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July 17, 2014 | Cody Stuart

Have bike, will travel

City releases Bicycle Count report

Calgarians love their bicycles, and the City has the numbers to prove it.

Released as part of the City of Calgary's first ever official bike count, data collected by the city
showed over 19,000 cyclists passed by one of 51 collection points during two six-hour periods (6:30-9:30 a.m. and 3:30-6:30 p.m.) in May, June and July. "The data which has been collected is similar to that of the City of Calgary Bicycle Program Yearbook released earlier this year, but provides more comprehensive detail and analysis," says Ekke Kok, manager of Transportation Data.

According to the report, the city's cycling hotspot was where the Bow River Pathway meets Crowchild Trail S.W., with 2,787 cyclists. The second busiest spot was along the Bow River pathway at 11 St. S.W., which saw 2,452 cyclists. Rounding out the top three locations was the Prince's Island Bridge over Memorial Drive, which saw 916 cyclists.

Other findings in the report showed 70 per cent of cyclists in Calgary were male compared to just 21 per cent female riders. A large majority of Calgary cyclists also opted to stay safe, with 86 per cent of those counted choosing to wear a helmet during their ride.

"The Bicycle Count report is a best practice of bike-friendly cities in North America," said Calgary bicycle co-ordinator Thomas Thivener. "By conducting a trend analysis of the number of cyclists in Calgary, broken down by gender, age and helmet use, we can monitor the demographic trends of bicycle riders across the city."

To help the City's vision of becoming a more bike-friendly community, Council approved and funded the Cycling Strategy in 2011, which was guided by policies in the Calgary Transportation Plan (2009). Since being adopted, the city has seen the addition of the Seventh Street S.W. cycle track.

Originally forecast to see trips daily, the number of cyclists along the route has been more than double, with more than 1,000 trips counted in July and August of last year.

The City recently announced plans for "buffered" bike lanes along Northland Drive in northwest Calgary. The partially separated lanes will replace the previous lanes along the roadway, which were merely painted dividers. According to the City, the change reflects the feedback of citizens, who had expressed concerns over pinch points along the route and poorly marked intersections and road signs.

According to a survey conducted by the city, 19 per cent of Calgarians already ride at least once a week, and 59 per cent said they would like to cycle more often.

Tagged: bicycle count | bike lanes | Calgary | Calgary Community | cycling | pathways | bike

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