On CBC Radio this morning, I was listening to an interesting piece about the annual Rush Hour Challenge put on by HUB Cycling to see which mode of transportation is the most time-efficient to get a commuter to downtown Vancouver. The challenge pits cyclists, car drivers and transit users against each other to see who can reach a designated downtown destination the fastest from various starting points throughout Metro Vancouver.
This news piece got me thinking about how much road space is freed up each time we shift a car driver to public transit or onto a bike. Bicycle lanes — by making much safer environments for cycling — have contributed to a significant shift to cycling as the preferred mode of transportation for many people. And this translates to savings for all of us — for example, even a 10 percent increase in physical activity nationally delivers approximately $150-million in direct healthcare savings annually.
Bike lanes not only make for safer cycling but also speed up biking commute times. Since the Rush Hour Challenge started in 2009, cyclists got downtown faster more than two-thirds of the time. For the East Van team, one of 7 teams in this year’s challenge, the transit user was the fastest for the door-to-door trip, doing it in 20 minutes. The cyclist was next, in 24 minutes. The car driver was the slowest at 30 minutes.
The other part of the challenge is seeing who had the most fun and hands down it was the people who biked. Imagine that — putting pleasure into commuting.
Don’t forget that Bike to Work / Bike to School Week is May 28 to June 4. The more folks we can get out of cars and onto bicycles the better off we all are.