The City of Calgary recently completed one of their first efforts in their comprehensive cycling strategy – A telephone and online survey. The results are promising, and surprising, even to a moderately die hard commuter like myself.

From the online survey:

  • 64% said they do not feel safe cycling in traffic
  • 26% said they are currently bike commuting to work/school
  • 74% would like to cycle for transportation more often
  • 79% want more bike lanes and 79% want physically separated lanes
  • 69% want more motorist education about cyclists

From the telephone survey:

  • 59% said they would like to cycle more often
  • 72% are interested in cycling for transportation
  • 6% ride everyday (60,000 people everyday!)
  • 80% feel unsafe riding in traffic (ouch!)
  • 50% want to cycle more for transportation

(Thanks to BikeBike for culling the numbers for me ;-)

Now despite this being far from a complete Calgary census, and the two quadrants questioned are arguably the most affluent in Calgary (SW & NW), this is still great news. The number that really got me was from the telephone survey:

72% are interested in cycling for transportation

That’s huge! Given the amount of construction going on in the city and the backlog of traffic, I can understand why some people are giving cycling a chance. Coming from the SW/NW is also one of your better options for cycling, since there’s a beautiful pathway rolling along the river that’s cleared of snow all winter (but don’t tell ;-).

With that said – It still frustrates me to see the anti-bike sentiment out there – It pretty much borders on rage… Troublesome, and frightening. Case in point, the Calgary Herald recently highlighted the findings in their article “Calgarians too scared of traffic to commute by bike.” Now, the article – Not much more than a summation of the survey isn’t all that interesting in and of itself, but what really got me were the comments…

I for one dislike (very much) cyclists sharing the actual road with me and my vehicle. These people constantly complain that they want to be treated the same, yet blow through stop sign and red lights all the time…..don’t even get me started on the slow guy right in the middle of the lane holding up traffic!!!!!

Cyclists need to get OFF the roads, roads were made for vehicles NOT bikes. Go find a park path or something, most of us have to take public transit if we work downtown, you should all doo the same….or walk!

I think that they must’ve got the list from a cycling store to get these sorts of results. Working for a large company, it’s a fact that only a handful of them choose to cycle to work. Time to focus on the real transportation problems of the city and get rid of these mickey mouse bike initiatives, as they do not work for the large majority of commuters.
– anonymous

The perfect example of a cyclist I wouldnt feel bad about hitting.
– anonymous

Now, I’m not really shocked by these comments – any time tax dollars are threatened to be taken away from car-based infrastructure most of the population is up in arms. We are a car-based society, this I understand. But with ever increasing populations in major cities, the answer can’t be “how do we fit more cars downtown,” but rather has to be how can we encourage alternate transportation options (ie. carpooling, transit, walking and yes, cycling). I guess what shocks me is the short sightedness of most of these ‘nay-sayers.’ Having a city that supports all types of transportation effectively allows everybody wins – traffic is lighter for motorists and commuting is safer for cyclists.

Ah well, I guess if Don Cherry hates cyclists… Everybody else should too ;-)

As a utopian inspiration I leave you with one of the craziest, and most inspirational intersections I’ve ever seen – Bikes, trains, busses and cars in harmony – Bicycle rush hour in Utrecht, Netherlands: