Special Report: Cycling

Why a Protected Cycling Network?

Unprotected bike lanes discriminate against women and seniors and exclude 92 percent of the population.

By Kevin Love
Published May 11, 2015

This is the first article in a five-part series entitled Building Hamilton's Protected Cycling Network.

Today's article is Part 1: Why a Protected Cycling Network? To answer this question, we have to look at the population in terms of who does and who does not engage in transportation cycling.

Who Cycles? The Portland Demographic Model

The Portland Model asserts that there are four demographic categories of transportation cyclists:

Four types of transportation cyclists in Portland
Four types of transportation cyclists in Portland

  1. The "Strong and Fearless." These are people who are willing to cycle without any cycling infrastructure. They are less than 1 percent of the population.

  2. The "Enthused and Confident." These are people who are willing to cycle on unprotected cycling infrastructure. They are about 7 percent of the population, and are disproportionately men between the ages of 18-65.

  3. The "Interested but Concerned." This is 60 percent of the population. They will only cycle on protected or car-free infrastructure.

  4. The "No Way, No How." This is 33 percent of the population. These people just don't like cycling. They will only cycle on protected or car-free infrastructure AND cycling must be faster, easier and more convenient than alternate means of transportation. Many members of this demographic are willing to undergo considerable inconvenience to avoid cycling and take alternate methods of transportation.

Full details and the research evidence supporting the Portland Model may be found on their official government website.

A considerable amount of subsequent research has validated the Portland Model. Cities ranging from London, England to Melbourne, Australia have confirmed the Portland Model.

Most importantly, of a survey of 700 cities, no city in an industrialized country has been able to achieve over 8 percent cycling mode share without protected infrastructure.

Gender, Age Imbalance

The gender breakdown is also significant. In the USA, less than 25 percent of cyclists are women, with traffic violence being the #1 cause stopping women from cycling.

However, in The Netherlands, 55 percent of cyclists are women.

Failure to provide protected cycling infrastructure means that we have a transportation system that systematically discriminates against women.

And not just women. In the USA, 0.4 percent of all trips made by people over the age of 65 are on bicycles. In The Netherlands, 25 percent of all trips made by people over the age of 65 are on bicycles.

My mother is an excellent example of this. She refuses to ride a bicycle in Ontario. Why? Traffic violence. She says, "At my age, I am not going to play tag with two-tonne lethal weapons."

Transportation for Everybody

The problem with unprotected bike lanes is that only 8 percent of the population will use them, and that 8 percent are predominantly men between the ages of 18-65. This type of infrastructure discriminates against women and excludes 92 percent of the population.

If we are going to build a transportation system for everybody, it has to be one of protected bike lanes.

Kevin is a professional accountant and a retired infantry officer with the Canadian Forces. Kevin keeps encountering people who were students of his father, Dr. Robert Love, who was a professor at MacMaster University from 1977-2008. He lives near Durand Park in Hamilton and is currently Vice-Chair of the Hamilton Cycling Committee.

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By jason (registered) | Posted May 11, 2015 at 08:32:05

great piece. Saturday afternoon I noticed all the users on Cannon St in the bike lanes. Of particular note were a couple different small groups of young kids out riding along in the bike lanes. Even with this less than proper design at intersections it's still miles better than painted bike lanes. When in the past has anyone seen young kids riding bikes along Cannon?

Build an entire network and watch ridership soar.

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By KevinLove (registered) | Posted May 11, 2015 at 10:19:55 in reply to Comment 111491

Yes, intersections are critical. In Ontario, 63.5% of injury causing crashes in 2011 took place at intersections. The last article in the series, on the Pipeline Trail, takes a detailed look at intersection design for the Trail.

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By ergopepsi (registered) | Posted May 11, 2015 at 10:17:03

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By mikeonthemountain (registered) | Posted May 11, 2015 at 10:57:40 in reply to Comment 111495

We're not buried in snow for a third of the year. Especially if you factor in snow removal, you can count with your fingers the number of days we are actually "buried". I ride year round for over 7 years now, and nearly all of it is on bare pavement.

Some European cities that were bombed to the ground in World War 2 have rebuilt nearly completely - at first in the mid-20th century auto-centric model, then converted it to the complete streets they enjoy today. It was a series of decisions and commitments followed by action, not the duration of time they existed.

And our large population centers are spaced farther out, but inside cities, particularly downtowns, human form factors make densities pretty similar.

In my opinion there is no significant difference between Europe and here, other than our cultural worship of cars, and our procrastination in modernizing streets and making them more complete.

That said, I am singularly impressed with the progress Hamilton has made in cycling infrastructure over the years. Very inspiring and good progress so far, demand for cycling infrastructure has pushed the region toward a tipping point where it's starting to happen.

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By AnjoMan (registered) | Posted May 11, 2015 at 13:39:53 in reply to Comment 111498

In my opinion there is no significant difference between Europe and here, other than our cultural worship of cars, and our procrastination in modernizing streets and making them more complete.

I think there is a significant difference in that European cities have committed to density and human scale wholesale in a way that North American cities have not. The best city regions in North America are 100+ years old and borrow from the layouts of European cities, but we do have a much more significant commitment to auto-oriented development, which leads to our apparent love of cars (in other words, I'd say its not that we love cars so much as that we have built so much of our communities so that cars are often necessary).

That being said, these are not reasons why cycling should be different in North America, and in fact I would argue that its all the more reason to build cycling infrastructure. Dense, human-scale urban form is much harder to embrace when you are trying to sell it to a populace that feels they can't live without a car. Bike infrastructure is the anecdote to that need, and can allow communities to re-imagine themselves as not dependant on the car but able to function with two wheels or two feet.

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By ergopepsi (registered) | Posted May 11, 2015 at 12:26:42 in reply to Comment 111498

'Our' cultural worship of cars? So the Autobahn, the Vatican of driving, doesn't count? What about 80% of the F1 drivers? BMW, Fiat, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Mercedes are not worshiped? Europeans like their cars too don't worry about that.

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By mikeonthemountain (registered) | Posted May 11, 2015 at 13:08:24 in reply to Comment 111504

You fail to distinguish between the existence of highways and nice cars, versus allowing them to envelop cities in their entirety to the exclusion of complete streets.

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By ergopepsi (registered) | Posted May 11, 2015 at 13:52:18 in reply to Comment 111509

Oh brother...

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By chasball (anonymous) | Posted May 11, 2015 at 13:24:31 in reply to Comment 111509

Just got back from ten days and 1500 miles of highway driving in Europe. Awesome highways. Lots of them. 70 - 75 mph and everyone keeps to the right (or left in England.) Better and more highways around major cities than in Southern Ontario which seems to be terrified of building proper road networks. London is actually better in many ways than Toronto now.

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By Stephen (anonymous) | Posted May 11, 2015 at 13:54:35 in reply to Comment 111514

In France, highways passing through metropolitan areas see speed limits reduced to 90 kilometres per hour (from 130 in some cases) in order to reduce pollution. And they’re enforced; that piece of the puzzle is largely missing around here.

In most places in Europe, speed limits are appropriate to the areas they pass through, and roads are designed for these speeds. In towns where highways pass through, motor traffic is expected to slow to 50 or 40 from 80 or 100. In residential areas, speed limits are often 30 kilometres per hour. And they are enforced.

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By kevlahan (registered) | Posted May 11, 2015 at 15:00:24 in reply to Comment 111528

In fact, many French cities are now experimenting with reducing the speed limits on "rocades" (urban freeways or ring roads) from 90km/h to 70km/h to reduce pollution and improve traffic flow. Paris is going even further, reducing the speed limit on the peripherique to 50km/h to limit pollution (after an initial reduction to 70 km/h last year).

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By CharlesBall (registered) | Posted May 11, 2015 at 16:36:01 in reply to Comment 111538

So sad.

The northern portion of the Paris ring road is a joke at rush hour. Motor cyclists zooming between lanes. Traffic at a standstill. No need to reduce the speed limit - you cant do 20k let alone 90!

I drove from Norwich to Gatwick around London during morning rush hour and did it in 3 hours stopping only at the toll bridge over the Thames.

Paris is a Joke. Under built and the worst example of modern traffic design in Europe. I think Paris is trying to become Toronto.

Comment edited by CharlesBall on 2015-05-11 16:42:50

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By kevlahan (registered) | Posted May 11, 2015 at 17:14:55 in reply to Comment 111540

That's one reason to reduce the speed limit: the higher speed limit increases pollution outside rush hour and it doesn't make any difference during rush hour. The périph (built on the land formerly occupied by a military defence ring) definitely harms the urban design of the edge of Paris and cuts it off from the inner suburbs. There have even been calls to remove or cover it!

Greater Paris (Ile de France) is an extremely dense metropolitan area with a population of about 12 million. It is far denser than London and has a much better integrated public transit system. You have to remember that the périph is only 5km from the centre of Paris, roughly equivalent to the inner London ring road (which is the boundary of London's congestion charge zone). If you just want to drive around Paris you wouldn't drive all the way to the périph!

There is no way the road system could ever be built to accommodate the majority of people driving in Paris or the near suburbs: that's why Paris switched to prioritize public transit in the late 1970s (after building expressways along the Seine under Pompidou) and is continuing to expand and densify the public transit system all the time (most notably with there recent Grand Paris project http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grand_Paris...

The goal is a good transportation network for the whole region ... which is simply not possible to achieve by prioritizing driving. London has managed to improve traffic flow in the downtown core with the congestion charge and by improving conditions for pedestrians. But its public transit system is far worse than Paris's ... in fact they eventually outsourced their buses to Transdev/RATP to try to improve efficiency! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/London_Unit...

Comment edited by kevlahan on 2015-05-11 17:25:14

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By mikeonthemountain (registered) | Posted May 11, 2015 at 16:59:01 in reply to Comment 111540

I'm surprised variable speed limits aren't discussed more. Electronically controlled variable speed limits are a very good idea. The London area has used active traffic management since 2006. Did the section you spoke about have this?

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By kevlahan (registered) | Posted May 11, 2015 at 17:31:43 in reply to Comment 111542

In some French cities, the speed limit is lowered during peak air pollution days (and public transit is free).

On French autoroutes the speed limit is 130km/h normally and 110 km/h in the case of rain or snow.

Ontario is a bit bizarre in that the posted speed limit is always 100 km/h, but the average speed is 120km/h if traffic permits (rain or shine). I've never known anywhere else with such a gap between the "official" speed limit and what is actually enforced and what people drive.

It would make far more sense to switch to a strictly enforced 130/110 km/h with a 90 km/h limit in urban areas. Right now traffic can be travelling at anything from 90km/h to 130km/h or more and this big range of speeds is dangerous and inefficient.

Comment edited by kevlahan on 2015-05-11 17:32:44

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By mikeonthemountain (registered) | Posted May 11, 2015 at 13:35:38 in reply to Comment 111514

I agree completely! And when you get off the highway and enter the middle of a city, those environments restrict cars and are way more pleasant and healthier. I think we should raise speed limits and improve highways as well. But that is a completely different subject than how the insides of urban areas are configured. It is possible to have high quality road networks and high quality cities. When one is pushed as absolute, to the exclusion of all else, neither gets done properly and everything suffers.

Comment edited by mikeonthemountain on 2015-05-11 13:38:08

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By chasball (anonymous) | Posted May 11, 2015 at 13:26:23 in reply to Comment 111514

Also, they have great 6 speed diesel cars.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted May 11, 2015 at 10:54:54 in reply to Comment 111495

the cities and towns of Europe are far denser and have been for not decades but centuries

People keep saying that and it keeps not being true. A mid-sized city like Hamilton has a population density similar to mid-sized European cities.

Hamilton's population density within the urban boundary (i.e. not including its rural farmland) is around 2,100 people per kilometre squared (km^2). That's the entire amalgamated city, including the newer suburbs. The density is considerably higher in some of the older neighbourhoods and especially downtown. Ward 2, for example, has a density above 6,000.

Compare Hamilton with a selection of mid-sized European cities:

-------------------------------------------
City         Area    Population  Density
            (km^2)              (ppl/km^2)
-------------------------------------------
Bratislava   368     491,061     1,334
Leeds        552     750,700     1,360
Dresden      329     530,754     1,613
Edinburgh    264     487,500     1,847
Dortmund     280     575,944     2,057
Duisburg     233     486,855     2,090
Hamilton     235     497,550     2,117
Wroclaw      293     632,067     2,157
Varna        154     348,819     2,265
Timisoara    131     319,279     2,437
Lodz         293     715,360     2,442
Hanover      204     518,386     2,541
Nuremberg    186     498,876     2,682
Essen        210     569,884     2,714
Dusseldorf   217     598,686     2,759
Stuttgart    207     597,939     2,889
Helsinki     214     621,863     2,906
Rotterdam    209     619,879     2,966
Iassy        94      290,422     3,090
--------------------------------------------

As for the bigger, denser European cities, they compare with the bigger, denser cities in Canada. For example, Toronto's average population density across the entire amalgamated city is 4,150 people/km^2. Vancouver's density is 5,249, and Montreal is 4,518.

Bicycles and cars were both invented around the same time in the late 1800s. In both North American and European cities, similar series of policy decisions led to the dominance of cars and driving over other ways of getting around throughout the 20th century.

In the mid-1970s, even places like Amsterdam had cycling in the low single digits in the mid-1970s, and car-dominated streets that looked a lot like their North American counterparts. But spurred by the OPEC oil shocks, some European cities decided that they wanted to be less dependent on automobiles, so they started making policy decisions and investments to encourage more walking and cycling.

Other cities started more recently. Paris, for example, started in the mid-1990s after a crippling metro strike and a new public health study finding that a huge number of people were dying prematurely each year from automobile pollution.

Yet other cities started even more recently. For example, New York City got serious about cycling only in the past decade or so, and their rate of cycling has exploded in places where they have built good infrastructure:

New York Cycling 1980-2014

What all these places have in common, regardless of when they got started, is that they have invested in continuous, high quality cycling infrastructure and realized significant growth in ridership as a result.

There is no excuse for us not to do the things that are proven to work in a variety of urban contexts.

Comment edited by administrator Ryan on 2015-05-11 11:01:25

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By ergopepsi (registered) | Posted May 11, 2015 at 12:19:34 in reply to Comment 111497

Ok I stand corrected. If we're splitting hairs here then European cities aren't FAR denser - just somewhat denser. By your own chart the least dense city listed has 3x the population per km2 than Hamilton. My main point was that they have been 'somewhat denser' for far longer than North American cities and have environmental conditions that are more favourable to cycling. This has allowed cycling to take root there at a rate that is not possible here. Take the cyclists from the Netherlands and drop them in Hamilton in February and I'd be willing to bet that their cycling numbers will closely match those for current Hamiltonians in very short order.
For those who do ride in February good for them. It takes a real trooper to gear up and get out there in a -30 wind chill. You have to understand that not everyone can do that and that doesn't make them bad people. I just think the attitude around cycling here has to be more understanding on a human level.

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By AnjoMan (registered) | Posted May 11, 2015 at 13:46:53 in reply to Comment 111503

You have to understand that not everyone can do that and that doesn't make them bad people. I just think the attitude around cycling here has to be more understanding on a human level.

Nobody here is suggesting that if you dont cycle year-round you are a bad person. However, the reason very few people cycle here in the winter is not because of snow or cold but because, as in the summer, the roads are dangerous and require dangerous interactions with cars. If one is uncomfortable riding in traffic, how much more so when it's snowy and the visibility is poor? If we built good cycling infrastructure, a lot of people would ride in the winter because it is cheap and fun!

I rode all winter this past year, but it was easy for me because I can travel on residential streets to get to and from the grocery store. If I had to ride in a bike lane (read: in traffic beside the windrows of snow that fill the bike lane) it would have been a different story.

And if I'm wrong then how do you explain Copenhagen, where most citizens cycle year round?.

Comment edited by AnjoMan on 2015-05-11 13:50:20

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By ergopepsi (registered) | Posted May 11, 2015 at 13:59:02 in reply to Comment 111523

Gas is 2 bucks a litre in Copenhagen. At that price I'd ride my son's big wheel to work.

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By AnjoMan (registered) | Posted May 13, 2015 at 00:21:46 in reply to Comment 111532

Lol last year gas was at like $1.50/litre and people still drove a ton, because they literally can't "ride their son's big wheel to work" in most of Southern Ontario. Its all about design.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted May 13, 2015 at 06:47:54 in reply to Comment 111602

People do respond to price signals. Part of the flatlining and decline in North American driving over the past decade has been due to the historically high fuel prices.

Notwithstanding the recent steep drop in oil prices, we can expect that fuel prices will continue to trend higher and more volatile in the future than they were during the 20th century.

That is an excellent opportunity for cities to get serious about rebalancing their public street rights-of-way to encourage diversity and choice after nearly a century of automobile dominance.

After all, people cannot choose to respond to volatile fuel prices by cycling unless there is dedicated cycling infrastructure that serves their transportation needs.

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By kevinlove (registered) | Posted May 11, 2015 at 13:19:19 in reply to Comment 111503

This evening I’ll post a link to photographs of Copenhagen after a 40 cm snowfall. And a video of people commuting to work in Oulu, Finland when the temperature is -30 degrees. And photographs of people in The Netherlands riding their bikes to watch the skating races on frozen canals.

In other words, it is not about the weather. It is about infrastructure. And maintaining infrastructure during the winter so that people can safely cycle on it. Winters in Hamilton are not as harsh as Oulu, Finland. If they can do it, we can too.

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By ergopepsi (registered) | Posted May 11, 2015 at 13:48:39 in reply to Comment 111511

I never said we can't. Just saying that not all people want to and that is ok as well as climate being a factor in making cycling difficult for some people to adopt.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted May 11, 2015 at 12:48:46 in reply to Comment 111503

By your own chart the least dense city listed has 3x the population per km2 than Hamilton.

Perhaps you're reading the chart wrong. The cities I listed range in density from 1,334 people per km^2 to 3,090 people per km^2, with Hamilton in the middle of the pack at 2,100 people per km^2. And these are all cites that range in population from 290,000 to 750,700, again with Hamilton in the middle of the pack at 497,550 (within the urban boundary).

It is simply wrong to claim that European cities are denser than North American cities. On both continents, there is a fairly wide range of city sizes, densities and modal splits. Cycling infrastructure designs that work in Europe also work in North America, and designs that work in big cities (or small towns) also work in mid-sized cities.

There is no excuse for Hamilton not to be investing in doing what we know will produce a much higher rate of cycling than we have today.

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By ergopepsi (registered) | Posted May 11, 2015 at 13:20:37 in reply to Comment 111506

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted May 11, 2015 at 13:42:54 in reply to Comment 111512

I've got 460 per km2.

I addressed that in my other reply: the 460/km^2 divides the total population of the city by the total area, including all the rurals and farmlands outside the urban boundary. For the purpose of comparing Hamilton to other cities, I am using the land area and the population living within the urban boundary.

But you won't acknowledge that it is acceptable for someone to not want to cycle in sub-zero temperatures?

I have ever suggested that it's not acceptable for someone to choose not to ride a bike for a given trip. You seem to be attacking a strawman here: no one is saying everyone has to ride a bike.

What we're saying is that it makes sense to invest in cycling infrastructure that is proven in a variety of urban contexts to make cycling available to anyone who wants to choose it.

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By kdslote (registered) | Posted May 11, 2015 at 12:39:17 in reply to Comment 111503

I think what most cycling advocates in the city are trying to achieve is exactly what you are suggesting - to make the attitude around cycling more understanding on a human level. To understand that a huge percentage of the population wants to cycle more, but don't feel safe with our city's current lack of properly designed cycling infrastructure. If you fall within the 33% of people who will never cycle, regardless of infrastructure, that's fine! But please don't undermine the ability for the other 66% of the population to cycle!

If cycling advocates often appear passionate...it's because we are. We're not bad people either, though we're often made out to be with insults hurled at us by drivers and with media reports supporting a culture of cyclist blaming when accidents do occur.

Also - are we looking at the same chart that Ryan posted???? Hamilton's total density within the urban boundary would put us middle of the pack. Counting just the downtown area, we're much more dense!

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By ergopepsi (registered) | Posted May 11, 2015 at 13:01:09 in reply to Comment 111505

Ya, I don't know where he's getting those numbers. The density of Hamilton as of 2011 is 465.4 people/km2. What is a 'huge' percentage? According to the above New York City cyclists counts chart for 2014, 0.002% of the population of NYC cycle. That's two thousandths of one percent. It's relative I guess - is that a lot for cycling numbers?

Where does it come across like I'm undermining anything? This is exactly what I'm talking about when I say you have to be more understanding. Not everybody bikes in February and not everybody bikes at all. This is not undermining. You have to embrace the entire community - cycling and non-cycling - if you want to get anywhere.

BTW, you only need one question mark to indicate a question. If you use more than one it indicates that you are being hostile.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted May 11, 2015 at 13:28:04 in reply to Comment 111508

Ya, I don't know where he's getting those numbers.

I pulled the area and population numbers for all the listed cities from their respective Wikipedia pages.

The density of Hamilton as of 2011 is 465.4 people/km2.

As I mentioned above, I'm using the density of the part of Hamilton that is within the urban boundary, in order to compare apples to apples with its European counterparts. As you probably know, most of the geographic area of Hamilton is rural farmland with little to no urban infrastructure and extremely low population density. It makes no sense to evaluate the feasibility of cycling infrastructure in Hamilton based on the number of people living on a sideroad in Lynden.

According to the above New York City cyclists counts chart for 2014, 0.002% of the population of NYC cycle.

The chart I posted for New York is from a report [PDF] by the NYC Department of Transportation. As noted, it is for selected commuter locations where cycling infrastructure has been implemented and is not a measure of the total number of cyclists in New York.

You seem determined to hold onto the belief that there is something intrinsic to North American cities that makes cycling unfeasible, but the data do not support that belief.

Comment edited by administrator Ryan on 2015-05-11 13:36:31

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By ergopepsi (registered) | Posted May 11, 2015 at 13:43:10 in reply to Comment 111517

"You seem determined to hold onto the belief that there is something intrinsic to North American cities that makes cycling unfeasible, but the data do not support that belief."

What the...? Where are you getting that from? I've basically distilled my comments down to 'it sucks to bike in February' and 'not everyone like to cycle'. You can't even accept that? Well, I guess it's us vs them from now on eh?

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted May 11, 2015 at 13:54:12 in reply to Comment 111522

Where are you getting that from?

I'm getting that from your stream of comment replies trying to find some justification for Hamilton's low rate of cycling other than the obvious one: we don't have a network of high quality cycling infrastructure.

It is straightforward exceptionalism to keep blaming our density, geography, weather and age for our low cycling rate in the face of all evidence to the contrary.

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By ergopepsi (registered) | Posted May 11, 2015 at 14:15:18 in reply to Comment 111527

Did I mention age anywhere? Ok, so your reason is the correct one and the only one we should consider. Ok, good. 'we don't have a network of high quality cycling infrastructure' get it in your heads everybody and if you think that there might be anything more to it than that go ** yourself.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted May 11, 2015 at 14:43:03 in reply to Comment 111535

Did I mention age anywhere?

Are you kidding? A huge portion of your commentary has focused on the difference in age between North American and European cities - going so far as to claim that European cities have been "biking around for the past 200 years", even though bikes have only existed for 125 years, around the same amount of time that automobiles have existed.

There is someone being absolutist, unreasonable and combative in this discussion, and I leave it as an exercise to other readers to determine who that is.

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By kdslote (registered) | Posted May 11, 2015 at 13:27:45 in reply to Comment 111508

I used the word undermining because I assumed that the intent of your comments was to prove that Hamilton is not a viable city for cycling, regardless of infrastructure. If this was incorrect, I apologize. I do not want to foster an us vs. them mentality.

The multiple question marks were meant to express bewilderment, not hostility.

I fully agree that the whole community needs to be embraced, not just one segment. I also believe that properly designed bike lanes on many of our hostile one-way streets would improve those streets for not only cyclists, but for pedestrians and motorists. Personally, I am a person who cycles, walks, and drives, so I never come at the issue from one vantage point.

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By mikeonthemountain (registered) | Posted May 11, 2015 at 13:10:42 in reply to Comment 111508

You have to embrace the entire community - cycling and non-cycling - if you want to get anywhere.

That's easy. Sidewalks/footpaths : pedestrians and mobility. Bike lanes : medium powered traffic. Traffic lanes : high powered traffic. Boom. Everyone accommodated. Easy.

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By ergopepsi (registered) | Posted May 11, 2015 at 13:23:47 in reply to Comment 111510

I'm not talking about infrastructure. I'm talking about not making people feel bad about not cycling. And listen I'm a cyclist and a runner so I like my air clean. But live and let live I say. If someone doesn't want to bike then that's ok. If they come around then they come around. If not then don't hold it against them.

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By AnjoMan (registered) | Posted May 11, 2015 at 13:55:17 in reply to Comment 111513

You are the only one who is suggesting that people might feel bad for not wanting to ride a bike. Nobody else is arguing that people should feel obligated to ride their bikes. In fact the whole point here is the opposite: no-one is obligated to ride their bike, which is with a lack of infrastructure and safety very few people choose to ride their bikes. We are not talking about how to force more people to choose to ride their bikes, but about how to change our cities so that more people will, of their own will and desire, ride bikes.

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By KevinLove (registered) | Posted May 11, 2015 at 11:27:42 in reply to Comment 111497

That it is about the infrastructure can be seen by the example of Davis, California. Not particularly dense, but with protective infrastructure. So guess what? People cycle. See the video at: http://www.streetfilms.org/adventures-in...

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By Crispy (registered) | Posted May 11, 2015 at 11:05:42

To say that the transportation system specifically discriminates against women and those over 65 is pandering. They are covered in the 60% of the population who will only cycle on protected or car free infrastructure.

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By AnjoMan (registered) | Posted May 11, 2015 at 13:58:47 in reply to Comment 111499

They are covered in the 60% of the population who will only cycle on protected or car free infrastructure.

No, they aren't covered, because we don't have a significant amount of protected or car-free cycling infrastructure.

They are covered in the chart, but that doesn't mean they aren't discriminated against by our transportation planning failures.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted May 11, 2015 at 12:57:16

I was just biking along York today and noticed how almost workable it would be to run a parking-protected contra-flow bike lane along the north side in front of Sir John A. Would be so nice to be able to get from Bay to Caroline. There's more than enough road hatched-off except for the bump-out to cross at Caroline.

StreetView

Comment edited by Pxtl on 2015-05-11 12:57:40

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By highasageorgiapine (registered) | Posted May 11, 2015 at 14:06:27 in reply to Comment 111507

york should really be worked on in it's entirety, it's a lovely street with great connections to trails and outdoor activities. the problem is that it is also a highway connection so the collective whining about car commute times would be deafening. i don't think the new waterfront developments will help lessen that also.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted May 11, 2015 at 14:41:21 in reply to Comment 111534

This is mostly about connections to the Market/Jackson Square/Library - York Boulevard has bike-lanes in each direction in front of the market, which is nice, but there's no good and legal way to head West from there - you're forced up Bay out to Cannon. End result is most cyclists illegally cut through to Napier.

You could extend the bike-lane from Bay to Hess without removing a lane, the problem is actually the pedestrian bump-outs Hess and Catherine. Too bad nobody thought of it when they were making the conversion.

Comment edited by Pxtl on 2015-05-11 14:57:55

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By fmurray (registered) | Posted May 13, 2015 at 22:51:47

Just finished cycling from home to McMaster and back. Wow, Westdale is so pleasant for cycling, even without protected infrastructure. But the minute I crossed over the 403 on Main, the environment changed. High-speed, aggressive traffic, squeezing me out of the right lane, forcing me onto Dundurn with a slightly more civilized traffic flow.

Why can we not take one lane from King and Main east of the 403 to create a protected bike lane? I would like to see traffic reduced to three lanes on Main (failing a two-way conversion), but seriously - why FIVE lanes eastbound?

As Ryan McGreal tweeted a few days ago: It's criminally irresponsible.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted May 14, 2015 at 10:37:09 in reply to Comment 111635

There's actually a pleasant route from King/Dundurn. You turn left at the Basilica ramp with the faded "bike" paint marking into the Basilica driveway, then turn left onto Breadalbane (I guess they thought contra-flow bike riders turning left directly onto Breadalbane would be too confusing). Then turn right onto Hunt, and then briefly onto Dundurn and then Head street up to (and through) Victoria Park's bike-road over to Napier. Then take Napier down to Queen (where you illegally go straight through instead of turning right like they want you to but nobody does that ever) and on to Hess, where you turn left over to the Cannon Track.

It's a bit wordy and the city has put up some green bike signs to help, but it's not enough. It's more straightforward than it sounds. That's my daily commute.

Of course, the city could do a lot to make it better:

1) 2-way Hess North. There's no good way to return via the above route.

2) Some means to allow straight-through traffic at Queen and Napier.

3) Road markings and signage King and Breadalbane to avoid that ridiculous little Basilica turn.

4) More signs along every turn and interruption on the route explaining "Bike Route to McMaster/Downtown". Some of the signs are just a green Bike symbol with no explanation of "bike to where". It's better than it used to be, but still not there yet.

I don't go to Durand very much, but I could definitely see a 2nd Cannon-Track on Main working well. Realistically though, it's politically impossible until we see a lot more ridership on Cannon.

My zany design:

1) Lighted crossings on King and Main at the unnamed Cathedral Park road. This would provide safe crossings into Fortinos Plaza for people coming from the West on the bridges, safe access to Frid Street for drivers (holy crap getting over sucks) and a safe intersection for some of the ramps.

2) Bike path across Cathedral Park connecting these two intersections together.

3) Main Bike Track starts here.

Of course, half of this is just meant to circumvent the fact that Dundurn's bike lanes are killed between King and Main.

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By d.knox (registered) | Posted May 14, 2015 at 20:15:09

@Pxtl - One hack which works well for the return ride to Westdale from the Cannon Track is NOT to move into the bike box at Hess Street to shunt to the right side of Cannon. Instead, take the lane at Hess Street and just bike into the U-turn lane. From there you cross York directly into the parking lot facing the U-turn. You can bike through to the other side of the parking lot to Peter, and then essentially retrace your route home from there. (punctuation edit)

Comment edited by d.knox on 2015-05-14 20:15:58

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By moylek (registered) - website | Posted May 15, 2015 at 10:14:48 in reply to Comment 111652

You can bike through to the other side of the parking lot to Peter,

That's a good route and I use it sometimes.

But I maintain that there's something very wrong with a road system which forces cyclists to rely on hacks or other special knowledge in order to just get downtown and back.

I participated in a guided ride from McMaster to James North and back last year, the purpose of which was (iirc) to encourage students to come downtown and to do so by bike. The circuitous, broken route was, to say the least, discouraging. It was an exercise in iron-curtain-quality absurdity.

Comment edited by moylek on 2015-05-15 10:16:16

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted May 15, 2015 at 11:17:57 in reply to Comment 111656

Absolutely. The proper solutions to this problem would be cheap and easy:

2 way Hess North, or 2-way Bay. Or a properly signed bike-path across Sir John A at Caroline. Or a contra-flow lane along York Boulevard from Bay to Hess.

any one of the above works. There is no shortage of options.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted May 14, 2015 at 22:10:08 in reply to Comment 111652

I'll try that one. Other day I went through the Sir John A parking lot to get to Caroline, but that's kind of a miserable gravel pit.

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By fmurray (registered) | Posted May 19, 2015 at 22:40:05

Ahem... so, it's great that cyclists can learn to get around the city while staying off the main routes.

My point though, was that Main Street is five lanes. FIVE. Can we please talk about how to make Main Street friendly to cyclists and pedestrians, reducing the lanes and giving one or more over to bike lanes, wider sidewalks and slower auto traffic? At least in the interim while we wait for a two-way conversion (thinking it may be 100 years before that happens).

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