Whose Lane is it Anyway? The Negligence Towards Cyclists within in a Mid-sized City
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Urban cycling has been gaining momentum for decades, yet the need to upgrade infrastructure to accommodate cycling has never been greater. Urban development in North America continues to privilege car usage, despite growing threats of climate change and resource depletion. To better adapt to these challenges, cities are responding by encouraging alternate modes of transportation through bike-friendly design and planning which reduces an individual’s carbon footprint. Nevertheless, the politics of approving such initiatives remain contentious, even though evidence reveals bikeable cities are beneficial in a variety of ways. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to expose how seemingly bike-friendly policies serves to disadvantage urban cyclists and further privilege car culture. Concentrating on cyclists’ experiences in the Region of Waterloo, this study engaged with local cyclists directly to understand how regional initiatives and policies aimed at improving cycling left cyclists feeling devalued and under-resourced. Informed by a critical urban lens, this qualitative study collected 16 participants stories through semi-structured interviews to address the following research questions: How do cyclists experience so-called bike-friendly policies and infrastructure in the Region of Waterloo?; how do cyclists’ lived experiences reflect their right to the city?; and (3) how do bike-friendly policies and infrastructure privilege car culture? Five themes were identified from the data collected and consist of: (1) identification as a cyclist; (2) rationale for riding; (3) riding in a car-centric city; (4) lived experience with so called “bicycle-friendly” infrastructure and (5) the representation of politics of Waterloo cycling. The discussion of findings prompted five themes to help better synthesize cyclists’ experiences: Identity, tangibilize the intangible, build it well and they will come, (4) keeping up with the culture shift, and changing minds to changing modes. This research brings to light narratives from cyclists lives that provoke further research on the topic of cycling to broadening our understanding and how to influence positive change through practice.
Cite this version of the work
Rebecca Mayers (2017). Whose Lane is it Anyway? The Negligence Towards Cyclists within in a Mid-sized City. UWSpace. http://hdl.handle.net/10012/11873