HUB Cycling and TransLink together released State of Cycling, a benchmarking report on the cycling infrastructure within and connecting Metro Vancouver municipalities in 2019.
The report was the end result of many hours of work, and the assistance of local HUB committees, including our Maple Ridge/Pitt Meadows committee.
This report helps local and regional governments understand the links between the extent, connectivity and quality of infrastructure that’s available to people cycling in different parts of the region, and cycling participation and safety. The plan is to update the study every few years, so that we will be able to measure progress.
Some interesting findings of the study (region-wide) are:
- The percentage of the network that’s Comfortable for Most was 46% in 2019.
- 65% of the population lived within 400m of a route that’s Comfortable for Most in 2019.
- Commuting trips made by bike went up from 1.7% in 1996 to 2.3% in 2016.
- % of bicycle commuters that are female went up from 27% in 1996 to 35% in 2016.
- Collisions per million bike trips went up from 21 in 2008 to 23 in 2017.
Of course our committee is interested in how our municipality compares with the rest of Metro Vancouver.
Here is a table showing a comparison between municipalities in the north-east sector of Metro Vancouver, including the averages for Metro Vancouver:
It’s not surprising that the percentage of the network that’s Comfortable for Most in Pitt Meadows is quite high, since there is an extensive dike trail network. The percentage for Maple Ridge’s network is below average.
When it comes to the percentage of the population that lives within 400 m of a route that’s Comfortable for Most, Maple Ridge definitely has some catching up to do to reach the average. Pitt Meadows is doing better, but also below average.
With regard to the percentage of commuters who bike, the difference between our two municipalities is small, but both perform significantly below average. In both municipalities, in 2016 cycling participation was actually approximately half of what it was in 1996:
The share of trips by females is always of interest, since women are considered the proverbial canary in the coal mine. Since women tend to be more risk averse, you’ll see fewer women out on their bikes if they feel it’s not safe to ride. Both Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows are somewhat below average.
Looking at the safety stats, you can clearly see that there is a link between the quality and extent of the infrastructure and the collision rates and cycling participation.
With ever increasing development in east and north Maple Ridge, our roads are becoming increasingly congested. The urgent need to take action to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions to reduce the effects of climate change is a very important reason why our municipalities need to do better and provide viable, safe and convenient alternatives to the car.
A great solution for the longer distances in our communities and some of the hills in Maple Ridge is the e-bike, which, strangely, seems to be overlooked by some of our policy makers and planners. There is huge potential. But again, we’ll need safe and connected infrastructure for people to start using them en masse.
Better cycling benefits cities in so many ways. Better streets that work for people of all ages and abilities will lead to more livable, more vibrant, and more sustainable communities and a healthier and happier population.
Hopefully the State of Cycling report will help push our cities to step it up!