Credit: Pixabay/CC0 Public Domain The limitations of Statistics Canada’s cycling data are having a real-world impact on women and marginalized people participating in cycling, a new study finds. The study, "What Gets Counted Counts: Equity as a Lens to Rethink the Categorization of Cycling Trips," appears in the journal of Leisure Sciences .
The long-form census bike-to-work data is currently the primary evidence transportation engineers and planners use to make a case for spending on cycling infrastructure. But a study by researchers from the University of Waterloo found that the census ignores recreational cycling and the trips of older adults, women, service workers, and people who are unstably housed or live with a disability.
As a result, the value of cycling in our society is grossly underestimated. In addition, areas and groups lacking resources remain dismissed as a mere data collection gap and have limited access to cycling overall.
"Less than 5% of the population is biking to work, but it’s estimated that almost a quarter of the Canadian population is engaging in the activity," said Rebecca Mayers, postdoctoral candidate in the School of Planning. "If all cycling trips were taken seriously, including those that do not end at work, fall outside of regular business hours, take place through alleys or recreational trails instead of streets, decision-makers would have more information to inform and justify cycling plans."
The researchers indicate that precedent for broadening data collection has been set. In the Netherlands, where the cycling culture is strong and the infrastructure is well […]