The answer to the post’s title question is, apparently, ‘no’ — environmental factors like weather and sprawl don’t prevent people from cycling as long as bike lanes & paths exist. This is according to a recent study published in the journal Transportation.
According to the study (as reported here):
…cities with more bike paths and lanes have significantly higher rates of bike commuting, even when factors that influence cycling rates – such as weather, cycling safety, degree of sprawl, and the price of gasoline – are taken into account.
This bodes well for growth in the percentage of commuters who cycle in Atlanta when we increase lanes. We’ve got the Beltline path coming, as well as new lanes downtown along the streetcar route. There’s a lot of room for growth with intown bike lanes and I think this study could help encourage some movement there.
h/t Kaid Benfield
Photo of Atlanta bike lane by Flickr user Manuel Beers