Bike paths for everyone—except children

April 16, 2018, Institut national de la recherche scientifique
Credit: Institut national de la recherche scientifique

While the network of bike paths spanning greater Montreal, Longueuil, and Laval more than doubled in size between 1991 and 2016, accessibility has not improved for children, according to a study by INRS researchers published in the Journal of Transport Geography.

Why? According to the researchers, cycling network growth has been mainly in the central neighbourhoods of Montreal and areas of Longueuil and Laval with lower concentrations of . Other factors identified by researchers include an aging population and the fact that children under 14 "rarely have input into city planning."

The study concludes with the warning that "is all the more important to target children, as we also know that child cyclists have greater chances to understand the benefits associated with bicycling once adult." These benefits include positive health impacts and reduced congestion and air and noise pollution.

Other highlights

The team of student researcher Maxime Houde (principal author) and INRS professors Philippe Apparicio and Anne-Marie Séguin studied archival maps, census data, and spatial analysis methods. Unlike studies conducted in other parts of the world, researchers found that low-income people enjoyed better accessibility to the bike path network than other groups. But this accessibility was better 25 years ago than it is today, despite network growth. The study found that network expansion has benefited other population groups such as seniors and recent immigrants.

The research team also identified a number of urban areas that are underserved in terms of cycling infrastructure. The study also highlights the inadequacy of connections between different sections of the bike path network, which are necessary to ensure smooth and safe movement throughout a that has become denser primarily in gentrified neighbourhoods.

Explore further: The link between urban design and childhood obesity

More information: Maxime Houde et al, A ride for whom: Has cycling network expansion reduced inequities in accessibility in Montreal, Canada?, Journal of Transport Geography (2018). DOI: 10.1016/j.jtrangeo.2018.02.005

Related Stories

The link between urban design and childhood obesity

March 29, 2018

Children who live in more walkable neighbourhoods have a smaller waist measurement and a lower BMI (body mass index). Those are the findings of a Montreal research team led by INRS professor Tracie A. Barnett. According to ...

Free wheelin' in New York: the Big Apple bike boom

November 21, 2017

Expanding bike lanes, handing out free helmets and making lessons free: New York is making great strides in encouraging pedal power at the expense of exhaust fumes, even if some cyclists are still nervous about navigating ...

Recommended for you

Archaeologists discover Cornish barrow site

April 20, 2018

An Archaeologist at The Australian National University (ANU) has discovered a prehistoric Bronze-Age barrow, or burial mound, on a hill in Cornwall and is about to start excavating the untouched site which overlooks the English ...

New ancestor of modern sea turtles found in Alabama

April 18, 2018

A sea turtle discovered in Alabama is a new species from the Late Cretaceous epoch, according to a study published April 18, 2018 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Drew Gentry from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, ...

New study improves 'crowd wisdom' estimates

April 18, 2018

In 1907, a statistician named Francis Galton recorded the entries from a weight-judging competition as people guessed the weight of an ox. Galton analyzed hundreds of estimates and found that while individual guesses varied ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.