Update: When this post was published, May 2, 2018 was the final datapoint. Since, more datapoints have been added, smashing the previous Canada Day record
Last year after the bike grid opened - only partially - we saw a 92% increase in cyclists (measured on June 30)
Many Reddit users bemoaned that the city allegedly cherry-picked the days to measure, and that Canada Day inflated the usage.
Granted, Canada Day was last year's peak (though the number taken was the day before, June 30th). But, as we're going to explore in this post, grid usage is doing phenomenally overall and is only increasing. This year's Canada Day peak is going to blow off the roof.
And it's not all just about Canada Day. The "before" measurement we've used historically: a sunny wednesday on May 31, 2017 can be pretty easily compared with May 2, 2018, a sunny Wednesday in May. Usage on the latter was measured at 4,449 an 81% increase.
The bike grid experienced its partial opening (essentially just 100ave with feeders on 103 and 107 streets) on June 16, 2017.
With that in mind, let's see how usage stacks up over the past year.
The red area contains the two data points before the June 16th partial opening date.
The opened period can be divided into two general components: summer and winter. We don't have spring in Edmonton.
The median winter cyclist count was 1009, as compared to the median summer count of 3235. Many advocates set a "target" winter-cycling rate of one-quarter the summer numbers. That is what I would have considered a "success". This past year, we've exceeded those expectations according to this data.
On an interesting note, there's a sharp drop to 1,054 cyclists on August 7th, that had recovered the very next day to 3,479 cyclists. August 7th is a particularly interesting phenomenon to note because it was the last day of Heritage Days. We all know how jam-packed Heritage Days can get, so cyclists are not staying home but rather this again shows the mass movement of our city to Hawrelak Park every year.
September 20th is another piece of anomaly data. From the 19th to the 21st Edmonton got 30.4mm of rain, in addition to the weather falling down to around 3 degrees. I personally prefer biking in a blizzard to biking the chilly rain, so I'm comfortable with that as an explanation. Weather is the weather though, and rain is part of summer so of course these low data points are included in the median calculation.
Overall in the past year we've seen a 72% increase in the median number of downtown summer cyclists
Ten. Ten people on bikes waiting for the light. Ah-ha-ha #thecount #yegbike pic.twitter.com/xujJexroij— Daniel Vriend (@dharmanv) April 26, 2018
Every cyclist on the downtown bike grid is one less potential car driver being traffic.
It's one more person that's statistically more likely to stop, mingle, and make purchases at local businesses on their route. It's one more person commuting on infrastructure that costs society much less than a personal vehicle. It's one more person lowering their risk of diabetes, obesity and strokes saving us all health care costs.
It's one more person that will probably write a pretentious post extolling the virtues of a minimum cycling grid and its advantages and post it on reddit.
Hi, I'm Troy.