Bike Lanes

If one were to ask a London taxi driver for their opinion on bike lanes, the response would usually be both clear and colourful. From a business perspective this is more complex. On a recent trip to Amsterdam, I found that the presence of multi-directional bike lanes significantly imperilled, and hence deterred, my willingness to cross the road to visit shops on that side. Many shopkeepers agree. Nevertheless, a recently published report by the University of Toronto suggests that such a view may be a mistake. The study considered the piloted introduction of a cycle land on Bloor Street, Toronto, replacing 136 on-street car parking spaces. The results? Spending on both sides of the street, together with the number of customer visits increased during the pilot period (It has since been made permanent). This marries with the findings of previous studies elsewhere. Digging beneath the headline, customers were found to have had more difficulty parking, but this did not deter them and those additional customers that arrived by bike were statistically likely to spend more than those who arrived by car. The report concludes that: (a) planners should consider ways to increase bike lanes in vibrant urban centres, and (b) that merchants typically overestimate the percentage of drivers that arrive at their shops using a car.