Monday, 3 December 2012


I've stumbled across a Transport Canada article about urban bicycle planning. They article has interesting data on the percentage of workers who commute to work by bike in various Census Metropolitan Areas (CMAs) for 2006.  Here's some of the big metro areas and the percentage of workers who bike to the job.

Percentage of commuter bicyclists per Census Metropolitan Area (CMA)
in 2006.

Image constructed by The Analyst with data from Transport Canada.
What's noteworthy is just how small the percentage of commuter bicyclists is across all the major (and "majorish") metro areas. Ottawa's the real outlier, with 2.2% of workers getting to the job by bicycle. The Victoria CMA, if it were included on this graph, would wipe out all these CMAs, with a staggering 5.6% of workers commuting by bike. 

But what's really interesting, from this blogger's parochial perspective, is that the Winnipeg CMA has a greater percentage of bike commuters (1.6%) than the Toronto CMA (1.0%). This is especially surprising given that our icy prairie winters and lack of proper snow ploughing of bike lanes by the City should discourage commuters. Take that TO (CMA)!!

In all seriousness, though, it's probably just the 905 belt suburbanites (some falling into the TO CMA) commuting to offices by cars in Old Toronto that's depressing the count. The City of Toronto proper has 1.7% of the labour force who biked to work in 2006. Old Toronto and the "anti-Ford Nation" of Downtown Toronto would likely have a staggeringly higher percentage of bicyclists that would approach Victoria's level. For the City of Winnipeg proper, though, an impressive (relative to City of Toronto proper, not to the real hubs of commuter bicycling - Victoria/Vancouver/Ottawa) 1.8% of workers who biked to the job.

While not immense, there's still a decent (by Canadian and prairie standards) number of bicyclists in Winnipeg. There's also quite a well developed (for a city of our size) network of community bicycle shops in Winnipeg that provide a lot of uncharged, volunteer assistance to bike commuters (including repairs).

The upper-midwestern US city of Minneapolis has been rated the most "bike friendly" city in all of the US and has a solid 3.5% of the workforce commuting by bike. Perhaps it's possible to expand the number of commuter bicyclists in Winnipeg with improved, effective, well communicated, and public consultation-based municipal public policy.

In short, the type of stuff City Hall hasn't done for years.

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1 comment:

  1. Better bike infrastructure.

    There was potential with the Pembina Bike path, but since it was built in such a manner that it is not at grade throughout, it seems the only areas of decent infrastructure are painted bike lanes.