Study says better lanes will boost number of cyclists

 

A NEW study of 2,000 commuters, commissioned by Dublin City Council, shows that more and better cycle lanes – not shared with buses – will be needed to get people back on their bikes.

The study, by AECOM consulting engineers and the School of Engineering in Trinity College, set out to determine cycle route preferences among 2,000 cyclists and non-cyclists and will be presented to a transport conference in Cork this week.

In terms of the distance travelled to work, there was a relatively even split between respondents to the survey, with just over 30 per cent travelling 5km or less and about 23 per cent travelling 6-9km, 10-15km and more than 16km, respectively.

“Cycling numbers in Dublin are on the increase but are still a long way from the Government’s target of 10 per cent of trips to work by bike by 2020. If this target was to be achieved, the study called for investment in cycling to be prioritised.

“Improvements in infrastructure for cyclists are the most important measure in encouraging a growth in cycling”, it concluded. “This is followed by the need for increased bike parking and better facilities for cyclists such as showers and lockers at work.”

“Direct routes with short journey times are the most important variable for existing cyclists and non-cyclists in determining route choice,” the study found. Also important were the number of junctions along the route, traffic speeds and cyclist volumes.

“Cyclists with little or no experience have a greater preference for routes with a high volume of cyclists,” said the authors. But even confident cyclists were found to favour better facilities as much as those with no cycling confidence.

“There is, however, a small proportion of very confident cyclists who place high importance on short journey times and direct facilities with low cyclist volumes. For these cyclists, type of infrastructure and traffic speeds are of less relevance.”

To encourage an increase in female cyclists, the authors say there is a greater need to invest in segregated cycle lanes and introduce lower speed limits for other traffic, as well as providing cycle training and improving facilities in the workplace.

Not surprisingly, commuters who currently drive or use public transport to get to work had a “poor perception” of cycling – because of the risks involved – and the study said this demonstrated a greater need for segregation and lower traffic speeds.

“There is a strong role for cycle training to bridge the narrow, but consequential gap, between perceptions of cycling safety among existing cyclists and non-cyclists, particularly among commuters who currently travel by public transport and by car.” The study also found a “perception of conflict” where spaces are shared by cyclists and pedestrians.