Red Deer Cycling Community to Represent Alberta in National Pedal Poll Research Project
CBC Edmonton and CBC Calgary have teamed up to launch a pop-up office in Red Deer to help us tell your stories of central Alberta. Journalist Heather Marcoux will bring you news from Red Deer and the surrounding area. Ideas for articles and tips can be sent to [email protected].
Residents of Red Deer will have the chance to show up and be counted after the city of central Alberta is selected among 14 to participate in the first count of cyclists in Canada.
And the president of the Red Deer Association for Bicycle Commuting is hoping the data will show residents have embraced cycling during the pandemic and are eager to keep riding after it’s over.
“A lot more people are riding,” said Franz, who organized Red Deer’s participation in the inaugural Pedal survey of 2021, which will take place in the first week of June.
“In these times of COVID, people are pulling out bikes that they haven’t ridden in years,” Franz said.
Franz says it’s important to have an accurate count of cyclists to inform policy at the national and municipal levels.
This is why on June 1 and 6, volunteers with smart phones will be parked on various trails, paths and streets in Red Deer, showing the number of cyclists or other active transportation users passing by and also ranking cyclists.
Using human eyes for better data
The smartphone app will allow the counters to distinguish cyclists by age or perceived gender, as well as track adults pushing strollers, skateboarders and pedestrians.
Automatic motion sensors are great for getting an estimate of the number of bikes using a path or trail, Franz says, but human eyes are needed to identify groups that are over or under-represented in cycling.
Breaking down data in this way is necessary to make cycling more inclusive, said Franz.
Liz Hagell of the Red Deer Wellness Alliance says there has never been a better time to collect – and contribute to – this data.
An avid cyclist herself, Hagell hopes to see many Red Deerians counted in the pedal poll.
“It’s good for your mental health, it’s good for your physical health, it’s good for the environment,” she said of cycling.
Because Hagell knows not everyone is comfortable on two wheels, she encourages other types of physical activity in the form of a month-long healthy competition in June as part of the ParticipAction Community. Better Challenge.
Any Red Deerian can sign up to track their physical activity through an app. The community with the most active minutes will earn $ 100,000.
“In 2019 we reached 18th place in the national rankings,” said Hagell, who is hoping to climb a few places this year after the competition was postponed to 2020.
Roll once, count twice
According to Hagell, the Red Deerians can be counted in both the Pedal Poll and the Community Better Challenge by riding their bikes on June 1 and 6.
“We’re going to have signs around the trail system that talk about your QR code, where to find your app, and how to record your active minutes,” Hagell said.
Red Deer as pilot town for Pedal Poll
Many Canadian communities will participate in the Participaction Community Better Challenge, but only 14 cities have been selected to pilot the pedal survey, organized by Vélo Canada Bikes and researchers at Dalhousie University.
In addition to Red Deer, official counts will take place in St. John’s, Halifax, Charlottetown, Moncton, Montreal, Ottawa, Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Yellowknife, Kelowna, Vancouver, Whitehorse and the Toronto / Mississauga area.