After completing a study that involved 2,000 cyclists, researchers at McGill University in Canada have suggested that riders can be divided into four main groups.
“Cycling as a means of transportation has increased in many European and American cities,” the researchers write. “From what was seen by many as a recreational or physical activity, cycling also has become a mode to commute in urban areas.”
The researchers divided up the respondents this way.
- Path-using cyclists (36% of those interviewed) who are motivated by the fun of riding, its convenience, and the identity that cycling gives them.
- Dedicated cyclists (24%) who are motivated by speed, predictability and flexibility that bike trips offer.
- Fairweather utilitarians (23%) who will ride when the weather is good but won’t when the weather is poor.
- Leisure cyclists (17%) who ride because it is fun, and not so much for commuting.
The researchers believe the findings will help guide urban planners, transportation engineers and policy makers as they redesign cities to respond to new transit demands.
The study found that cycling demographics are changing rapidly. The age of cyclists also is dropping. Based on the results, the researchers said a one-size-fits-all approach might not be the right way to encourage more cycling. Emphasizing health benefits, for instance, works best with first-time and returning cyclists, but doesn’t affect the most committed cyclists who ride for different reasons.
“Building a network adapted to the cyclist population, and emphasizing its convenience, flexibility and speed would be an effective strategy to increase cycling frequency,” the McGill researchers said.