What Types of Cycling Routes are Preferred?

Cycling is good for the individual and the environment. But poor cycling environments keep many people from cycling when they really would like to. This is a big reason why cycling rates are relatively low in Dunedin compared to other cities and countries. In 2006 the University of Columbia did a survey in Vancouver asking cyclists what they preferred. We think those results have much in common with what Kiwi cyclists and potential cyclists are also looking for. This is why the build-out of a true Dunedin Cycle Network is so important.

“Build It and They Will Come

Of the different types asked about in the study, the 5 route types pictured below were the most preferred or undesirable (more details here). What does your route to work, school or shopping look like?

Of the 73 features that might influence likelihood of cycling, the following were the top 10 motivators:

  • the route is away from traffic noise and air pollution
  • the route has beautiful scenery
  • the route has bicycle paths separated from traffic for the entire distance
  • the route is flat
  • cycling to the destination takes less time than travelling by other modes
  • the distance to my destination is less than 5 km
  • I can make the trip in daylight hours
  • I can take my bike on public transport at any time
  • a 2-way off-street bike path has a reflective centre line for night and poor weather cycling
  • secure indoor bike storage is available at my destination

The following were the top 10 deterrents:

  • the route is snowy or icy
  • the street has a lot of car, bus, or truck traffic
  • the route has glass or debris
  • vehicles drive faster than 50 km/h
  • the risk from motorists who don’t know how to drive safely near bicycles
  • the risk of injury from car-bike collisions
  • it is raining
  • the route has surfaces that can be slick when wet or icy when cold
  • the route is not well lit after dark
  • I need to carry bulky or heavy items

Similar work has been done by the University of Canterbury (Assessment of the type of
cycling infrastructure required to attract new cyclists October 2011)

What influences your choices?

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3 Responses to What Types of Cycling Routes are Preferred?

  1. Jon Dean says:

    I feel Dunedin drivers are quite courteous to cyclists. I find the greatest risk is always at T-shaped intersections where the driver looks but doesn’t ‘see’ the cyclist or through door incidents, where the driver is unaware of the need to look.

  2. Sarah King says:

    The kind of results that make a cyclist think “well duh!” but unless its spelt out to town planners and bureaucrats they just don’t get it.

    I’m currently tackling a 30 minute drive on Thursday nights that would take my 13yo son 15 minutes to cycle because a) its dusk; b) despite the cycle lane on the route and the traffic being at a crawl people still behave erratically and drive as if bikes don’t exist.

    There are no easy answers to getting people out of cars, I just think its a shame when you have a family that is pro-cycling and they don’t feel safe to use the roads.

  3. Canterbury University’s Simon Kingham did similar research in Chch recently.

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