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As the temperature drops, so do the number cyclists. This year however, there are more two-wheeled commuters on the roads of Vancouver year-round.
According to The Province, the city has seen a major increase of new cyclists sticking to their bikes even in the rainy, dark winter months. The number of daily mid-week bike trips over the Burrard Street Bridge topped at 6,800 in mid-July this year. The September average is up to 4,500 from 3,800 in 2013.
“It’s really all about the rain gear,” said Erin O’Melinn, executive director of HUB, in The Province. “Cyclists find they’re drier when they get home after riding than when they walk or take the bus because they’re dressed better.”
During HUB’s Bike-to-Work-Week from October 27 to November 2, 4,300 bikers registered compared to 3,200 last year. 740 were new riders, compared to 268 in 2013.
“It’s just nice to be outside, doesn’t matter what the weather is”, “I wanted to commute in a more environmentally-friendly way” and, “I don’t want to take transit” are just a few reasons why some Vancouverites have chosen bikes as their main mode of transportation.
Interested in joining this community of winter riders? Check out Winter Riding in BC for tips on how to get started.
Using two wheels as transportation is an easy choice in the summer. Now that we’ve turned back the clock and nights are getting longer, you’re likely hesitating to hop on a bicycle.
Commuting by bike this season doesn’t have to be dangerous or unpleasant. The Vancouver Courier says keep peddling! Here are their four reasons to ride through the rain and windstorms:
“Cycling saves you money.”
A solid bike might set you a couple of hundred dollars at first, but it beats fumbling with coins and cards to regularly pay for parking, gas and transit fare.
“Cycling keeps you healthy.”
Even at a recreational pace cycling can burn 500 to 600 calories an hour. Cycling also has no impact and is easy on the joints for those who are looking for a way to get active without the pain.
The Province has committed to improving safety along the Stanley Park causeway.
The project was prompted by the tragic death of a 61-year-old cyclist last May.
Surveying is slated to begin later this month. The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure says they will spend three weeks looking at the existing infrastructure along the 2.2 km causeway. This will be followed by an environmental assessment and an archaeological review in March.
Traffic is not expected to be affected by the work.
This is welcome news for cyclists and advocacy groups in Vancouver and on the North Shore.
Erin O’Melinn is the executive director of HUB, a Vancouver-area cycling education and advocacy group.
O’Melinn says HUB receives regular reports from cyclists that they feel unsafe on the causeway. “You’re on a very narrow shared sidewalk and there’s no barrier between you and the very fast moving, loud traffic.”
HUB is hoping for two major improvements – the construction of a barrier separating sidewalk from the motorist roadway, and a wider sidewalk that comfortably accommodates cyclists and pedestrians. Since the tragic cycling accident last spring, the only safety measures taken include the repainting of a stenciled line encouraging cyclists to stay away from the edge of the sidewalk.
The Ministry of Transportation told the Vancouver Sun that members of the public will have an opportunity to provide feedback on any proposed improvements later this spring.