State of Cycling: Preliminary Results
November 6, 2019
The State of Cycling team has mapped every bike route across Metro Vancouver, devised a classification system agreed upon by the municipalities and TransLink, and created a regional map listing each bicycle facility in the area route by comfort. This couldn’t have been done without a tremendous amount of work and support from municipalities, volunteers and HUB Local Committees.
The team is currently hard at work pulling all the data and information together to create the final report which will assess municipal cycling networks in relation to key outcomes, including collisions involving people on bikes and ridership. The report is slated to be completed by December, and publicly released in early 2020. The information collected from mapping every bikeway, plus data provided by the municipalities and gathered from external sources such as ICBC and Statistics Canada has revealed some interesting preliminary results:
- Cycling trips in the region have grown substantially in the last 10 years, going from 1.7 % to 2.3 % of all commute trips throughout the region
- The cycling network has increased by 237% since 2010
- Bicycle infrastructure that is comfortable for most people is still fragmented and doesn’t yet fully link key destinations with residential areas
- The cycling collision rate has remained roughly static over the period, currently at 23 collisions per million trips
- Much has improved in the last 10 years, and more investment in safe and comfortable bicycle infrastructure is needed to achieve a 50% reduction in cycling collisions while at the same time increasing the cycling rate to achieve TransLink’s goal of 15% of all trips under 8 kilometer by bicycle by 2040
Below is a figure showing the length of each type of bikeway in the region, broken down by level of comfort, ranging from “comfortable for most people” (coloured green) to “comfortable for very few” (coloured red). This represents an enormous amount of work. The bikeway classification system was first drafted, and then a final version agreed upon after numerous iterations and feedback from municipalities, HUB Local Committees, and TransLink. Each bikeway was then mapped either online or in person by a dedicated group of volunteers. This data was added to traffic volume, road classification and speed limit data, and all this information was used to give each bikeway segment in the region (over 15,000 segment) a comfort rating as seen below.
Every bike path and protected bike lane in the region is considered comfortable for most people, unfortunately these route types constitute a small proportion of the entire network. Multi-use paths comprise the single most common route type in the region, and the majority of these are considered comfortable for most, with a small fraction designated as comfortable for few and for very few. However, this classification of multi-use paths masks an important reality. While multi-use paths may be perceived as safer, such routes may harbour increased risk of conflict and injury, due to the mixing of modes and speeds, as well as due to poor design, particularly at roadway intersections (Harris et. al., 2013, O’Donnell, 2007). Separate biking and walking paths have been shown to be safer (Teschke et al, 2012). For planners and decision-makers this incongruity should be considered carefully when incorporating public preferences into appropriate cycling infrastructure choices.
Bikeways on shared roads comprise over 30% of all bikeways in the region. About a quarter of all shared road bikeways, typically only those on quiet residential streets, are considered comfortable for most, with the remainder classified as comfortable for some, few and very few.
Bike lanes and bicycle accessible shoulders comprise approximately 30% of the network and are all classified as either comfortable for some, few or very few.
Related story: The State of Cycling in Metro Vancouver
Photo Credit: Tim Yzerman