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April 14/14 9:59 am - Ontario Bike Summit: Province Announces Funding for Municipal Cycling Infrastructure

Posted by Editoress on 04/14/14

Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure announces $25 million in funding as part of provincial cycling strategy at morning keynote in Toronto

At the launch of the 6th Annual Ontario Bike Summit, Minister of Infrastructure and Transportation Glen Murray today announced $25 million in funding for municipal cycling infrastructure.  The investment will be made over three years and is part of Ontario’s Cycling Strategy #CycleON, which was launched in August 2013 and sets a strategic direction for cycling investments in the province.

“Today’s announcement is indicative of the impressive momentum and commitment with respect to cycling that we are seeing right across Ontario,” said Eleanor McMahon, CEO and Founder of the Share the Road Cycling Coalition. “When we released, ‘When Ontario Bikes, Ontario Benefits,’ our Green Paper making the case for provincial involvement in cycling in 2010, cycling was largely a municipal issue. Since then with stakeholders across Ontario, we have worked to engage the provincial government and create a meaningful role for the province in terms of policy, legislation and infrastructure funding. Initiatives such as  the Coroner’s Review of Cycling Deaths in 2012, the introduction of #CycleON in August 2013 followed by the most recent legislative  updates to the Highway Traffic Act in March, today’s announcement is proof that the government is putting money where it matters to make Ontario a more bicycle friendly province.”

The Share the Road Cycling Coalition, organizers of the Summit and Ontario’s cycling advocacy organization, also released its annual polling data to launch the Summit, showing that increased investment in cycling infrastructure is something that Ontarians want. Data includes timely information about adoption of cycling, why people want to cycle more, impressions of drivers and cyclists and levels of support for government action including for cycle tourism.

The poll was conducted by Strategic Communications Inc. of Toronto with a representative sample of 1007 adult Ontario residents over the period of April 3 -7, 2014 and the findings are outlined below:

Ontario is Becoming More Bicycle Friendly
•  32 per cent of Ontarians (4.3 million people) ride their bike at least monthly
•  Of those, 4 per cent of Ontarians (540,000) say they ride a bike daily or almost daily, and an additional 28 per cent report riding weekly or monthly
•  Those who ride daily are lowest in the surrounding GTA (1.5 per cent) and highest in Toronto (5.7 per cent), Eastern Ontario  (5.2 per cent) and urban centres throughout the province (5.1 per cent)
•  As of 2014, 7.3 Million Ontario residents live in a Bicycle Friendly Community, as designated by Share the Road's Bicycle Friendly Communities program

There is pent up demand for cycling in Ontario
•  A majority (54 per cent) want to ride their bike more often
•  Groups that expressed the strongest interest in cycling more included:
  -  Regular cyclists (65 per cent)
  -  Individuals aged 35-49 (65 per cent)
  -  Household income over 100k (60 per cent)
  -  Daily car drivers (56 per cent)
•  Close to half (45 per cent) favour a greater variety of transportation choices and opportunities for getting to work and school and half (50 per cent) would like more choice for shopping and errands.

Support for cycling is being driven by practical concerns
•  68 per cent agree that transportation costs are a major financial burden and that if someone’s only or best way to get to work or to go shopping is a bike, they should have the option to ride a bike and to ride it safely
•  39 per cent of respondents see the potential to lower transportation costs as a factor that would  encourage them to ride a bike more often
•  45 per cent of respondents consider it important to have a greater variety of transportation options to go to work; 50 per cent consider more transportation options important for shopping and errands

Measures that would encourage individuals to cycle more often
•  More bike lanes and trails (68 per cent) and better infrastructure (67 per cent) are key measures to encourage more frequent cycling, especially in Toronto and among people aged 18-34 years of age.

•  A majority (53 per cent) would be more likely to ride more often if there was a one meter law (62 per cent) in Toronto and (61 per cent) for those 18-34 years of age.

There is strong support for action from the provincial government on cycling
•  56 per cent believe that the provincial government should provide tax breaks to employers who build cycling facilities for their employees
•  62 per cent agree that a portion of road spending should be earmarked to meet the needs of cyclists who also use Ontario’s roads
•  68 per cent would like to see increased investment in infrastructure so more people can ride a bike more often
•  60 per cent would like to see the government invest in a new cycling education program
•  70 per cent of respondents think that walking and cycling infrastructure should be included in Ontario’s long-term plan to invest $50 billion to improve transportation
•  55 per cent agree that investment in the Pan Am Games should include more bike lanes and paths and serve as a permanent “legacy” or public benefit resulting from the games

There is strong support for bicycle tourism
•  70 per cent of respondents agree that Ontario should do more to promote cycling tourism
•  61 per cent agree that Ontario should provide more financial support to municipal and regional bike tourism initiatives
•  96 per cent of respondents indicated that if they rode a bicycle more often they would do so for recreational cycling

Share the Road Cycling Coalition press release


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