The world is divided on riding in bad weather

New research out of Queensland suggests that some international cities are more open to the idea of riding in the rain than others.

Researchers from the University of Queensland sought to understand the effect of weather on bikeshare use by analysing data from 40 city bikeshare programs around 16 countries.

The total dataset comprised a modest 100 million individual bike trips.

It turns out the people’s willingness to ride in bad weather is different across the world. In Dublin, Seville, and Valencia people are more willing to ride their bike in wet or snowy weather, whereas in Melbourne, Brisbane, Chicago, and Vancouver people are not so open to the idea.

Female riders also tend to be less willing to travel in rainy or snowy weather than male riders.

The study, published in the Journal of Transport Geography, offers an interesting window into how different cultures view weather as a deterrent to hopping on a bike.

The tempting answer to these observations is that some cities are simply more resilient to rainy weather than others. However the researchers describe how the answer is not that clean cut: ‘while Dublin is notoriously rainy, Seville and Valencia are rather dry’.

Summarising their study in The Conversation, the authors emphasised the importance of the findings: “Personal decisions on how and when to travel can affect overall traffic congestion, environmental pollution and travel experience. So understanding how outdoor conditions affect cycling is crucial to effective transport planning and more sustainable cities.”

Read more about the study here.

This article was made possible by the support of Bicycle Network's members who enable us to make bike riding better in Australia.