COVID Place making
April 27, 2021

Pucher and Buehler: “COVID Impacts on Cycling, 2019-2020”

Ralph Buehler and John Pucher, two friends of PT, just published an article in the international journal ‘”Transport Reviews” about the impacts of COVID on cycling in countries and cities from around the world – and the editors have given it free access: “COVID Impacts on Cycling, 2019-2020,” Transport Reviews (July 2021).

Here are some selected highlights:

The 11 EU countries averaged an overall 8% increase in cycling, but with a much larger increase on weekends (+23%) than on weekdays (+3%).

The USA averaged 16% growth overall, but similar to the EU, with higher growth on weekends (+29%) than on weekdays (+10%).

Canada averaged a 3% increase, but again more (28%) on weekends, and a decline of 8% on weekdays (Eco-Counter, 2021);

… comparing data from all of 2019 with all of 2020 can be misleading because it includes periods when almost no travel was allowed. A specific example of this is France. During the first lockdown (from March 17 to May 11, 2020), cycling levels fell by 70% compared to pre-lockdown levels. After the lockdown was lifted, cycling increased five-fold to a level 44% higher than before the lockdown. Thus, most year-to-year estimates understate the true increase in cycling when it was allowed. …

Streetlight data for the USA report an increase in cycling trips (+12%) from 2019 to 2020 but a 15% decline in motor vehicle km travelled, indicating a considerable increase in bike mode share. …

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