One in Seven residents commute by bicycle – not.

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I met today with Jerry Dombowsky and Mike Kittmer of the City of Kelowna. Jerry explained that the study last May had more detail than given in the study that I had highlighted in an earlier post – the Synovate study. He said that there was a breakdown of commuting to and from work and that within the downtown core (approximately the North end, to Orchard Park and a bit south of Hwy 97 into the area around the hospital) the rate of people commuting by bike from work to home in the early evening was over 8%.

I did not see that study and find it to be somewhat amazing – I just don’t see that almost one in 10 vehicles in that are are bikes (actually this should be more since some motor vehicles may have more than just a driver). Mike pointed out however that this was only in relation to commuting to and from work and that a lot of motor vehicles are in that area for other purposes (shopping, traveling through the area etc.).

Jerry admitted that the 1 in 7 figure was a mistake and that no one knows where that figure came from.

The bottom line is that within the City (not just in one small part of it), the rate of bike use is probably about 1% year around. That is my best guess based on the previously mentioned study. If we eliminate the cold months (say mid October through to the middle of March) then the rate is likely to be closer to 2% but I doubt it is higher.

Based on North American standards this is decent but it could be much higher with a little work and of course a budget to match. UBCO, with decent access, could certainly add to the number of cyclists commuting to work and school. That would be easy pickings but will take effort by the City to actually improve access.

Victoria apparently has about 5% of trips taken by bike but I don’t have a study to refer to in order to see the definitions. We all know that statistics can be made to look good based upon the method of measurement.

The bottom line – unfortunately our rate of cycling participation is not great. There is much to be done before our city earns the right to congratulate itself on a job well done.

John.

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