Thursday, March 31, 2011

Moving People from "Interested but Concerned" to "Enthused and Confident" Cyclists

Deputy Mayor Rina Cutler is written up in today's Inquirer and The Philly Post  as saying that the Nutter Administration is taking steps to encourage the "Interested but Concerned" (i.e. reluctant) bike rider to take the streets more often and in greater numbers.

Where did this term come from?  This graphic is borrowed from the City of Portland, which created it based on survey data.   The bar categorizes the public according to their attitude about cycling:
  • Strong and Fearless
  • Enthused and Confident
  • Interested but Concerned
  • No Way No How
While Philly's demographics are different than Portland's, the breakdown of people's attitudes about riding bikes in Philadelphia is probably the same.  The bar illustrates that a majority of the population is reluctant to use bikes on a regular basis.

There are many strategies (bike sharing, education, enforcement) that will help grow bicycling in Philadelphia and convince more people to shift from "Interested but Concerned" over to "Enthused and Confident."  But, one important  (and relatively low cost) strategy is to make more of the city's streets feel safer for cyclists.  One type of infrastructure that accomplish this is separated bike lanes, i.e. cycletracks.  These higher quality bike lanes are separated by paint, such as the Spruce and Pine bike lanes, or better yet, physical barriers, and are effective at drawing out those reluctant cyclists to try using their bike instead of driving.  We're psyched that Deputy Mayor Cutler and Mayor Nutter are embracing this approach and look forward to hearing more details about the soon to come north-south bike lanes.


Mickie Poe said...

I am a "fearful rider" after being sent to the hospital by a driver, and having more than one friend permanently maimed by drivers. Dedicated bike lanes with physical barriers is what this city desperately needs.

Corey said...

Actually, infrastructure is the only thing that has been demonstrated to work. Promotion is important, but only when it appeals to everyone.

Most people won't cycle to go green, get exercise, or save money. They will cycle when it's the fastest, most direct and empowering mode of transport. It's already much safer than driving, and that's something that even cyclists easily forget in our culture of fear.

I'm very excited to hear all of the positive news about these lanes, and I'm thankful that the BCGP is pushing ahead!