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UBC Undergraduate Research

Barriers for Cyclists With Disabilities And Individuals Who Use Adaptive Cycles Rossi, Angelica; Olson, Chayse; Hong, Jun; Gill, Pritpal; Mekonen, Robell


Cycling is a widely used form of transportation and recreation. For the purposes of this project we focused on cyclists with disabilities and their individual experiences. The goal of this research project was to identify and determine the barriers that prevent individuals with disabilities from cycling to and around the University of British Columbia’s (UBC) Vancouver campus. Much of the literature currently available successfully highlights the multitude of physical, social, and mental benefits of cycling, yet it seems it is not often that research is focusing on the barriers surrounding cycling, specifically for those with disabilities. In order to gather the necessary data, we utilized the method of an online survey to gain insight on individuals personal experiences regarding topics surrounding cycling with disabilities. Our targeted population was any individual tied to UBC (i.e. faculty, staff, students) that has a disability or engages in the use of an adaptive cycle. The survey distributed, consisted of basic demographic questions followed by open-ended questions encouraging deeper, more personal responses. The survey was dispensed to a couple of UBC organizations focused on people with disabilities (UBC’s Centre for Accessibility and CiTR radio station’s All Access Pass), though neither was confirmed to have sent out our survey. Due to difficulties finding viable participants willing to take part in this study, a limited amount of responses were received and therefore our analysis is quite limited. Few responses were ultimately collected, ending in six viable surveys that were then analysed for patterns and compared to previous research regarding the barriers of cycling. This data was then further examined for precise answers that were common or uncommon within the survey responses. Though we did not gather enough information to draw conclusions, we did find the responses to be of interest in terms of the topic. Overall, all participants have at some time considered cycling to and around campus. It seems that the majority of respondents feel that UBC has not done enough to facilitate cycling to campus, though, majority also feels UBC has done enough in terms of cycling on campus. Throughout the survey, responses varied greatly between each participant, only overlapping on a few specific topics. In general, respondents detailed that the barriers they face while cycling to and around UBC’s Vancouver campus include weather conditions, road conditions, safety/security issues, and lack of storage facilities. After analysing our survey responses, we recommended that UBC increase the amount of safe storage options available for cyclists use. By creating cycle lockers and cages that are inclusive to all cycles (not just bicycles), cyclists can feel more comfortable cycling to and around campus knowing they will have a safe storage option once they reach their destination. We also recommended that UBC create a greater number of areas with ‘cycle only’ paths. Currently UBC is very cycle friendly but by creating ‘cycle only’ paths they may be able to limit the traffic and stress surrounding cycling through large crowds. Adaptive cycles often need more room to manoeuvre and creating ‘cycle only’ paths can provide them with this. Our final recommendation was simply that further research be conducted on this topic. Many aspects of our research project did not go as expected, as such future research is recommended. In doing so, we recommend that a vast array of populations within UBC be reached out to (i.e. faculty, staff, students), as well as differing age groups and genders. By gaining responses from an array of groups, the results will be easier to accurately analyse and understand. Disclaimer: “UBC SEEDS provides students with the opportunity to share the findings of their studies, as well as their opinions, conclusions and recommendations with the UBC community. The reader should bear in mind that this is a student project/report and is not an official document of UBC. Furthermore readers should bear in mind that these reports may not reflect the current status of activities at UBC. We urge you to contact the research persons mentioned in a report or the SEEDS Coordinator about the current status of the subject matter of a project/report.”

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