The Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment releases unprecedented research findings on bicycle ridership and safety in Vancouver 

Vancouver, Tuesday, November 23, 2021 – The Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment (CAPE), Canada’s leading voice in planetary health, releases its Cycling in Vancouver: A portrait of bicycle ridership and safety in Vancouver 2010-2020 research report, produced in partnership with Eco-Counter and with the support of the City of Vancouver, Vancouver Coastal Health, and HUB Cycling. The report features unprecedented research findings which will contribute to reducing collisions involving cyclists in Vancouver. 

The report illustrates the evolution of the state of cycling in the City of Vancouver between 2010 and 2020. Cycling ridership trends were analyzed over time as well as the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on cycling and road safety for people on bikes. Research findings can be condensed into six main takeaways: 

  1. There has been a significant and consistent yearly increase in cycling participation over the past decade in Vancouver. 
  2. Winter cycling is becoming more common among Vancouver residents.  
  3. Bicycle participation grew by 6% during the pandemic despite a reduction in commuting trips. 
  4. Reported collisions involving vehicles and people on bikes have reduced by 15% and 43% in 2019 and 2020 respectively, when compared to the previous four years.
  5. Collision risk for people on bikes is highest in the late fall and early winter.
  6. The City of Vancouver has made many impactful improvements to the bicycle network over the past decade, resulting in safer intersections throughout the All Ages and Abilities (AAA) Bicycle Network. 

“As a physician who works at the intersection of health and the environment, not only do I often treat cyclists involved in collisions, but I’m also acutely aware of the climate and air-quality benefits of active transportation. CAPE’s Cycling in Vancouver report is a significant contribution toward achieving the City of Vancouver’s commitment to eliminate traffic-related fatalities and serious injuries. And at a time when the need for climate-resilient infrastructure is deeply apparent, we’re proud to have contributed to research that will increase bicycle ridership and safety in Vancouver,” explains Dr. Melissa Lem, Vancouver family physician and President-Elect of the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment.  

The report’s local partners hope to use this research throughout the region to help accurately prioritize where cycling safety improvements are most urgently needed. A portrait of bicycle ridership and safety in Vancouver will make a significant contribution toward Vancouver’s goal to have zero traffic related fatalities and serious injuries. Its estimates of daily bicycle traffic on routes accessible to bicycles throughout Vancouver offers the opportunity to understand the relative risk of collisions involving cyclists at intersections throughout the city and will allow city planners to focus cycling safety improvements in locations at high risk of collisions involving cyclists.  

“The report by the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment shows positive trends in cycling safety which support the City of Vancouver’s Vision Zero work. CAPE has found more people are choosing to cycle even in colder and wetter seasons and our protected cycling network is helping reduce collision rates. We are glad to see CAPE supporting cycling safety research in the region as we work to meet our climate emergency goals,” states Dale Bracewell, City of Vancouver Manager of Transportation Planning.  

“This research by CAPE illustrates strong and steady growth in bicycle ridership over the past decade alongside improved cycling safety; both trends are a result of a growing protected bike network. This steady, long-term growth accelerated into a bike boom in response to the pandemic.The explosion of ridership on the AAA cycling network is testament to its versatility and resilience. Bicycle corridors operate as safe commuting routes in normal times and adapted into much-needed recreational spaces during the pandemic,” adds David Beitel, Data Services Lead at Eco-Counter.  

“CAPE, through this research project, has not only identified valuable new data to support the City of Vancouver’s cycle network planning, it has developed an analysis model which should be applied to all municipalities in the Metro Vancouver region,”  Timothy Welsh, Director of Program Development at HUB Cycling.  

“Scientific research shows that safe spaces for cycling can promote physical activity, mental health and social connection in our communities. As a low-emissions mode of active transportation, cycling is good for the health of people in the region as well as our environment,” concludes Dr. Michael Schwandt, Medical Health Officer, Vancouver Coastal Health.  

To read the report, click here 

The Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment (CAPE) is a physician-directed non-profit organization working to secure human health by protecting the planet. Since its founding in 1993, CAPE’s work has achieved substantial policy victories in collaboration with many partners in the environmental and health movements. From coast to coast to coast, the organization operates throughout the country with regional committees active in most provinces and all territories. 

Vancouver Coastal Health is responsible for the delivery of $4.1 billion in community, hospital and long-term care to more than one million people in communities including Richmond, Vancouver, the North Shore, Sunshine Coast, Sea to Sky corridor, Powell River, Bella Bella and Bella Coola. VCH also provides specialized care and services for people throughout B.C., and is the province’s hub of health-care education and research. 

Eco-Counter provides turn-key solutions for cyclist and pedestrian counting and data analysis. The company offers a complete range of products and services to collect and analyze data, including high-quality counters, automatic and wireless data transmission, remote reading, a professional online data analysis software, and in-depth reports. 

HUB Cycling is a charitable organization with over 20 years of success in making cycling safe and accessible in Metro Vancouver, while cultivating the health, environmental, economic and community benefits that active transportation brings. 


Media Contacts: 

Pamela Daoust 
National Communications Director 
Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment 
514-267-2589 |

Rachel Galligan 
Communications Leader 
Vancouver Coastal Health 
236-833-5618 |

David Beitel 
Data Services Lead 
514-916-9693 |

Gavin Davidson  
Planning Lead 
HUB Cycling