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Most Ontarians want more bicycle lanes, survey shows

The Toronto Star: Most Ontarians want more bicycle lanes, survey shows

Nearly three-quarters think cycling infrastructure should be included in Metrolinx's $30 billion Big Move plan.

By: Madhavi Acharya-Tom Yew Personal Finance writer, Published on Mon May 27 2013

Seventy per cent of Ontarians believe that cyclists need more bicycle lanes or paved shoulders, according to a survey slated to be released Monday.

The annual poll commissioned by Share the Road Cycling Coalition also found that a majority of Torontonians — 71 per cent — would like to see funding for active transportation included in Metrolinx’s $30 billion Big Move.

“It is critical that bicycling and walking are not forgotten in The Big Move, given the important role they play in the daily lives of citizens in Toronto and the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area,” Eleanor McMahon, founder and chief executive officer of the Share the Road Cycling Coalition, said in a news release.

“Ontarians want livable, safe communities and as a result, support for this kind of investment is clear.”

Over 600,000 Ontarians are cycling daily, including 182,000 in Toronto, according to the release.

The cost for the 4,500 kilometres of new walking and cycling infrastructure proposed in the Metrolinx Big Move is the same as building 18 kilometres of new road, Nancy Smith Lea, director of the Toronto Centre for Active Transportation noted.

“We have a very serious, yet solvable, transportation problem in the Toronto region,” she said in the release. “Walking and cycling are important transportation options in their own right and play a critical role in getting people to and from public transit.”

When it comes to bicycling in Toronto, the poll also found that:

  • 69 per cent of those surveyed agree that investment in the Pan Am Games should include bike lanes and paths that would be used by visitors and athletes and remain as a legacy of the games.
  • 85 per cent would support an investment by the provincial government to promote walking and cycling to school.
  • 68 per cent, more than two-thirds, want the City of Toronto to make a financial contribution so that BIXI remains a sustainable part of the city’s transportation network.

The poll found that 5.1 per cent of Ontarians ride a bike daily or almost daily. That’s up from 4 per cent in 2012.

Nearly one-third, 31.2 per cent, say they ride weekly or monthly. That’s up from 28 per cent last year.

A majority of Torontonians, 69, per cent, would prefer to cycle more often, the poll found.

The Share the Road Cycling Coalition is a provincial cycling advocacy group. Its latest poll was conducted from May 14 to 17 by Strategic Communications Inc. using a representative sample of 1,523 adults who live in Ontario.

The findings come on the eve of Share the Road’s 5th Ontario Bike Summit, an annual gathering of politicians and policy makers from across North America.