The Social Practice of Utility Cycling in Charlotte, North Carolina
Riding a bicycle for utility purposes in US cities is rare, especially in historically automobile-dominated cities. Using data from a transportation survey administered to 406 residents of Charlotte, NC, this paper reports on the results of a logistic regression model that predicts the influence of an individual's recreational cycling frequency on the odds of that individual riding a bicycle for utility purposes on a weekly basis. The odds of an individual riding for utility purposes at least once a week increases dramatically as an individual rides more for recreation. Recreational cycling appears to offer a space in which individuals can acquire a threshold level of skills and materials necessary to ride their bike for utility purposes. Results suggest that plans to increase utility cycling in an automobile-dominated city like Charlotte ought to emphasize and fund opportunities for residents to ride recreationally, and consider how experience riding a bike in the temporally- and spatially- flexible context of recreation can encourage more individuals to ride to and from errands, school, or their place of work.
An analysis of survey data collected by the Charlotte Department of Transportation in 2016. The data illuminates racial, ethnic, age, and income disparities in recreational and utility cycling, and challenges approaches to bicycle planning based on data collected from the American Community Survey. Logistic regression modelling suggests that a respondent who is male, and has children in their household have higher odds of riding for recreation, whereas Black/African American respondents have lower odds of recreational cycling; The odds of an individual utility cycling increase if an individual rides for recreation regularly, is Hispanic/Latino, and lives in a ZIP with a high concentration of public bikeways.