They also hope to increase the proportion of female cyclists from
less than one-third to half over the next 30 years. Finally, they want
to cut the number of cycling fatalities in half.
In order to
achieve these goals government has to do several things. They must make
all roads safer for cycling, build low-stress bikeways, develop a
better bikeway network, maintain the bikeways and make them easier to
navigate, and provide adequate bike parking and end-of-trip facilities
with showers and changerooms.
Additionally, because of the
hilly terrain of the Lower Mainland and the large distances many
commuters travel, it is important that the transit system works in
cooperation with the system of bikeways.
The final piece of the
puzzle is to educate people about the benefits and convenience of
cycling as well the need for safety.
government spending on cycling infrastructure and maintenance has been
about 4 million dollars a year. There is about 1674 km of bikeways in
the region. To achieve the goals of “Cycling for Everyone” local
governments will need to spend a lot more money and plan their cities a
(July 24, 2011)
2002 to date
Weekly Features with descriptions)