Cycling and Sustainability: Two Wheels Good, Four Wheels Bad


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Public Prsentation at Vancouver Island University, Nanaimo, BC, Match 2012

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Cycling and Sustainability: Two Wheels Good, Four Wheels Bad

  1. 1. Cycling Towards Sustainability: Two Wheels Good, Four Wheels Bad R.J. Payne Lakehead UniversityThunder Bay, Ontario
  2. 2. Cycling Towards SustainabilityIntroductionBob, the cyclist● Vancouver-Thunder Bay; Quebec (my wife cycled there); Netherlands; Britain● A recreational cyclist● Thunder Bays Active Transportation Committee● Lives in OntarioThe “Good” and the “Bad”● NOT moral● Benefits vs. costs – To people – To the environment
  3. 3. Cycling Towards SustainabilityIntroductionThree things today● Who are cyclists?● What Infrastructure is needed for cyclists?● What are the challenges facing cyclings contribution to sustainability?
  4. 4. Cycling Towards SustainabilityWho are Cyclists?Cyclists differ from each other: how? ● By age, ● By gender, ● By socio-economic status, ● By motivation, ● By type of bike, ● By type of biking – Recreational – Competitive – UtilitarianCan cyclists be “segmented” into meaningful groups?
  5. 5. Cycling Towards SustainabilityNot much academic research on Home Adventurers Fashion Practical BoysGirls Pursuers Userssegmenting cyclists; however, Education College ↑ Graduate College ↑ High School School ↓ ● A Taiwanese study ● 35 Values, Attitudes and Lifestyles Usage Rate Seldom Often Seldom Usually (VALS) questions in scalar form ● N = 193 respondents Usage Roads Challenging Bike Lanes Bike Lanes Ocassion Roads Challenging ● Found four (4) cycling segments: Roads ● Fashion cyclists - 32% Purpose Transport Exercise Leisure Leisure ● Adventure cyclists - 17% ● Home cyclists (boysgirls) - 20% Type of Normal Mountain Normal Normal Bicycle bikes bikes bikes bikes ● Practical (Utilitarian) cyclists - 31% Folding BikesApplicabilityUtility to us?(source: Chu et al., 2010)
  6. 6. Cycling Towards SustainabilityNeeds for infrastructurei. A wide definition of “infrastructure”:● on-road lanes and bike paths, including rail trails● Interconnected networks (local, regional, provincial, national?)● Signage and Guides (maps, books, GPS)● Parking, bike racks● Bike plans (Alternative transportation plans)● Bicycling policy● Health promotion policy● Tourism policy If infrastructure = provision, then several levels of government are implicated here; room too for NGOs and community organizations.
  7. 7. Cycling Towards Sustainabilityii. Three Case Studies on Infrastructure1. The Netherlands2. Province of Quebec3. Victoria, BC What lessons might we learn from these case studies?
  8. 8. Cycling Towards Sustainability1. The Netherlands● With Germany, and Denmark, the Centre of the Cycling Universe? ● Cycling in Utrecht, Netherlands● Long-distance routes, connected to regional and local routes, with ● Cycling in the Dutch Countryside signage● Bike lanes and bike paths, with separation from vehicular traffic the norm● Guides and maps● Racks and parking● Drivers are also cyclists● Tourism: cycle touring companies, B&Bs, hotels and hostels
  9. 9. Cycling Towards Sustainability2. Province of Quebec● Canadas most cycling-friendly province?● Strategic direction: Bicycle Policy (2008) under the Transport Ministry● La Route Verte ● 4000+kms ● Maps and signage ● Cyclists on less busy roads● Cyclist safety● Cyclists responsibilities● Tourism: promotion of cycle tourism, cycle touring companies, B&Bs, hotels and hostels (e.g., Lac St. Jean)
  10. 10. Cycling Towards Sustainability3. Victoria, BC● Canadas most cycling-friendly urban area?● CRD Bicycle Strategy provides strategic direction● Lochside and Galloping Goose regional trails and feeders● Victoria and Saanich leadership● Several other municipalities have bike plans or initiatives in OCPs● Bike lanes● Signage and maps● Events (Bike to work week)
  11. 11. Cycling Towards SustainabilityLessons?1. Separation (bikes from vehicles) is safer and attracts more cyclists, including children2. Networks provide opportunities for different sorts of cyclists3. Signage, maps, guides - branding4. Involvement(s) of governments crucial – funding, development, policy integration5. Different levels of government → different purposes6. Strategic direction from plans andor policy necessary7. Integrated policies (bicycle, tourism, health) desirable8. Positive economic impact through tourism9. Follow-up monitoring: does it all work as planned?
  12. 12. Cycling Towards SustainabilityChallenges1. Politics● e.g., Torontos last municipal election: cycling an issue2. Strategy● Direction: what, for which cyclists, to what standard, for what purposes● e.g., Thunder Bay, Ontario3. Integrated policies● Transport ministry in Ontario has a bicycle policy and is revising it● Meanwhile, lead on policy integration for cycling comes from elsewhere4. Evaluation● Users? Maintenance? Renewal? Effectiveness?
  13. 13. Cycling Towards SustainabilitySelected ReferencesCapital Regional District, 2002. Bicycle Strategy, Draft Working Paper No. 3, Victoria, BC(available online at ).Chu, Y., Su, K., Chen, Y., Wu, C., and Hung, P. 2010. The Craze for Cycling: Who and Why?Unpublished paper; (available online at URL:, M. 2009. Reinventing the wheel: a definitional discussion of bicycle tourism.Journal of Sport and Tourism, 14 (1), pp. 5-23.Lumsdon, L. 2000: Transport and tourism: cycle tourism – a model for sustainabledevelopment?, Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 8 (5), pp. 361-377.
  14. 14. Cycling Towards SustainabilityQuebec, 2008. Bicycle Policy, (Available online at the Road Cycling Coalition, 2010. When Ontario Bikes, Ontario Benefits: A GreenPaper for an Ontario Bicycling Policy (available online and Vandermark Consulting, 2008. Ontario Bike Plan, prepared for the OntarioCycling Alliance (Available online at
  15. 15. Thank you!Questions?