Wednesday, July 16, 2014

How Low-Income Commuters View Cycling - CityLab

Interesting conclusions on bike use for commuting from a recent study. Your interest and ability to commute on a bike may hinge on your race and income more than thought before. Part of the reason is geography; part of it is more aspiration for a car in lower income groups. Click title for link.
This suggests that, for low-income people, cars may have merits beyond simple cost-benefit use calculations. Automobility remains a paradoxical cultural and status symbol, such that while wealthier people increasingly reduce their car dependency, poor people still aspire to car ownership.
Cycling just isn't popular among the urban poor (yet). In 2012, respondents ranked cycling seventh out of nine transport modes, ahead of only taxis and bike sharing. Cycling barriers included poor road safety, poor or lacking infrastructure (e.g. bike lanes, racks, or storage), distance, and physical exertion. In 2013, respondents reported more than 30 barriers to cycling or walking. Physical safety (32.6 percent), distance (30 percent) and comfort/cold/sweating (25.4 percent) were the most common objections. Other barriers included the difficulty of carrying bulky items, work attire, not knowing how to ride, theft risk, poor health or disability, the slower speed, "laziness," and a lack of desire. One respondent said, simply, "I just want a car."