An article from the Ashland Daily Times recently referenced a study about bicycling. In it the study identified three types of riders.
The first one and the smallest one is the “strong and fearless riders” These are the people you see on the road every day regardless of traffic conditions or personal safety.
The next and slightly larger group is the “enthused and confident” riders. These are the fair weather riders who will take their bike out, but try to only ride on roads with bike lanes or on bike paths.
Lastly there is the biggest group of riders named “interested but concerned.” These people don’t ride. The would if given the opportunity for safety and security, but the lack of that keeps them off their bike.
It is this group that is the most important to creating a riding culture in a city. The other two groups do not need to be convinced that cycling is fun. They already do it. The third group however is much larger than the other two and if you could only tap into part of their members you could double or even triple the number of people on the road.
The study identifies two ways to encourage the third group to start bicycling:
- By providing more protection along busy traffic streets (e.g., using buffered, protected, or separated bike lanes); or
- By providing comfortable alternatives to the boulevard network, such as bicycle boulevards along low volume streets.
So what can ABC take from this? We can see what we have always known. A greater amount of quality bicycle infrastructure means that you will get more riders on the road and more riders means more bike infrastructure. It is a chicken and egg thing. Who will innovate first, riders or the government?