Takeaways from Our Bike Travel Advocacy Survey

November 15, 2017

Lack of bicycle infrastructure was identified as a major concern in the survey. In Montana's Bitterroot Valley, cyclists can now ride on a bike path that was constructed on the right.

We recently asked you to participate in a bicycle travel survey to provide feedback about what priority advocacy areas you’d like to see Adventure Cycling work towards, what your concerns are related to traveling by bike, and your experiences on the road related to rumble strips and bicycle camping.

Wow! We received over 2,200 responses — a response rate of over 20%. Thank you to everyone who participated! Here are some of the key takeaways.

Demographics: We were interested, but not too surprised, that 86% of the survey participants are Adventure Cycling members, 71% male, and 78% are over 51 years old. At least one person from every state filled out the survey, and 30% of respondents reside in the following four states: California, Washington, Colorado, and Oregon.

Bike Travel Priorities and Concerns: The number one bike-travel priority indicated by respondents, by a big margin, is funding for safe cycling infrastructure. Likewise, the lack of existing bike infrastructure was identified as the number one concern.

The second major concern, perhaps driving the desire for improved infrastructure, is an increase in distracted driving. Respondents also prioritized improvements for bike travel in national parks, as well as addressing unsafe rumble strips.

Future Bike Travel Concerns: When questioned about what issues will most negatively impact future bike touring, the majority of respondents chose the “decline of rural, small town services.” The top concerns among the written responses were 1) distracted, angry, or uneducated drivers; 2) lack of or poor design of bike infrastructure (shoulders, separated facilities); and 3) increasing traffic and congestion. “Climate change effects” and “defunding or possible loss of Amtrak routes” were also identified as areas of increasing future concern.

Survey respondents want more campgrounds to adopt no-turn-away policies for self-contained bike travelers.

Bicycle Camping: For bicycle travelers who choose to camp, respondents felt it was most important for campgrounds to have a no-turn-away policy, ensuring self-contained cyclists have a place to stay if they arrive at a full campground. Respondents prioritized amenities that improve bicycle camping experiences at state parks: 1) showers, 2) wildlife-proof lockers, 3) electrical outlets for charging devices, and 4) covered picnic shelters.

Unsafe Rumble Strips: Of the 1,850 respondents to our rumble strip questions, 73% indicated they had encountered unsafe rumble strips while on a bike tour. All fifty states were marked as locations where people had encountered rumble strips, and the majority of respondents had encountered shoulder rumble strips with less than four feet of shoulder space, no gaps between rumbles, and rumble strips installed through the middle of the shoulder. 75% of respondents said the presence of rumble strips forced them to ride in the traffic lane, and 43% responded that traffic didn’t give them enough space because of the rumble strip. Many of the write-in responses referenced loss of control, damage to bikes, crashes, or being forced to ride in shoulder debris.

We’ll be doing a deeper dive into your responses and how they will inform the direction of Adventure Cycling’s advocacy work. Your feedback is always valuable to us, so if you didn’t get a chance to fill out the survey, you can comment below or send us an email at travel-initiatives@adventurecycling.org.

Happy and safe cycling!

Photos by Saara Snow

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BUILDING THE U.S. BICYCLE ROUTE SYSTEM is posted by Laura Crawford, Ginny Sullivan, and Saara Snow of the Travel Initiatives Department and focuses on news related to the emerging U.S. Bicycle Route System (USBRS). The USBRS project is a collaborative effort, spearheaded by a task force under the auspices of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO). Members of the task force include officials and staff from state DOTs, the Federal Highway Administration, and nonprofits like the East Coast Greenway Alliance and Mississippi River Trail, Inc.

Comments

Rees Jones

Just finished 4,500 miles in 12 Prairie and Central states. The issues you listed in your Bike Advocacy Survey are exactly the the ones I struggled with through four and a half months. One highlight of my trip was the provision for camping in city parks throughout the Prairie states. It often caused me to buy multiple meals in what was left of towns that died when motorists drove by.

November 21, 2017, 11:46 AM
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