In the summer heat, there is no shortage of cyclists on city streets and bike pathways.
But when the sun isn’t shining, it seems Vancouverites are fair weather riders.
Data from nine city bike counters installed in high traffic areas shows there were 169,000 fewer cycling trips in the first six months of 2016 compared to the same period last year.
The city blames Burrard Bridge construction and rain for the five per cent drop in cycling numbers. 82 rain days were recorded in the first six months of this year versus 63 in the same period in 2015 – and the extra deluge had a big impact on bike volumes.
But cycling advocates say not everyone avoids riding in the rain.
“This is one set of numbers that should be treated in isolation…cycling is up and continues to keep on growing across Vancouver,” said Ellie Lambert of HUB Cycling.
The city says it’s not concerned about the drop in bike counter trips and is moving forward with its cycling agenda.
“Ultimately, it’s the year over year trends…that we’re monitoring and those have been on the increase,” said Dale Bracewell, City of Vancouver transportation planning manager.
In a city already bursting with bike lanes, more than $8.5 million dollars was spent on walking and cycling infrastructure last year, while construction continues on more than $12 million dollars in Point Grey Road upgrades, including a bike pathway.
“There are projects that millions are being spent on that I don’t think are providing the return on investment that we should expect,” said Vancouver NPA city councillor George Affleck.
The city also recently launched its $5 million dollar Mobi bike share program with hopes to expand it by the end of the summer.
Reckless Bike Stores’ owner Paul Dragan, who’s weathering a decrease in business due to the rain, is confident the city’s investment in cycling will eventually pay off,
“It’s not’put it down and it’s successful right away,” he said.
“It’s ‘put it down and we’re going to see results in three, five, ten years down the road.'”