More women cycling on Calgary pathways, city counts show

The cyclist and pedestrian count was released by the City of Calgary this week, showing an increase in the proportion of women and children on bikes.

Proportion of women on bikes recorded during annual survey climbs from 21 to 25%

Calgary snow biking 0:55

Someone once wrote a song about 76 trombones leading a big parade.

Maybe now, thanks to the latest count from the City of Calgary, some enterprising songwriter will pen a ditty to 76,000 pedestrians strolling the city's walkways.

That was one of the key numbers delivered by Katherine Glowacz, the City of Calgary's active transportation education planner, who spoke to the Calgary Eyeopener's Angela Knight about what the latest cycling and pedestrian data reveals about our city.

The data was collected by the city between May and September, by monitoring bicycle and pedestrian volumes and demographic data at 90 locations throughout the city, Glowacz said.

"What it allows us to do is track those trends over time," Glowacz said. "Many people in Calgary know we have automated counters that track bicycle volumes all year long, but this kind of count gives us additional information about women, children, seniors, helmet use — the demographic information about how and where people are riding."

More women cycling

The proportion of women cyclists has increased from 21 to 25 per cent since the count first took place in 2013. The proportion of children cycling on city pathways has also increased. (Erin Collins/CBC)

Among the data the latest (2016 figures) report revealed:

  • Between May and September, more than 29,000 cyclists and 76,000 pedestrians were spotted.
  • The proportion of women cyclists who were counted increased to 25 per cent, up from 21 per cent in 2013 — the first year the count took place.
  • The proportion of cyclists who were children increased to three per cent, up from two per cent in 2013.

As far as surprises go, Glowacz said the biggest one continues to be the overall high volume of usage in certain areas of the city.

"Our Bow River pathway systems, downtown cycle track locations and bridges that cross into and out of downtown," she said.

When city officials receive the 2017 data, they plan to present a five-year summary, Glowacz said.

"Because they're snapshot counts, there's some variability in terms of closures, or weather patterns," Glowacz said. "So what we're going to be doing is looking at that five-year trend to look at how demographics and volumes have been changing over that five-year period."

With files from Calgary Eyeopener