Questions Bike Calgary Gets Asked the Most
Here is our list of our most asked questions at Bike Calgary. We answer more questions in our Tips for Riders section that address such topics as rider safety, finding a bike, preventing bike theft and commuting.
While bicycle theft numbers are down in Calgary, there were still over 3600 reported bike thefts in 2017. Here’s a nice simple list to follow to help prevent bike theft, as well as how to report a theft. For more details on locking your bike, see below.
- Lock your bike properly by securing the wheels and the bike frame to something solid. Do this even if you are using secured bike parking.
- Use multiple locks.
- Take easily removable items with you (bells, seats, lights).
- Don’t leave your bike locked in an easily accessible place for long periods of time, especially overnight.
- Try to not be predictable such as parking/locking your bike to the same bike rack every day.
- Make sure garages and sheds are locked.
- Record the serial numbers of your bikes and take photos of your bikes. This will help the police to recover your bike. You can take the additional step of recording this information on Bike Index, which allows you to register your bike and mark your bike as lost or stolen. Bike Index then alerts their bike community to assist in finding your bike.
- Report your bike as lost or stolen using the Calgary Police online form.
- There is also a local Facebook group under Stolen Bikes Calgary and Surrounding Area. This is a group of volunteers working to help bike owners recover their stolen bikes.
- If your bike was stolen before you could register or record your serial number, the bike shop you purchased your bike at will often have this information in their records.
How to Lock Your Bike
- Buy a good lock - even a $100 bike is worth stealing if it’s easy to do so. A U-lock is a good place to start. Check out the site The Best Bike Lock for more info on all your lock options.
- Do not use cable locks as your main lock - they are cut in seconds with cheap cable cutters.
- Nice wheels are worth a lot - loop a high-quality u-lock through the frame and rear wheel. Secure the front wheel with an additional cable if the wheel has a quick release.
- Bonus theft prevention points - take off your front wheel.
- Extra bonus points - replace quick release skewers with a locking wheel skewer such as Pinheads. Seats, wheels and handlebars are regularly stolen off secured bikes.
- Trust your local bike shop to help you select your hardware and show you how to use it.
Where to Lock Your Bike
- Make sure your U-lock connects your bike frame to a stationary immovable object, even if you are in a secured parking area.
- Give the immovable object your bike is attached to a shake to make sure the bike can’t easily be slipped over or under it.
- Check out Bike Parking in this FAQ page to learn more about where to park your bike. Try not to lock your bike to trees, street signs or handrails - it’s not a great cyclist move.
9 Different People Tried to Steal a Bait Bike in Calgary Over Just 2 Days (external source, 2018)
- The very first thing to do is to file a police report online. Doing this gives you the best chance of recovering your bike.
- Important Information You Should Have in Your Files - serial number of the bike, pictures of the bike, and proof of ownership (sale or repairs receipts).
- If you don't have this information, the bike shop you purchased your bike at often keeps this information (minus the photos).
- If you can prove your bike is worth more than $5000, it is considered a more serious criminal offence. Your could try using Bicycle Blue Book as a way to determine the bike’s value.
- Contact your home insurance company. You may have coverage but will need to weigh that with what may happen to your premiums.
- Keep an eye out for used bikes for sale (Kijiji, Craigslist, ...). If you see your bike, contact the police. Do NOT go to the seller to recover your bike.
- Get social and spread information on your bike on social media.
- There is a local group of volunteers that are working to find lost/stolen bikes. You can find them on Facebook at Stolen Bikes Calgary and Surrounding Area.
- You can also register your bike on Bike Index. Once you've registered your bike, you can mark your bike as lost or stolen and they will activate their bike community to help you find your bike.
- Cycling provides freedom of mobility, regardless of your income, age, gender or social status.
- Cycling regularly and cycling to work are a part of a healthy, active lifestyle which results in more productivity and reduced health risks such as obesity, heart disease and cancer.
- Cycling to work is often less stressful than driving. You are being active outdoors and often avoiding heavy traffic by navigation to work on Calgary’s pathway and route infrastructure.
- Cycling is a stress reliever as it is fun, friendly and allows you to experience your community in a more personal manner.
Cycling - Health Benefits (external link)
- Cycling is a great way to engage in a healthy lifestyle which, in turn, helps to reduce our regional health costs. Statistics show that costs reduce the more active citizens become.
- Encouraging people to ride bikes more often, especially as commuters, reduces motor traffic congestion. In fact, this has been proven to be one of the most cost-effective way of reducing road congestion.
- Noise and air pollutions reduce as motor vehicle traffic reduces. Also, bicycles do not emit greenhouse gasses or damage air quality.
- Bicycle friendly streets increase personal mobility. This causes an increase in consumer traffic which benefits our neighbourhood businesses and leads to positive impacts on our local economy.
Calgary's Annual May Count of Total Downtown Bike Trips (2017, external link)
Daily and Historical Counter Data (external link)
Calgary Bike Data (2017, external link)
What's Driving More Calgarian's to Cycle to Work? (2016, external link)
Transportation Canada (external link)
Bicycle Law in Alberta (2018, external link)
Calgary's Annual May Count of Total Downtown Bike Trips (2017, external)
- Multi-use pathways (MUPs) - these are typically recreational pathways through parks and are managed by the City’s Parks department; some, like the MUPs along Memorial Drive, are used as transportation corridors, but many are not suitable for travel directly to destinations; there are over 700 km of MUPs through parks in Calgary;
- Cycletracks are physically separated cycling lanes on roadways; they are managed by the Transportation department; there were about 7 km of cycle tracks in the downtown area after the pilot (with a few more added since the completion of the pilot in 2016);
- Bike lanes are painted lanes, sometimes “shared” with cars on the road; bike lanes are managed by the Transportation department; this type of infrastructure is not comfortable for many riders as it closely shares the space with cars.
City Downtown Cycle Tracks (external link)
Types of Cycle Tracks and Bike Lanes (external link)
According to the City of Calgary's Annual Report, operating expenses for roads, traffic, and parking amounted to over $362 million in 2011. The overall expenditures for transportation (transit included) were over $750 million. According to the City's Transportation business plan and budget, the capital budget for transportation amounts to $640 million for 2012. In 2011, when the West LRT was being built, that number was even higher at $1,167 million.
Taxes on gas cover only a fraction of this cost. According to the City's 2009-2011 Capital Analysis, it receives $283 million in federal gas tax funding, and $475 million in provincial fuel tax revenue sharing over the 2009-2013 period, or $56 million and $95 million respectively per year. The federal Gas Tax Fund is earmarked for sustainable infrastructure projects, and cannot be used for road construction in Calgary. It is in fact mainly used to fund transit and waste/recycling projects, although a small fraction (5%) is used to fund active transportation projects such as pathways. All of it is restricted to capital projects. Overall, less than 25% of Calgary's capital expenses on transportation projects is covered by gas and fuel tax funding.
Passenger vehicle registration and license fees re not used to fund city spending on roads at all. They are collected and held by the province, making up less than 7% of provincial spending on highways and transportation.
The rest of the City's funding for new roads, and practically all of the City's funding for the upkeep of roads and transit comes from the general fund, which is mainly from property taxes, developer levies (paid by future homeowners in new developments), and federal and provincial grants (funded from general taxes such as income tax). Less than 7% of the City's operating expenses for roads and traffic are covered by profits from the Calgary Parking Authority.
Roads are a public good - just like the Police Service, they should not only be paid for by people who use them, but by everyone - and in fact they are.
In fact, cyclists pay much more than their fair share of road costs. In recent years, the City has only spent about $2.5 million a year for cycling infrastructure, about 0.4% of the total capital expenses for transportation. The 2011 Cycling Strategy calls for capital spending of $5 million a year for the four years. That's about 0.8% of all transportation capital expenditures, less than cyclists's "fair share" (1% of all trips and 2% of home-to-work trips according to CARTAS, 1.3% commute mode share according to the National Household Survey). In terms of operating expenses, expenditures for cyclists amount to less than 0.3% of the City's expenses for transportation. Taking into account transit fare revenue and parking fees, dividing the City's operating expenses by the number of daily commuters per mode would give about:
- $2,500 per transit commuter
- $800 per car commuter
- $400 per bicycle commuter (based on 2011 operating budget and 2006 commuter numbers).
The City's 2011 Cycling Strategy has 50 specific recommendations for how to make Calgary more bike friendly. This includes not just new bike lanes, but also education programs for cyclists and drivers, and other safety improvements. The estimated additional operational cost is $1.5 million per year (= 0.3% of the City's annual operating expenses for transit, road, traffic, and parking), and the additional capital cost is $12.2 million over three years (= $3 million a year, or 0.6% of the City's annual capital expenses for transportation).
The Victoria Transportation Policy Institute has estimated that the monetized benefits of encouraging more cycling can be very substantive, and more than justify increased investment in cycling infrastructure. Based on VTPI's research and very conservative assumptions, we've estimated the monetized benefits of a successful implementation of the Cycling Strategy to be at least $2m per year, but probably more than 10 times that.
Why Cycling is Great for Everyone - Not Just Cyclists (2014, external link)
- space to ride,
- smooth surfaces that are obstacle-free,
- connected cycling systems,
- the ability to maintain a speed,
- parking and amenities for bikes at destinations,
- to feel safe and secure, and
- more education and enforcement.
Cyclists are Better Shoppers than Motorists (2007, external link)
It's also sometimes thought that cycling is not feasibly as a mode of transportation in Calgary, because Calgary is so large and the commute would take too long. As a matter of fact, 30% of Calgary's commuters travel less than 5km to work (15 mins by bicycle), and 60% less than 10km (or up to 30 mins by bicycle). Encouraging bike transportation is an investment in our future, and even cities such as Los Angeles (which has not been considered an archetypical bike-friendly city in the past) recently voted an ambitious plan to build 1,680 miles (2,600 km) of bikeways. We encourage Calgarians to think to the future!
Most Bike Friendly Places in Canada (external link)
How the Humble Bike Can Save Our Cities (2018, external link)
Segregated Bike Lanes Are Safest for Cyclists (2013, external link)
Why New Bike Lanes Are Good for Every - Yes, Even Drivers (2018, external link)
Bicycle Law in Alberta (2018, external link)
One often hears people claiming that the majority of cyclists run red lights and stop signs. If that were true, it would be borne out in the accident statistics. You'd expect far more cyclists involved in collisions having just run a red or a stop sign. In fact, about the same number of cyclists as drivers are recorded as having committed such an error. In collisions leading to a fatality, more drivers than cyclists are recorded as having committed a driver error.
Coexisting with Bicycles: 10 Rules for Drivers (external link)
Coexisting with Drivers: 10 Rules for Cyclists (external link)