Montreal Bike Lanes — James Schwartz
Bike lanes: do you use them, can’t do without them, or feel they’re in the way?
As reported by the CBC, in early March the Angus Reid Institute polled over 5,400 Canadians on cycling. Results were released today; not surprisingly, views on cycling and protected bike lanes really depended upon respondent age and length of journey to work, and which part of the country surveyed they came from.
As Angus Reid Institute executive director Shachi Kurl suggested, there’s a reframing happening in terms of how people are perceiving modes of transportation that is possibly just as profound as that which occurred with the 20th century shift towards the combustion engine and vehicles.
Overall, 78 per cent of respondents stated they drove most of the time, while 16 per cent took transit, and 7 per cent cycled several times a week.
From the respondents there was more of an acceptance of protected bike lanes, with only 17 per cent saying that they were not a good thing. Thirty per cent of those polled in Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary said there were too many bike lanes. Edmonton and Calgary also had less than half of those surveyed being positive to bike lanes. If protected bike lanes are built and being used by residents, there was a more positive attitude towards the infrastructure.
In Winnipeg and Halifax survey respondents said there were too few bike lanes. The greatest support for protected bike lanes came from respondents in Montreal, which has done a laudatory job in investing in a bike lane network, a strong and visible presence over many decades; 80 per cent of Montrealers were satisfied with this level of infrastructure.
There were also some unsurprising responses regarding cyclist-vehicle interactions. Nearly two-thirds of motorists blamed cyclists for not following the rules of the road, while almost the same amount of cyclists blamed motorists. Clearly, more work needs to be done on education, and enforcement of the various rules of the road, including what ‘sharing’ means.
While some have questioned the survey for why it would show the “divide” between those that want cycling infrastructure and those who don’t, the survey also indicates where more demonstration projects, education and promotion on the importance of walking and cycling for health and transport is needed.
You can take a look at the Angus Reid Institute’s questions and findings here.
Hornby Separated Bike Lane — Paul Krueger