Will Ontarians vote with their bikes?
New polling data shows support for cycling infrastructure investments
As Share the Road rolled up it's annual Ontario Bike Summit on April 18 this year, it released results of a new poll conducted by Nanos Research.
The report shows upwards of four in ten Ontarians – enough to elect a majority government – are likely to vote for provincial candidates if they make public commitments to fund cycling infrastructure.
Andrea Horwath, leader of the Ontario NDP and urban transit critic, says the poll results are not to be ignored. "Ontarians will definitely vote with their bikes! The NDP introduced Ontario's first Cycling Strategy over two decades ago, and New Democrats remain fully committed to cycling as a convenient, healthy and sustainable mobility option," says the MPP for Hamilton Centre, a city where urban cycling is fast growing as a form of transportation.
"We will update the Cycling Strategy to set clear targets for increasing the percentage of trips by bike, backed up with funding for active transportation infrastructure that is safe and accessible for people of all ages and abilities. We will work to ensure all municipalities have active transportation plans by 2021. And we will pass a Vulnerable Road Users' law to improve road safety and reduce the number of cycling and pedestrian fatalities to zero."
The idea that the Government of Ontario should invest in a new cycling education program – much like swimming lessons – was strongly agreed or somewhat agreed with by 61 per cent of poll respondents. The poll also found that 41 per cent would prefer to ride a bicycle more often than they already do. Cycling to or from work was cited by 32 per cent as something they would like to do more of.
The poll also indicates that 6 per cent of respondents – representing more than 650,000 people – cycle “every day or almost every day.” That is up from 4 per cent in 2014.
Jamie Stuckless, executive director of Share the Road says, “We are telling all political parties that our goal of new and improved cycling infrastructure will be a game changer in this spring’s election.”
The April 2018 Nanos Research study found the following:
- 42 per cent of Ontarians strongly agree or somewhat agree they are more likely to vote for a candidate who makes a public commitment to fund new cycling infrastructure,
- 67 per cent strongly agree or somewhat agree that the provincial government should invest in cycling infrastructure;
- 70 per cent strongly support or somewhat support making it more convenient to take their bikes on buses; and,
- Nine out of 10 do not believe municipalities do a “very good” job at investing in adequate infrastructure for cycling.
“Ontarians clearly see the need for more cycling safety efforts,” says Stuckless.
The full report can be found here:
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