By Charles Pekow — Yes, adding a bike lane really can increase ridership. At least that's what a study in Canada found when it tracked before- and after cycle use. The Waterloo Region in Ontario, west of Toronto, installed barrels to create a temporary bike lane on a road in 2020 and compared traffic in 2019 with 2020. Regional government took advantage of the COVID pandemic to install a bike lane on a road running between two municipalities.
The Bike Lane Effect: How Infrastructure Drives Ridership — A Big Data Study, a report by data analytics firm Streetlight Data, found that not only did bike ridership increase 41 percent with a bike lane, auto traffic slowed 13 percent. The study examined nearby roads as a control, so changes weren't entirely pandemic-related.