Background Bicycling has been proposed as a potential intervention to reduce sedentary lifestyles, decrease air pollution, and promote active transportation. This study sought to assess the knowledge, attitudes, and behaviours towards bicycling in an urban area, explore the dominant safety concerns for bicyclists, and understand equity issues.
Methods A sequential mixed-methods design was used for this study. Data were first collected from an online survey administered from mid-February 2014 through April 1, 2014. Quantitative data guided the focus of key informant interviews with a purposive sample of policymakers and advocates, and a focus group of neighbourhood residents. A literature and document review supplemented the quantitative and qualitative data. Data analysis involved identifying key themes across all data. Findings were disseminated to City leaders.
Results The online survey was completed by 1,437 City residents (62% were regular riders). Nearly three-quarters of the respondents did not feel safe riding in the City. The leading safety concerns were motorists, lack of room to ride, uneven road surfaces, and the potential for crime. Only 37% of respondents said that the bicycling community was representative of the City in terms of gender, race, and age. Qualitative data identified youth and Latin Americans as populations who use bicycles as their primary mode of transportation. Key informants emphasised the safety risks, and acknowledged that the City suffers from inadequate infrastructure for cyclists. Respondents also highlighted significant inequities in neighbourhoods where investments in infrastructure have been made.
Conclusions People who ride regularly and those who are non-riders, but are interested in riding more, reported feeling unsafe. Efforts to improve safe cycling should enhance enforcement of traffic laws targeting motorists and bicyclists and improve bicycling infrastructure throughout the City.
- active transportation
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