Builders of bike lanes, take note

Cyclists are, of course, uniformly very health-conscious individuals who will do anything active because well, it sure beats being non-active, unlike, of course, people like me who mostly prefer to drive because we are not particularly enamoured with cycling (too much car traffic to contend with, too many hills, too much ugly gear if you really want to be part of the community).

So if you believe that cyclists are always willing to, well, cycle, here’s something to ponder.

According to a report in EurekaAlert based on a study called “Bike-Share Systems: Accessibility and Availability,” which was published a while ago in the journal, Management Science, “Even a relatively short walk to find the nearest bicycle is enough to deter many potential users of bike sharing systems”.

According to one of the authors, Karan Girotra, “If a docking station is more than two or three blocks away, they (My note: “they” being people who claim they want to bike) just won’t go there”, and Girotra added, ” . . . if they encounter a station without bikes, it’s very unlikely they will go to the next station.”

Now this report was based on a modelling system, not on actual measurement of people’s habits, and I am always hesitant to take the results of model-based studies at face value.

That said, I like this one because I tend to believe it: We are all much less likely to do real work (if there’s an alternative handy, and yes, even if that alternative is not as green as a bike) than we are to tell people how much work we would really love to do.

Builders of bike lanes, take note.