Les infrastructures cyclables, luxe ou nécessité?

French version here.

Cycling Infrastructure: The Case of  The Netherlands

The Netherlands is renowned for having high bicycle use. The Dutch government spends an astonishing €510 million (€30 per capita) per year on developing bike infrastructure. Looking at the staggering data, one might ask, why so much investment in bicycle infrastructure? And why are 17 million Dutch people obsessed with cycling as a means of transportation?

To the outside world, it might look absurd, but to the Dutch people, it’s a way of living a happy and healthy life. The health benefits are immense. In a study, it was found that cycling alone prevents 6,500 deaths in the nation and increases life expectancy as well. But it is not just about health. The economic side of it also indicates it to be a beneficial trade. The health benefits amount to more than 3% of the overall gross domestic product of the Netherlands. As a result, investing more in bike infrastructure provides a high cost-benefit ratio for the country’s 17 million plus citizens.

Canada’s Investment In Cycling

In Canada, too, people understand the benefits of cycling, and the cycling community is growing day by day. In 2020, in Montreal alone, 1.1 million people rode bicycles, while Quebec had 4.5 million bicycle users. However, the spending on cycling infrastructure is not enough to meet the needs of the growing community. Between 2006 and 2017, nearly 890 people died while riding bicycles. The reasons vary, but the lack of a safe and secure bicycle infrastructure is a major contributor to the tragedy.

The Netherlands has continuous, wide, and well-maintained cycling paths, making it easier for the rider to navigate across the city and country. The paths are generally 4 meters wide, providing ample risk-free space to ride. The good cycling infrastructure translates into more and more people adopting it as a regular means of transport. In 2019, an estimated 22.9 million bicycles were in the Netherlands, of which 2.4 were electric ebikes. Every year, approximately one million bicycles are sold. If we look at the total population, which is 17 million, then it is evident how much the Dutch people love cycling, owning 1.3 bicycles per capita, which happens to be more than any country in the world. The wide cycling community wants cycling to be taken seriously in the country, so safe, secure, and smooth routes can be set up for people to ride bicycles.

Bike Lanes In Canada Are In Growing Demand

In Canada, the growing demand for good paths for cycling routes has been increasing. Last year, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities Catherine McKenna and Parliamentary Secretary Andy Fillmore announced a funding commitment of $400 million over five years to help build and spread networks of paths, bike lanes, trails, and walker bridges. On average, $80 million dollars will be spent each year, which, in comparison, falls short. With a large population and urban areas, Canada requires more infrastructure spending. In the long run, investing more in cycling infrastructure makes perfect sense as the world moves toward more sustainable modes of transportation. Here are the main benefits…

Health: With accessible cycling routes, more people will adopt cycling, resulting in better health and a reduced problem of obesity. Approximately 26.8 percent of Canadians were classified as obese, with another 36 percent classified as overweight. Exposing them to health risks due to excess weight. Cycling can also reduce mental stress and depression. In short, it can improve the overall health of an individual.

Economic: An active lifestyle leads to less spending on healthcare needs, allowing individuals and governments to save vast sums of money in the long run. Bicycling requires less parking space, so there is no need to maintain huge and costly parking facilities.

Less fatal accidents: When compared with motor vehicle accidents, bicycle accidents are less likely to cause severe injury, adding to the average life expectancy of the country.

Environmental: Motor transport vehicles cause air pollution, leading to global warming. Gradually, if more and more people adopt cycling as a mode of travel, then the growing air pollution problem can be controlled. The transportation sector currently accounts for 27% of greenhouse gas emissions in Canada. More bicycles also mean less noise pollution.

Affordable transportation: Travelling on your ebike or bicycle is less expensive than driving a car or a motorcycle. While cars demand frequent repairs, ebikes/bicycles can be easily maintained and stored.

Better community building: Cycling is more than just a means of travelling; it is a fun activity which allows people to connect and share their experiences with each other. As a hobby, it is something on which people can connect and develop better community values.

Less congestion on the road: Cycling is an effective tool for reducing the increasing load of traffic. Frequent traffic jams can be avoided if more people use bicycles to cover short distances in the city.

In Summary, Luxury Or Necessity?

Unlike the perception of many people, cycling infrastructure is not a luxury but a necessity. In short, it is wiser to use your car on a rainy day and use bicycles/ebikes as much as you can to avail all the benefits mentioned above. As a community, we can start demanding cycling infrastructure on local levels and start using bicycles more. Today, there are a plethora of options, from conventional bicycles to ebikes, that can meet your specific needs.

We at Quantum are also working towards a better, healthier, and cleaner world with our wide range of ebikes, customised as per the needs of the user.

Choose the path of sustainability.

Vélo aux États-Unis

French version here.

On April 19, the League of American Bicyclists releases its 2022 report ranking the 50 U.S. states by their efforts toward bicycle transportation. This annual ranking has existed since 2008 for one or more important reasons. Find out why.

Bicycle injuries and fatalities cost the United States $23 billion a year

According to a report by the US Department of Transportation, cyclists represent more than 2% of people who die in an accident involving a motor vehicle… while they represent only 1% of trips in the country. Only this statistic, which explicitly illustrates the bicycle problem in the United States, is enough to motivate the key transport actors to find solutions.

Digging deeper, these actors conclude and highlight the tremendous role that individual state leadership plays in making the nation’s roads safer for cyclists. Indeed, while states only own 19% of roads in the United States, 38% of bicyclist deaths occur on those roads. This issue, which has become publicized, thus gives rise to the ranking of the 50 American states on bicycle transport.

How to rank states on bicycle transportation?

Evaluating and comparing territories on their involvement in the bicycle problem in the United States is something that is quickly said but not immediately done. After careful consideration, the league identifies five factors that will be used to rank states against each other.

Criteria include a Complete Streets policy, a safe passing law, a statewide bike plan, a 2% or more of federal transportation funds spending on biking and walking, and a bicycle safety emphasis area.

So who are the best… and the worst?

Among the fifty positions, the state of Massachusetts finds itself in first place, followed by Oregon and Washington. These positions have been earned in part through their bike safety education campaigns as well as their bike plans. At the bottom of the ranking, we find Nebraska and Wyoming in 49th and last position, due to a lack of public funding and infrastructure in place.

Elsewhere on the scale, California ranks 4th, Florida 8th and New York 13th. Hawaii, meanwhile, ranks 27th on the ranking with an average score, while Alaska finds itself in 41st place due to a lack of legislation and incomplete policies.

What does the future of bicycle transportation in the United States hold?

It goes without saying that American states are now motivated to invest more and more in making bicycle transportation safer and more accessible. For context, only 13 states adequately met four or five ranking factors in 2015. Now that number has nearly doubled to 24 states in total.

On the other hand, technological advances and the development of transport encourage the use of bicycles and reduce the risk of accidents. Outside the United States, for example, the Quantum eBikes company located in Quebec contributes to the safety of Canadian cyclists by introducing them to the electric bike, which has been shown to be safer than the traditional bicycle.

To learn more, visit the 2022 U.S. State Bike Transportation Rankings here.