New cycling infrastructure increases number of cyclists on Winnipeg roads, report finds
'So it's really a case where if you build it, you will get more cyclists riding,' says committee chair
A new report draws a correlation between new cyclist infrastructure in Winnipeg and the number of cyclists on the road in the city.
The 2015 Winnipeg Bicycle Counts Report was completed by volunteers of Bike Winnipeg, who have been counting cyclist traffic in the city every spring since 2007.
The executive summary of 2015's report says its purpose is to provide information about the number of commuter cyclists in Winnipeg based on direct observation.
"There is strong evidence that even the limited construction of new cycling infrastructure that has occurred since 2009 has had a positive impact on the number of cyclists in Winnipeg," the report says.
"This year's bike counts and analysis suggest that there has been substantial growth in cycling but that this growth has stalled."
Locations where cycling infrastructure had been built or improved in recent years experienced a significant rise in the number of cyclists using that infrastructure, according to the report.
Specifically, bicycle counts at those locations rose by 115 per cent.
The locations — and their surroundings, especially — ultimately determined whether cycling activity increased, however.
"What we found is that in certain locations it increased dramatically, such is on the Assiniboine Avenue bikeway, which is what they would call a protected bikeway and people feel much more comfortable going there," said Jeremy Hull, Chair of the Education Committee for Bike Winnipeg.
After taking into consideration weather, location and time of day, the report estimates that commuter cycling has increased by about 20 per cent overall in Winnipeg.
But without continued growth and development in cyclist infrastructure, cycling in Winnipeg will stall, the report says.
Hull said he has seen almost no increase in other locations.
"After the big infrastructure spending in about 2009 [to 2011], there was a substantial increase in cycling. And now that there hasn't been as much spending on new infrastructure, it sort of leveled off," said Hull.
"So it's really a case where if you build it, you will get more cyclists riding."