British Columbia

Key Vancouver bike routes break ridership highs

The Burrard Bridge, Point Grey Road and Union Street all saw an all-time highest number of cyclists in July.

Burrard Bridge, Point Grey Road and Union Street see all-time highest number of cyclists

A record number of cyclists are using some of Vancouver's key bike lanes, according to the latest statistics from the city. ( Jacy Schindel/CBC)

The City of Vancouver is boasting that cycling numbers have continued to grow, with July breaking records on five major bike routes across the city.

Mayor Gregor Robertson says the city has made big improvements to its network of bike lanes and other cycling infrastructure and it's great to see more people are choosing to bike than ever before.

Robertson says the numbers are proof that if cities provide safe and comfortable cycling options for all ages and abilities, people will choose biking as an affordable, sustainable and active way to get around.

The city says its Mobi bike share service has also seen a record number of rides this summer, including more than 110,000 rides in July.

According to the numbers posted on the city's website, cyclists took about 216,000 trips on the Burrard Bridge bike lane in July — the highest monthly number since ridership was first recorded in August 2009. 

By comparison, cyclists only took 162,000 trips across the bridge in July 2010 — a third less than this year's numbers.

On Point Grey Road, there were about 111,000 trips in July, compared to 102,000 at its last peak in July 2015.

And at the intersection of Union and Hawks streets there were about 127,000 trips this July — also the highest numbers since they were first recorded in 2013, when 101,000 trips were taken in July. 

Other bike lanes like Hornby Street and the Dunsmuir Viaduct didn't break records but reached some of the highest trip numbers since they were built. 

Vision Vancouver candidate Tanya Paz, who is currently the chair of the city's Active Transportation Policy Council, said she was encouraged by the numbers. 

"It's astounding, it's exciting, it's fantastic," Paz said. "It just shows that if you build it, they will come."

Paz said some of the biggest factors that determine ridership are weather, infrastructure like bike lanes, lower speed limits and bike sharing. 

Building protected bike lanes is key to attracting more riders like children and women, she said, because they tend to take fewer risks than men on the road.

"If you see a lot of women cycling then you know you're doing something right," Paz said. 

There's still room for improvement, Paz said. The city needs more bike routes to connect existing ones and take cyclists not just to work but also to destinations like community centres and shopping districts. 

Paz admits there is still a small group of people who don't like the bike lanes, but she said studies show that the vast majority of Canadians would like to cycle more. 

With files from CBC News