COG bike survey results: Township residents prefer the safety of bicycling on shared paths

Date: September 18, 2015


Residents who participated in a bike survey last spring overwhelmingly cited safety as their concern, 
noting they prefer bicycling on our shared use paths to riding next to motorists on the roads.

As part of the Centre Region Bike Plan, the COG Transportation and Land Use (TLU) Committee
administered an online survey from March 16 through June 1, 2015.  The survey results
were released 
on August 5. View the full Centre Region Bike Plan Online Survey Spring 2015 at this link or at

The purpose of this online survey was to collect information about:

    •    Who is biking and why
    •    What discourages people from biking
    •    What would encourage people to bike
    •    Where bicycle facility improvements are needed

Here’s a summary of responses from 134 Ferguson Township residents who participated in the survey.

How often they ride

  • a few times a week—38 percent
  • daily—22 percent
  • a few times a month—21 percent
  • a few times a year--13 percent



How long they’ve been riding

  • more than 10 years—69 percent
  • 5 - 10 years—12 percent
  • 2 - 5 years—10 percent



As bicyclists, describe themselves as:

  • enthused and confident riders—50 percent
  • interested but concerned—25 percent
  • strong and fearless—22 percent
  • (non-bicyclists) "no way, no how"—3 percent


When they ride

  • summer—99 percent
  • fall—97 percent
  • spring—95 percent
  • winter—24 percent

Why they ride

  • recreation—83 percent
  • fitness—79 percent
  • commute to work—51 
  • social activities—45 percent
  • environmental reasons—37 percent
  • shopping and errands—32 percent
  • commute to school—9 percent

How far do they ride?

  • 2 - 5 miles—42 percent
  • more than 10 miles—23 percent
  • 5 - 10 miles—19 percent
  • less than 2 miles—16 percent

What discourages them from riding

  • weather—57 percent
  • inadequate shoulder widths/narrow lanes—54 percent
  • motorist behavior—43 percent
  • lack of on street bike lanes—42 percent
  • lack of off-street bike paths—38 percent
  • too much traffic—33 percent

Excerpts from additional comments

  • behavior of distracted pedestrians texting and wearing headphones, especially on campus
  • not enough separation from traffic
  • too many busy roads and intersections to cross, even from bike paths
  • bikes and cars do not belong on the same roads
  • lack of bike path interconnectivity
  • poorly maintained bike paths during winter months
  • most motorists are courteous but some (5-10 percent) seem to not know about the 4-foot rule and pass bicycles way over speed limit (50 mph in a 35 zone on Whitehall Road).

Their preferred bike facilities

    •    paved bike path—88 percent
    •    natural surface trail52 percent
    •    bike lane
40 percent
    •    bike route
13 percent
    •    on-street shared lane
13 percent

What would definitely encourage them to ride more often

  • A more connected system—78 percent
  • more paved bike paths (off-street)—75 percent
  • more bike lanes—55 percent
  • more bike routes—52 percent
  • increased maintenance—50 percent
  • wider outside/curbside lanes—48 percent
  • improved bicycle detection at intersections—45 percent
  • more bicycle parking at major destinations—30 percent

Respondents also listed specific locations and descriptions of places where additional bicycle facilities are needed, such as:

  • Valley Vista Road
  • Whitehall Road between West College Avenue and Nixon Avenue
  • West College Avenue between campus and Pine Grove Mills
  • Downtown and other areas in the Centre Region

What activities would be potentially effective in improving bicycling conditions in the Centre Region:

  • bicycle maps and guides—53 percent
  • education programs that teach children basic bicycling skills—44 percent

They also listed ways motorists need to be better educated, including:

  • bicyclists are allowed to ride in the road
  • how to understand bicyclist signals and to keep an eye out for them
  • sharing the road
  • motorists must provide 4 feet of distance when passing a bicyclist
  • watching for bicyclists/joggers at intersections

The report includes five pages of suggestions/comments in response to this question.

Bicyclists also need to be educated:

  • how to share road with motorists and not take up all of the road
  • stop signs and traffic signals apply to them as well
  • riding against traffic is illegal
  • bicyclists have equal responsibility to obey traffic laws
  • use bike paths when they are available

Six pages of suggestions/comments follow in response to this question.

The report concludes with four pages of final suggestions/comments.

Age and gender of respondents:

  • 35 - 59 years—60 percent
  • 25 - 34 years—18 percent
  • more than 60 years old—14 percent
  • 60 percent male
  • 40 percent female