Support for Better Biking is Strong

When will the installation of better bike lanes catch up to the strong public support for better biking?

While every inch of new bicycle infrastructure seems to stir unwarranted controversy, polls across North America have shown that support for the expansion of better bike lanes is strong.

In San Francisco, CA, a recent poll revealed that three-fourths of voters believe bicycling is good for the city with more than two-thirds of voters supporting the City adding physically separated bikeways to improve safety and traffic flow and to create clearly delineated space for road users. “These poll results confirm what we are hearing in every corner of the city: more people want to bike, more often,” said Leah Shahum, Executive Director of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition.

In Washington, DC, a poll by The Washington Post found that 66 percent of responders support the city’s efforts to increase bicycle lanes on major roads, more than twice the number who oppose.

A New York Times poll found that 64 percent supported the Mayor’s installation of 250 miles (400 km) of bicycle lanes and 73 percent supported the recently launched bike-share program. In another poll of Citi Bike members, Transportation Alternatives found that 84 percent of Citi Bike riders feel safest when riding in a physically separated bike lane.

A poll earlier this year in Ontario, Canada, found that 70 percent believed that people on bikes need more bicycle lanes and that 85 percent support increased government spending to promote walking and bicycling to school.

And in Vancouver, BC, a poll revealed that 61 percent of Metro Vancouver residents support the city’s network of protected bike lanes.

Support is also strong among executives looking to attract top talent to their organizations. Tami Door, president of the Downtown Denver Partnership told the Denver Business Journal, “The number one thing they want is bike lanes. Ten years ago we never would have thought that walkability or bike lanes would be economic development tools.” Door continued, “It’s great that we have the B-Cycle bikes and everyone can use them, but we would like to make bikes an integrated part of downtown. We want more people biking in the normal course of the day, not just because it’s a novelty, but that’s how they commute.”

While public support and a push from the private sector are proving that there are more people in favor of better bicycle infrastructure than there are opposed, on the ground, the installation of protected bike lanes and connected bicycle networks still remains very slow.

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