According to a study carried out by Bike Score in 10 Canadian cities and 16 American cities, it turns out that Vancouver is very bikeable, indeed. Not as much as Victoria, which keeps its title as the Cycle Capital of Canada, but definitely ahead from Montreal, Toronto or Calgary.
On the flip side, the news are not so bright: Vancouver and all the other Canadian cities in the study score below the 75 mark — far behind the scores on many European cities. And the percentages of ridership all across Canada would still make a Copenhagener laugh and choke a little. In short, no breaking news here: there is still lots of room for improvement.
The coolest part of the study carried out by Seattle-based Walk Score in collaboration with both Simon Fraser University and the University of British Columbia, though, is their “heat maps”: a visual, color based representation of the “bike-friendliness” of every area and neighborhood in the city.
Bike Scores are calculated for each location in a city based on 3 criteria: cycling infrastructure, topography and road connectivity and access to amenities. Those results are then mapped with color, with scores ranging from a low of 0 (deep red) and to a high of 100 (dark green). The American Bike Scores include an additional map showing the percentages of bike commuters by area, as a means to include a measurement for the social component in cycling: chances are that, if more people in your extended network bike, you will be more inclined to try it yourself.
But if Bike Score is wrong and not even peer pressure works to get more people on bikes, then I’d advocate for more sunny morning and afternoons: nothing like the first stretch of beautiful weather after a wet winter to see the daily numbers of Commuter Cup Contenders increase exponentially!
You can check all the bike score cities here. And also look for apartments based on cycling distance. And if you don’t see a Bike Score for your city, tweet away to get it included: they will be building Bike Score for the top 10 most requested cities.