My first day biking to/from work. I realize how strange this must sound, but I had forgotten how much faster biking is than walking. Particularly fast in this city. It might not be the friendliest downtown district to walk, but it’s not that bad for biking because of the overcapacity of all of the streets and lack of traffic volume.
Since it is my first day biking, I thought I would discuss how important it is to understand the four Cyclist Typologies. When discussing cycling as transportation (not recreation) we can split the general population into four categories: Strong and Fearless, Enthused and Confident, Interested but Concerned, and No Way No How. You can see the break out of those four typologies among the general population in the graph below. The reason the typologies are critical to bike infrastructure design is because different levels of infrastructure will influence whether a given typology gets out of their car and begins to use cycling as a form of transportation. The strong and fearless are undeterred by roadway conditions. The enthused and confident appreciate bicycle lanes, cycle tracks, and bicycle boulevards, but are also comfortable sharing the roadway with automotive traffic if necessary, they are predictably more attracted to riding in places with better bicycle infrastructure. The interested but concerned typology which is the largest group are curious about bicycling, liked it when they were kids, but are afraid of sharing the roadway, they rarely ride bicycles – these people would ride if they were fully separated and if cars were slower and less frequent. The No Way No How population has no interest for various reasons.
This is a reasonably accurate system of determining a potential cyclist. Looking at the profile of these typologies of cycling, and comparing it to the graphic of the spread across the general population, it becomes obvious that the only way we are going to get the majority of potential cyclists on the street and out of their cars is through serious separated bike infrastructure that goes well beyond placing a sharrow on the pavement (a shared lane arrow). I look forward to that day in Detroit, and I am working to move some of it forward with the work I am doing at DTE.
In the meantime, enjoy the full-write up, updated in 2009 from the folks in Portland who invented the four bicyclist typologies.
If I had to choose, I would say I am Enthused and Confident – while being forced into a situation without any cohesive bicycle network. Which bicycle typology are you?