New bike lanes have a positive impact on cycling traffic

·1-min read
European cyclists are taking full advantage of new infrastructure.

According to a study conducted by German researchers, cycling traffic has increased by up to 48% in European cities which have invested in pop-up bike lanes since the beginning of the covid-19 crisis.

Since the beginning of 2020, several countries have established policies to create bike paths that promote clean, pedal-powered mobility. A majority of large cities in Europe now have growing networks that enable cyclists to get around safely without driving or using public transport.

Researchers from the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC) and the University of Berlin, who analyzed a multitude of data from more than 100 European cities, observed an increase in cycling traffic, which was up by 11% to 48% between the beginning and the end of 2020. Variation in this rate of increase in different cities can be explained by several factors including the number and location of bike counters, the quality of public transport networks, population density and more simply weather conditions.

The researchers also noted that over a period of just four months, between March and July of 2020, cities in the study added an average of no less than 11.5 km of temporary bike lanes to their existing networks. This rapid growth was made possible by the relatively low cost of pop-up bike paths, which was, for example, as little as 9,500 euros per kilometer in the city of Berlin.

The study, which has been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences ( PNAS ), drew on data from 736 counters that recorded passing bicycles in 106 European cities.

David Bénard