The effect of rolling resistance on people’s willingness to cycle during wintertime
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Harsh winters reduce utilitarian cycling in many cities. Using an online survey, we examined how increasing rolling resistance due to snow and ice affect people’s cycling willingness. The respondents (N = 1318) reported their willingness to cycle on various winter cycling conditions presented in photos. The answers were compared to the rolling resistance levels on the presented conditions, measured in a previous study. Respondents’ cycling willingness dropped from 91.2% at very low to 18.3% at very high rolling resistances. The cyclist’s age, gender, local climate, winter cycling experience and studded tire use affected the cycling willingness significantly. Electric bike usage did not affect cycling willingness. “Summer-only” cyclists did not cycle during the winter due to low temperatures (29%), lacked feeling of safety (27%), bicycle wear (17%), increased travel time (17%) and increased physical effort (10%). Hence, lower rolling resistance and increased use of studded tires can increase the cycling frequency of existing winter cyclists. To recruit new winter cyclists, the surface conditions should not only offer a low rolling resistance but should also be perceived as safe and comfortable.