Part of the critical mass needed for safer cycling?

Seeking critical mass for safer cycling – The Globe and Mail.

I’m back.  I’ve been gone for a long while.  I just didn’t feel like blogging, but September is as good as time as any to renew things or to start something new.  I’ll start off with this quick link from the Globe and Mail.  I’ve typically avoided the national papers for news, but I have found myself turning to the Globe and Mail for more items.  It’s also probably due to an up tick in my own interest in investing.  We’ll see how that goes in the long run.

Enough of me.  Critical mass is not a new idea.  It’s been around for many years.  In Vancouver, we’re fairly familiar with the Critical Mass Bike Ride that takes over busy streets (much to the chagrin of pedestrians, bus riders, and drivers).  And just for clarity, I do not support the Critical Mass Bike Ride that throws a wrench in my bus ride.  The article throws out a percentage as to what a critical mass for cycling safety would be.

Once there is a critical mass of bicycles, drivers become more aware of cyclists as road users and change their driving habits accordingly, explains Prof. Lovegrove.

Although almost 50 per cent of Vancouverites live within five kilometres of their work, only 4 per cent of commuting trips in Vancouver are made by bicycle. Prof. Lovegrove estimates that for critical mass, 25 per cent should be riding their bikes to work.

Now is that 25 percent of Vancouverites total or is it 25 percent of the 50 percent of Vancouverites that live within five kms of work?  It makes me wonder what the absolute numbers would be for the City of Vancouver.

I personally live over 10 kilometres from work.  I have definitely done the ride a few times a year.  It’s not an easy one given the many hills and the one big hill that I have to contend with on the way home.  It eats up a lot of time.  If I did live within 5 kilometres of work, I’d gladly ride my bike to work everyday.

For me, I am not eager to spend 2 hours of my day everyday riding my bike.  My workday is already 8-ish in the morning to 6-ish in the evening.  That means I am away from home from 7-ish to 7-ish.  That’s a 12-hour span that does grate me the wrong way.  Don’t forget to add in all the prep time of getting my gear together, getting my change of clothes together, taking a shower at work, taking a shower when I get home.  At the end of it all, I’d only have possibly one hour of “me time” after dinner and cleaning up.  Don’t forget trying to update this blog.

As much as I’d like to be a daily contributor to this critical mass idea.  It takes up a huge amount of my day.  Between work, eating, and sleeping, I already don’t have much personal time.  Cycling on a regular basis is not practical for me.  I don’t mind it once in a while, but the daily grind would wear me out (and my knees).

However, for those who do live within 5 kilometres of work, it would be great to try biking to work.  I know a lot of folks who do and a lot of folks who don’t.  To each their own.  We all have busy lives which require different forms of transport through the course of the week.  I know I do enjoy the ride when I get the chance.  If I lived within a half hour ride of work, I might consider doing it on a daily basis.  For now, I have to opt out of the daily grind and stick to the my passive transport on transit.

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