Greenway = bums off couch and on bike seat

Greenway = bums off couch and on bike seat

Turning couch potatoes into hard-breathing, healthy, bike riders.

Posted on 13.06.2019

The development of an attractive bike route through Vancouver is turning couch potatoes into hard-breathing, healthier, bike riders.

When the Comox-Helmcken Greenway through downtown Vancouver was built five years ago researchers decided to examine whether the new facility would get bums on seats — bike seats that is.

A major rationale for investing in bike routes is to get more people partaking in physical activity. But does that happen?

Yes, according to the team from the University of British Columbia, who studied the communities who lived along the route, and found that there is a correlation between a heightened level of physical activity and living close proximity to an urban greenway.

Those who live near the greenway — within 300 metres of the route — saw their odds of achieving an average of 20 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity double a year after the opening of the greenway.

Additionally, the odds of being sedentary for over nine hours plummeted by 54%.

These findings are based on self-reported measures of physical activity and sedentary behaviour, with a sample size of 524 participants that had a median age of 44. Surveys were conducted in 2012/13 to establish a baseline and after the completion of the greenway in 2014/15 as a follow-up.

Researchers at UBCʼs Health & Community Design Lab also previously found that those who lived near the greenway reduced their car or bus travel distance by 18% daily following the greenwayʼs completion, with car and bus use falling from 3.4 km per day to 2.8 km per day.

Moreover, daily bike trips increased by 32%, while daily trips using a personal vehicle fell by 23%.

The greenway under study is essentially a traffic calmed street, as shown in the photograph. In this section the street is one way to motor traffic and two-way for bikes. Parking is clustered on one side, intersections are made safe for all users, and seating is installed at regular intervals.

As usual there was much consternation at the outset of the project, but the route is now well used and valued by locals.

There are many opportunities for such improvements on suburban Australian streets.

The Bicycle Network




Have a story to tell or news to share?

Let us know by Submitting a News Story

Discover Queensland

Explore all of Queensland’s adventures.

Start Exploring

What's On



Pinnacle Sports Vertical Rescue Course

Learn to be capable of implementing an effective rescue
Read more



One Day Fun Day

A Free Day of Fun For 10,000 Australian Kids and Carers
Read more



7 Days, 7 Stories

7 inspirational stories from The MarkAbility Group
Read more

Latest News

Cooloola Great Walk

GET INVOLVED!  Closes August 22

Read more
Rail trail rolls closer to Yeppoon Foreshore

$455,000 extension to the Pineapple Coast Rail Trail

Read more
Walking plan aims to make great strides for Queenslanders’ health

The heart of the state’s first ever Walking Strategy

Read more

Become a member

QORF welcomes applications for new Community and Green Circle Members from organisations and individuals involved in the outdoors

Learn More
Tail Lights by Georgina Pratten