Wednesday, 28 October 2009

A Californian commute


Margaret from California sent me this video of her commute. I think it's telling that while she's on the roads there are no other cyclists, but as soon as she's on the pleasant path on the beach there are other cyclists. After the end of the pleasant path, there are again almost no cyclists in the video.

It's a good illustration of the ability of good quality cycling infrastructure to encourage cycling. It comes down to subjective safety. If people feel that cycling is safe, they will do it.

Margaret has a second video of another commuting route. Almost all roads, and few other cyclists:


I discussed something similar in the context of the UK last year: If you build it, they will come.

Recreational cycle paths are very nice, but really good cycle facilities which provide convenience and safety lead directly to a higher cycling rate.

The pleasant bike path in the first video is "The Strand" bicycle path.

7 comments:

Brent said...

Margaret may have pointed it out, but I'll mention it anyway. The Manhattan Beach bike path, where you see so many cyclists, is designed mostly for sightseers. It's not really suitable for most bicycle commuters, as it connects only a few beach cities. Yet, as you can see, it's busy, and on many weekends, crowded beyond capacity. It really is a testament to your main point, that bicycle paths wherever they are, lead to bicycle usage.

Rob said...

Yeah, so many Sustrans routes go from nowhere to nowhere else on an indirect route...
Eg. Wells-Glastonbury - 5 miles by road, 12 miles by cycle route, neither end being particularly useful to get to/from destination.
And don't even start on barriers...

Colibri said...

One must definitely be confident for biking on roads that sometimes looks like a 6-laner freeway...
I'd feel very lonely on the tarmac among those cars :-)

Ryan said...

In the first video, I thought the pathway was quite nice (scenery wise), however when are we in North America going to start building proper bike and pedestrian pathways?

I try and avoid multi-use pathways during "peak hours", simply because your sharing it with pedestrians who walk 5 abreast, roller bladders and dog walkers.

I believe it is in Minneapolis where they have a multi-use path, where they have a strip of grass about a metre wide that separates pedestrians and cyclists.

townmouse said...

I'm just jealous of the weather! I may have to watch it again, just for those gorgeous blue skies

David Hembrow said...

Rob: I remember when we came to see you all those years ago, riding along the Sustrans Bridgwater-Taunton canal path cycle route. So many barriers, narrow bits, the bad surface etc. Virtually impossible by bike ! When I went back I took the A38 for most of the way.

Townmouse: I've had this blog post saved up for a while, the blue skies are just the thing when you've a typical Northern European "grey sky."

Maggie said...

Brent: True the beach bike path is designed mostly for tourists, but don't forget that this bike path connects with the La Ballona bike path which takes you to the Westside. Although for both bike paths, I would not ride in the dark due to poor lighting.