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!