In your daily bike news, reinforcing what is already glaringly obvious to those of us Ladies (and Lady-lovers) who commute: if you build it, they will ride.
A study out of Sydney shows that when you build more separated bike lanes, more people commute by bike. In their study: ridership jumped by a ridiculously-awesome 82%!
Basically, the more of your trip that takes place on a separated bike lane, the more likely you are to take that trip by bike.
From the article on TreeHugger.com:
Sydney also introduced a raft of other measures, including “decreased speed limits and extensive junction redesigns which give cyclists priority and improve visibility.” There are also safe cycling courses, bike maps, and free bike bells. The result? Less accidents all around—and here’s the kicker: “All these measures have combined to produce rapid growth in cycling over two years, with numbers up by an average of 82% across all areas of the city.
Policy makers who contend that it is “wasteful” to build world-class bike infrastructure usually contend that most commuters are in cars, so spending money on us lowly-minority-bike-riding-Ladies is less of a priority when allocating city resources.
I call bullshit. You, sir/madam, are misguided in your reasoning. All commuters are active commuters; they just need the right incentives (like routes that are fast, easily connected, well marked, and safely distanced from cars, behemoth SUVs, and trucks).
If you want to decrease congestion, decrease pollution, decrease medical costs, decrease road repair costs/spend city resources wisely (bike infrastructure costs far less to maintain than steel-dinosaur infrastructure), and see more lovely Ladies smiling in dresses atop two wheels, you have to get more of the community on bikes for more than spandex-laden weekend riding.
How do you do that? As this study confirms: preemptive strike. You build safe, separate, easily-connected bikeways and you increase the percentage of the population on bikes. Period. Fin.
Policy makers: us Lady (and Lady-loving) riders will hold you to these facts. So take note and start enacting wiser, active-commuter friendly policies. Thank you!