The CSBE | Zaha Foundation Cycling Project
Report I: Results of the Survey on Cycling in Jordan
Click here to view The CSBE | Zaha Foundation Cycling Project Report II: Cycling Projects around the World.
إضغط هنا للإطلاع على التقرير الثاني من مشروع مركز دراسات البيئة المبنية ومؤسسة زها لإستخدام الدراجات الهوائية: مشاريع ركوب الدراجات الهوائية حول العالم
- Survey results
- Suggested cycling routes
- Survey participants’ notes and suggestions
- General notes
- Appendix 1: Survey questions and results presented in graphs
- Appendix 2: Survey questions
- Appendix 3: links to suggested cycling routes using the RouteBuilder online program
The survey on cycling in Jordan, which was organized in cooperationwith the Zaha Foundation/ Zaha Center for Children, was launched on June 13, 2014 and was distributed to the public through different social media channels and via email. The survey remained available to the public through August 4, 2014. It aims at identifying opinions, comments, and experiences regarding cycling from a wide segment of Jordanian society, which would be of great value to any attempts that aim at developing cycling path projects in Jordan.
Both Arabic and English versions of the survey were developed, and were filled by a total of 824 participants.
This report presents the survey results, including general information about the survey participants, as well as their opinions, comments, and suggestions regarding cycling in Jordan.
Cities of residency:
The number of participants who filled in information about the cities they live in is 117. 66% of those who filled this section indicated that they live in Amman. The remaining 34% live in other cities including Zarqa, Irbid, Salt, Mafraq, Aqaba, Karak, Jarash, and Ma’an. The following graph presents the cities that the participants provided and the percentages of them who live in each of those cities
The number of participants who filled in information about their age is 814. The largest group of participants (38%) is between 18 and 23 years old, followed by 30% for those who are between 24 and 30 years old. The following graph presents the age groups of the survey participants.
The number of participants who filled in information about their professional fields is 761. 274(36%) of them are students (school and university students), and 487 (64%) work in different fields including healthcare, architecture and engineering, research and academia, banking, and information technologies (IT). The following table presents the professional fields of the survey participants.
The number of participants who filled in information about car ownership is 814. 387 (48%) of those mentioned that they own a car, while 427 participants (52%) mentioned that they do not. Moreover, 710 participants (87%) mentioned that members of their households own cars, while 104 participants (13%) mentioned that no members of their households owns a car.
Knowing how to ride bicycles and bicycle ownership:
The number of participants who answered the question about whether they know how to ride a bicycle or not is 815. 704 (86%) of them stated that they know how to ride bicycle, while 111(14%) stated that that they do not.
The number of participants who answered the question on bicycle ownership is 810. 224 (28%) of them stated that they own a bicycle, while 586 (72%) stated that do not own one.
Out of the 704 participants who know how to ride a bicycle, 221 participants (31%) own bicycles.
Using a bicycle in Jordan:
The number of participants who answered the question on the reason why they would ride a bicycle in their city is 803. 50% out of those participants stated that they would ride bicycles for recreational and fitness reasons only, 2% stated that they would ride bicycles for transportation reasons only, and 48% stated that they would ride a bicycle for both recreational and transportation reasons.
The survey participants were asked about the transportation method that they would use if cycling lanes were established in their city. The total number of participants who answered this question is811. 71% of them stated that they would use a bicycle. 24% stated that they would use their own vehicles, and 5% stated that they would use public transportation.
The survey participants were also asked about the reason why they would choose cycling as a method of transportation. The total number of specified reasons is 1605. “Reasons related to health and fitness” was the most chosen answer (43% out of total answers). This was followed by “To save money and energy” (30%), and “To save time and avoid traffic jams” (28%).
Regarding cyclist safety, the survey participants were asked to specify what their main safety concerns are. The total number of specified concerns is 2330. 29% of the answers identified the absence of cycling lanes, 27% specified street defects, 26% mentioned the fear of interaction between vehicles and cyclists, and the fear of collisions, 13% referred to seasonal and weather factors. The remaining 5% tackled issues such as topography, pollution, fear of bicycle theft due to the lack of bicycle parking spaces, fear of harassment and comments by other road users, lack of respect for cyclists by vehicle drivers, lack of road rules and regulations regarding cycling, and the lack of bicycle repairs shops.
As for possible cycling obstacles, the survey participants were asked about the issues that might hold them back from using a bicycle as a method of transportation. The total number of specified reasons is 1716. “The absence of separated bike paths” was the answer most chosen (38% out of all answers), followed by “topography” (29%), “safety issues” (27%), and “physical stamina and ability” (6%).
When asked whether they prefer using a bicycle lane with or without a physical barrier separating it from vehicular circulation, 39% out of 807 participants who answered this questions stated that they prefer using bicycle lanes with physical barriers, 6% stated that they prefer bike paths without physical barriers, and 55% stated that they are comfortable with both options (with or without physical barriers).
In general, the majority of the survey participants seemed positive about establishing bicycle lane projects in their cities, neighborhoods, or universities. When asked whether they think that establishing bicycle lanes in their cities, neighborhoods, or universities is valid / feasible or not,66% out of 806 participants answered yes, while 34% answered no.
Suggested cycling routes:
Survey participants were asked to suggest cycling routes by marking (drawing) the paths they believe would be most suitable for establishing urban bicycle lanes using the online program Route Builder (www.routebuilder.org).
The number of participants who suggested cycling routes is 96. Their suggested routes may be categorized under seventeen categories that we identified according to both the city’s main streets and zones (based on the Amman Administrative Plan: www.ammancitygis.gov.jo/ammancitygis/pages/), and to streets and areas that are most active and familiar to the city’s residents.
While most of the suggested routes are within Amman, a few routes were also suggested in other cities including Salt, Ma’an, Zarqa, al-Tafileh, Irbid, Madaba, and Aqaba. The suggested routes also vary greatly according to length and scope of geographic coverage. For example, some routes were suggested within a university campus, along one street, or around one area; others were suggested as links between two areas within one city; and some were suggested as connections between two cities (e.g., Amman - Zarqa, Amman - Madaba, Dead Sea - Aqaba). The average distance that each suggested route covers is 14.37km.
The following table presents the areas that the suggested routes pass through and the percentages of routes selected for each area.
Through providing route suggestions, participants pointed out some places/spots that may serve as stations for bike paths (start points, end points, and stop points). The following are the most prominent: University of Jordan, Amman National Park, Haya Cultural Center, the Downtown area, al-‘Abdali New Business District, Queen Alia International Airport, King Abdullah Gardens, al-Hussein Youth City, Royal Automobile Club, and King Hussein Parks.
The section below presents a selection of images representing eight of the routes that the survey participants marked using the RouteBuilder online program. (Click on the images to enlarge them).
Note: Appendix 3 includes a list of links to suggested routes.
Notes and suggestions:
They survey participants were given the chance to provide notes and suggestions that they deem relevant. We received a total of 109 notes, tackling issues from the social, cultural, physical, climatic, and financial points of view.
Notes that are related to social and cultural issues tackle the need of spreading awareness and education about cycling, as well as public reactions to cyclists and fear of harassment and comments from the public (this last comment is mostly expressed by females). The total number of these notes is 56 out of the total notes (51%).
Notes that are related to physical issues tackle the unsuitable street infrastructure and the lack of driving regulations, hilly topographies, and climatic conditions. The total number of these notes is 32 out of 109 (29%).
Participants also mentioned the issue of prices and quality of bicycles in Jordan, the high tariffs on bicycles, and the low number of bicycle repair stores. The total number of these notes is 14 out of 109(13%).
The remaining 7 suggestions (6%) tackle the following issues: starting with cycling routes in small areas (clubs, parks, universities, and neighbourhoods); starting with recreational routes; giving priority to routes for transportation purposes since recreational cycling activities already exist; separating cycling routes from the street network; the need for cyclists to use reflecting lights; and the need to make use of already existing but yet unused streets such as that of Amman’s Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project.
A selection of the participants’ notes and comments:
“I hope that establishing a bike path will have a good impact on our society.”
“I believe it would be harder for a female to go around on a bike since people are not familiar with this, and this would cause some problems because we are not in an equal society. It would be much easier for men!”
“Establishing bike paths for transportation is more important than establishing them for recreation since recreational cycling activities already exist.”
“I just wish people driving vehicles were more educated and accepting of cyclists sharing the road with them.”
“Vehicle drivers should learn to respect cyclists.”
“More than a bike path, Amman needs proper behaviour from drivers, both towards pedestrians and towards bicycles. Moreover, I used my bicycle a few times, but Amman’s topography is really not helpful at all.”
“From a social viewpoint, it will be easier for males to take up cycling in Jordan than for females.”
“Put cycling courses in school curriculums, and publish awareness advertisements on TV and newspapers, and test the awareness in driving license tests.”
“I think it would be great if we can create bike lanes and offer parking stands for cyclists to park their bikes in public places. Some of us struggle to find a safe place to park our bikes in or around the buildings we work in.”
“It would be great to integrate cycling within public transportation. It might work better especially that one wouldn't have to buy a bike. Still, female cycling is going to be an issue because these brave females would be tracked and watched, and it doesn't make us feel better (as a female) to put ourselves in similar situations, so maybe it would be nice to consider female privacy and dignity.”
“I am with this idea, but establishing such a project in these horrible street conditions would lead to dangerous accidents.”
“I expect that the major obstacle is the public reaction to cyclists.”
“I think it would be a wonderful thing if Amman had bike lanes. However, the major thing that stops me from doing any kind of outdoors activity alone (biking/walking/running) is the poor manners of people. It's unbelievable how much harassment a woman is subjected to when working out outside in Jordan, whether it is verbal comments or killer stares!”
“This project needs a lot of patience and it needs a long time to establish it considering the infrastructure and the need to change the public perception about it, which would need huge awareness campaigns.”
“I am very excited to see such projects. I tried hard to ride a bicycle every day, but the prices of bicycles and the repair cost were too high.”
“Please help provide bicycles of good quality and low prices. The main obstacle that would stop me from riding a bicycle is the high cost.”
“There needs to be road rules and regulations for both vehicles and bicycles.”
“I think it's hard to implement cycling tracks on the currently existing streets. I guess the tracks should take place on new (to be opened) streets, as I think this is more applicable.”
“Laws should be introduced to protect cyclists, and the police should enforce them. People on the roads in Jordan do not respect each other. That is our biggest challenge.”
“This would be a nice project but I wonder if it would succeed given the current chaotic driving conditions and the lack of respect among road users. Dealing with bicycles in the road should be addressed in training sessions.”
“I sometimes used to go to university on a bicycle riding along Airport Road, which was dangerous. It would be much safer and easier if there was a dedicated cycling path.”
“They need to lower the cost of bicycles.”
“We should try spreading the culture of cycling so that everyone would feel comfortable riding a bicycle in any area in Jordan. If we reach this state, establishing bike paths would be easy.”
“Unfortunately, the issue of social perception is the main problem. Cycling is sometimes viewed as an activity that is only for kids.”
“There should be awareness campaigns to educate people on the health benefits and environmental benefits of cycling.”
“Since I'm a female, I think it will be very hard to ride a bicycle to work or to anyplace...I can't even jog without being harassed or judged!”
“The topography of Jordan makes it hard to use a bicycle.”
In general, it seems that the survey participants are aware of the need for establishing cycling paths in Jordan and are excited to see related future projects, both for transportation and recreational activities. Also, being exposed to the outer world, it is clear that Jordanians are eager to be able to cycle as people do in numerous other countries. However, there are clear concerns regarding the ability to use bicycles in the streets of Jordanian cities. These concerns relate to both cultural and physical issues. By adding notes and comments, and by stating possible cycling obstacles, the survey participants made it clear that their major concerns are related to social and cultural obstacles. These include the lack of social awareness and acceptance regarding cycling, public reactions and harassment towards female cyclists, and the lack of road regulations for cycling within the city. Another concern relates to the cities’ current urban infrastructure. This includes unwelcoming street conditions, lack of spaces that are separated from vehicular traffic, chaotic car parking conditions, as well as existing narrow and disorganized streets.
- The participants’ gender seems to have a clear affect on their answers and comments, mostly due to cultural and social issues. For example, the percentage of male participants who know how to ride bicycles is higher than that of female participants, and while the percentages of both female and male participants who own bicycles are low (less than 40%), the percentage of males who own bicycles is higher than that of females.
Moreover, the percentage of female participants who prefer using cycling lanes that are separated from vehicular traffic is higher than that of male participants. The percentage of male participants who are comfortable with using both separated and in-separated cycling lanes, however, is higher than that of female participants.
Both male and female participants mentioned that public reactions might hold them back from using a bicycle. Not surprisingly, the percentage of females who mentioned this issue is higher than that of males. Moreover, while females primarily mentioned issues such as the fear of harassment, annoying comments from males, and social reactions towards females riding bicycles, males primarily addressed issues such as the reaction of drivers towards cyclists.
However, it is worth mentioning that the percentages of both male and female participants who stated that they would use bicycles if dedicated lanes were implemented are high and are almost equal.
The table below presents some outcomes that were analyzed based on participants’ gender.
- Out of the 96 possible cycling routes that survey participants suggested, 39 routes are connected to universities (within university campuses, around campuses, starting or ending at university campuses). 25 of those 39 (64%) university-related routes were suggested by students.
- 32 out of the 96 suggested routes (33%) were related to the University of Jordan (along Queen Rania Street, along streets surrounding the campus, or as loops around the campus). Also, 7 out of 9 routes that were suggested in cities other than Amman are related to universities. These are Yarmouk University and the Jordan University of Science and Technology in Irbid, the King Hussein bin Talal University in Ma’an, al-Tafileh University, and Hashemite University in Zarqa.
- While most of the survey participants (86%) know how to ride bicycles, it seems that owning a bicycle is not very common among them. The results of the survey show that only one quarter (28%)of the participants own bicycles. Also, only 31% of the participants who stated that they know how to ride a bicycle own one.
- It is noticeable that the absence of dedicated bike paths is an issue that has a major affect on the participants’ inputs. For example, the majority (71%) of survey participants stated that they are willing to ride bicycles if dedicated cycling paths were implemented. Moreover, when it comes to safety cycling concerns, ‘the absence of bike paths” got the highest percentage (29%) among participants, and regarding possible obstacles that might stop participants from cycling, “the absence of bike paths” also got the highest percentage (38%) of responses.
- The willingness to ride a bicycle if bike paths were implemented in Jordan does not seem limited to a certain age group. However, a higher percentage (66%) of the participants who are willing to ride a bicycle if paths were implemented are between 18 and 30 years old. 39% are between 18 and 23 years old, and 27% are between 24 and 30 years old. Also, the percentage of participants who are under 30 years old and think that a cycling lane project is valid in their neighborhoods or universities, and the percentage of participants who are above 30 years old and think that a cycling lane project is valid in their neighborhoods are almost equivalent: 65% of participants who are under 30 years old, and 69% of participants who are above 30 years old answered yes.
Appendix 1: Questions and results of the survey presented as graphs
Appendix 2: Questions of the survey on cycling in Jordan
1) In which city in Jordan do you live?
2) Are you a male or a female?
3) To which age group do you belong?
4) What is your professional field? And what is your occupation?
5) Do you own a car?
6) Does a member of your household own a car?
7) Do you know how to ride a bicycle?
6) Do you own a bicycle?
8) If you would ride a bicycle in your city, for which of the following reasons would it be?
Recreation and fitness
Transportation (going to school / work, running errands, shopping, etc...)
Both of the above
9) If bike paths were implemented in your city, which of the following transportation methods would you prefer to use for daily transportation?
My own vehicle
10) Why would you choose cycling as a method of transportation? (you can choose more than one answer)
To save time and avoid traffic jams
To save money and energy
For reasons related to health and fitness
11) Regarding cyclists’ safety concerns, which of the following are you most concerned about? (you can choose more than one answer)
Interaction between vehicles and cyclists, and the possibility of collisions
Seasonal and weather factors
Absence of bike paths
Other (please specify)
12) What would hold you back from using a bicycle as a method of transportation in your city? (you can choose more than one answer)
Physical stamina and abilities
The absence of separated bike paths
13) Are you more comfortable riding a bicycle using:
A bike path without a physical barrier separating it from vehicular circulation
A bike path with a physical barrier separating it from vehicular circulation
Comfortable with both
14) Do you think that an urban bike path project in your city, neighbourhood, or university is valid / feasible?
If yes, Please mark a suggested route using the following website: www.routebuilder.org. After you draw the route, click on "Save Route", and a URL will appear. Please copy the URL in the section below. (You may also use the section below to provide any comments you wish to make about the route)
15) Please provide any other suggestions or comments you deem relevant.
Appendix 3: links to routes suggested
The following list includes the relevant links to the cycling routes suggested by some of the survey participants using the online program RouteBuilder. (www.routebuilder.org).