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Fun poll results: 56% have put a bike on a bus bike rack

The results are in from last week’s poll!

After 261 votes, 56% of you said you had put a bike on a bus bike rack. And obviously, the other 44% had not. Some people were noting that the percentage of bike rack users were kind of high—just bear in mind that this poll is a fun poll answered by the blog’s readers, so there certainly may be different results if we did this region wide!

Why do people use the bike racks? Well, because it can help you bike for part of your trip, or carry big items home. Here’s Alan Robinson:

I ride fairly often, so I can actually match or beat a B-line from UBC to Commercial. When I was in Vancouver, I had used the bike racks frequently when moving bikes from home to on campus, when I was carrying not just the bicycle but also some luggage. The racks are indispensable for ferrying bicycles or for emergencies. However, noone should be under the impression that one can reliably commute by carrying a bike on the bus, even off peak.

Alexwarrior emphasized that the bus is a great option to have in a bike emergency:

I used it to get back home after I blew a tire tube after riding out to Horseshoe Bay. Was very glad to have that available!

But people shared all kinds of interesting reasons as to why they hadn’t tried the bike racks yet. Number one was feeling intimidated or feeling like you didn’t want to hold up the bus. For example, here’s ericmk:

Well, I’ve never used a bus bike rack before because it seems very daunting to do. I’m pretty sure that I would be one of those people that would have trouble putting it on the rack and would hold up the bus because the driver would have to come out to help me! However, a how-to video or a demo rack that I could try out might be able to eliminate my fears. I have faith that one day I will use the bus bike rack!

And here’s Nikki:

Both times I used a bike rack on a bus, the driver had to come out to help me, as I couldn’t seem to figure it out and/or seem to lack the upper body strength to lift my bike as high as it needs to go to get onto the rack. (What business do I have trying to take my bike on the bus, you say? Well, how else am I going to improve my fitness levels?)

For mechanically inept folk like myself, having to use the bike rack can be traumatizingly stressful, and a friend and I have discussed suggesting that Translink have a stationary rack somewhere so people could practice putting their bikes on and off the rack without having to do it quickly in traffic. Whaddya say? Alternately, an instructional video is a great idea.

(Incidentally, we do have a stationary bike rack that we take to public events! But yes, it is something that we could publicize a lot more.)

Edward had another reason for not using the bike racks though.

I haven’t used them for one key reason: I’d rather ride my bike than pay $2.25 to carry it on a bus. The bike is cheaper and, quite often, faster, and I get exercise, too. I don’t rule the possibility of someday using a bus, however (say, to get through the Deas Tunnel, or if I have a mechanical issue and need the bus to get home). Some sort of online instruction would be most useful, so that I don’t have to hold the bus up and look like a fool the first time I (try to) use a rack.

You can have a look at the full list of comments for much more discussion on this topic, including why we don’t have 3-bike racks on the buses, suggestions for practicing (ask a bus driver who doesn’t look busy!) or more.

And in sum: lots of people made a really good case for having more educational materials about using the bike racks! So I think I’ll look into producing a little video myself for the blog and the website, and see if we can dredge up any more supporting materials. Bear in mind that this may take a little bit of time — I’m only one person, October is looking very busy, and I have some other work to get through at the moment! But rest assured, I do want to do this, and I’ll come back to the blog to see if you guys can maybe help me out. STAY TUNED :D

Btw, if you have ideas for another poll question next week, please share below!


26 Comments

  • By mike, September 24, 2010 @ 7:48 pm

    i totally support the idea of having a video available for those who do not know how to put the bike on the rack.

  • By Paul C, September 25, 2010 @ 2:00 am

    Jhenifer

    Either the graph you posted is wrong or something is not right in your wording. According to the graph 56% said No?

    Of course it could be the early morning and my eyes are just decieving me.

  • By Sheba, September 25, 2010 @ 7:40 pm

    I haven’t used the bike rack on the bus. All I’ve ever needed is to be able to take it on the Skytrain.

    It’d be nice if there was somewhere to stand with a bike other than in the doorways – perhaps a hanging rack in each doorway would help with the space a bike takes up.

  • By Paul C, September 25, 2010 @ 9:36 pm

    @Sheba

    I know what you mean. I feel bad that I take up so much room and when people load and unload I’m constantly looking around to see if anyone has to get off or on.

    One thing I quickly realized is know what side the doors will open on. There are stretches where it will only open on one side and you can put your bike near the opposite door. Until the doors start opening on the other side. Depending on what stations you pass.

    I know on my commute to work I get on at VCC-Clark. I know Commercial opens on the other side. So when the train gets there I wait until people have loaded. Then I move the bike to that door. I get off at Holdom and I know every station after Commercial will open on the other side. So I don’t have to worry about being in peoples way.

  • By Jean, September 26, 2010 @ 9:42 am

    I don’t fancy hanging bike racks. It will be the same problem as those who find it awkward to lift bikes off and on bus racks or walk up and down staircases with a bike: it does require upper body strength and careful maneouvering to do it.

    Most people do not buy/have light, (expensive racing type bikes which make it easy to lift, carry, etc. Hammerhead roadies with such bikes are now a minority..alot of the bike retail shops now if you ask them..that’s not where they are making their money now. It’s all other bikes for commuting, recreational riding, etc.

    The tide is turning …when you talk to the bike manufacturers and retailers. (Why else did MEC get into bikes for their stores nationally?) It’s all good, by the way.

    When a person learns how to load bike on bus rack, then they can use same approx. logic when cycling and visiting other cities that have similar bus bike racks ie. Victoria, Saltspring Island (yes), Whidbey Island (free transit for everyone any time), etc.

  • By Ric, September 26, 2010 @ 10:00 pm

    Jhen, Here’s an idea for a poll question for next week: Have you been on the Westcoast Express?

    Do you think that this could be next weeks poll question?

  • By Anonymous, September 26, 2010 @ 10:51 pm

    We Really need rapid transit in the West End. Today, the 6 bus was packed like crazy, and every weekday, I see it packed like crazy, even though it runs every 5 minutes. And, I have many times walked to burrard station faster than the 5 bus. Seriously, stop wasting your money on these new web designs, and start building rapid transit in the west end. It is long overdue. PLEASE!

  • By ???, September 27, 2010 @ 7:49 am

    The streets are narrow along the #6 route. Rapid transit on this route will be a challenge. However Vancouver has set aside land on Pacific, Cordova and Pender for a streetcar route in the future.

  • By ???, September 27, 2010 @ 8:24 am

    here’s the details on the streetcar…. http://vancouver.ca/engsvcs/transport/streetcar/phasing.htm

    In addition to the Expo line…. it cross the Canada Line twice!

  • By Jean, September 27, 2010 @ 9:23 am

    Great poll question about Westcoast Express. Or how about would you use Westcoast Express on weekends if there was service?

    The Go train in Metro Toronto has been running on weekends for well over a decade and more. During the week, they get heavy commuter traffic not just for work but to get to colleges, universities. On weekends was/still is great to bring suburban people into downtown/Toronto for shopping, more dynamic ethnic neighbourhoods, weekend cultural events..and yes for biking. And the reverse, for downtown people visiting folks in suburbs and also cut down cycling distance to get out into the rural areas.

    I understand now the GO train system, which includes their buses, now have expanded Go bus service 120 kms. out from downtown Toronto…Kitchener-Waterloo, etc. So obviously a need that Greyhound bus service cannot cover.

  • By Anonymous, September 27, 2010 @ 9:39 am

    ???,
    What if I live at Davie at Cardero? Do I walk to the street car that goes 25 km/h? Or do I take the slow 6 bus? Or do I take the C21, then the canada line?
    If we can bore a tunnel under 50 storey highrises, then why can’t we extend Skytrain to the West End?
    We really need a better transit system in the west end than the 6 and 5 buses, which stop every stop, and at every traffic light.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, September 27, 2010 @ 10:24 am

    Paul C: Blargh, I messed up the chart labels! Will fix.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, September 27, 2010 @ 3:32 pm

    Jean: Oh, we definitely know the demand for WCE service is there. However, Canadian Pacific controls the track time that WCE is allowed, so we don’t necessarily have a lot of say in how much extra service we can provide, at least not until negotiations with CP are underway again.

  • By Tim, September 27, 2010 @ 4:47 pm

    Video of bike racks. There are similar racks in Seattle but they can carry 3 bikes! They have a video. http://metro.kingcounty.gov/tops/bike/bikeride.html

  • By Jean, September 27, 2010 @ 5:17 pm

    Just wondering: When was the last study done on WCE needs/interest on weekends? Some level of service is better than nothing on weekends.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, September 27, 2010 @ 5:22 pm

    Jean: Sorry—to be clear, we know that demand is very high, as the Olympics definitely demonstrated. I don’t think any official surveys have been done. But it’s not a matter of us just putting on extra service in response to this demand. TransLink doesn’t own the tracks that the WCE trains run on—Canadian Pacific does. So to expand service, we would have to enter into negotiations with CP, which is actually a pretty big process and would probably take a few months at least. Also, as far as I know, the CP negotiations are done every five years or so, and I don’t believe we are entering that time period for negotiations yet.

  • By Jean, September 27, 2010 @ 5:23 pm

    As for a possible poll question:

    Have you ever given advice on using public transit for visitors (family, friends) or tourists who are lost and are asking for help?

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, September 27, 2010 @ 5:24 pm

    Jean: Actually I’ve run that poll before!

  • By Jean, September 28, 2010 @ 10:43 am

    Suggestion:

    Did you take public transit often as a child? (or whatever variation)

  • By Ric, September 28, 2010 @ 1:11 pm

    Suggestion:

    1) Have you been on the seabus

    2) Have you been on the Westcoast express

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, October 1, 2010 @ 1:30 pm

    Jean: Hmmm… I think that question was covered in this poll. Well, it’s kind of a different take, I guess! I’ll save it for a future poll—thanks.

  • By Macy, October 8, 2010 @ 2:51 pm

    You can go to this website for instructions on how to use the bike racks: sportworks.com

  • By Macy, October 8, 2010 @ 2:52 pm

    You can go to this website to see how to use the bike racks Sportworks.com

  • By Jeff, November 3, 2010 @ 8:51 am

    I found a video by the bike rack manufacturer that shows how to use the bike rack on buses http://www.sportworks.com/video/SportworksBikeRacks-Buses_512K-640×360.mov

Other Links to this Post

  1. Tweets that mention Fun poll results: 56% have put a bike on a bus bike rack -- Topsy.com — September 24, 2010 @ 11:47 pm

  2. Transit Bus Bike Racks: More a North American Phenomena? | Velo-city Global 2012 Conference Blog Vancouver Canada — April 4, 2011 @ 12:50 am

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