The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) announced Dec. 12 that a 96 percent growth in bicycle trips has been observed since 2006 at the same, overlapping 21 intersections in the city as part of the SFMTA’s 2013 Bicycle Count Report.
The SFMTA has been conducting annual citywide manual bicycle counts since 2006, which have been used to track bicycling at key intersections and corridors throughout the city, as well as to determine helmet use and if riders are using bicycling facilities. The bicycle counts reflected in the report do not count all bicycle trips in the city, but rather, just the volumes observed at the 51 locations where manual counting took place during evening peak commute periods.
“We are seeing more and more people riding a bicycle in San Francisco every day, and the latest bicycle count data confirms what we are seeing on our streets,” said Mayor Ed Lee. “With an increasing amount of people riding bicycles, we must continue to fund improvements for better safety, connectivity and convenience in our City’s bike network. As bicycling becomes even more commonplace in our City, we must meet and support the rising demand for better bikeways.”
“We see this growth as a direct result of our continued work to uphold the city’s Transit First policy, which includes improving San Francisco’s bicycling environments,” said Tom Nolan, chairman of the SFMTA Board of Directors. “Increasing bicycle ridership not only eases congestion on our streets, it also ties into our city’s Climate Action Strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”
“As we advance our agency’s work to make riding a bicycle safer in San Francisco, it’s great to simultaneously see the public’s response in the continued and rapid adoption of bicycling,” said Edward D. Reiskin, SFMTA director of transportation. “Bicycling isn’t just a fun, affordable and convenient way to get around the city. It also plays a critical role in our agency’s goal to increase overall sustainable transportation mode share, which includes walking, transit, taxis and carsharing, to 50 percent by 2018.”
In 2006, 4,282 people were counted bicycling at 21 key intersections in the city. Since then, bicycle counts at those same, overlapping 21 intersections have increased a remarkable 96 percent to 8,379 people bicycling in 2013. Furthermore, the city has seen the highest level of helmet usage on record, with 76 percent of those observed riding a bicycle wearing a helmet.
"We're thrilled, though not surprised, to see that more and more people of across the city are discovering how easy, fun and convenient biking is to get around San Francisco," said Leah Shahum, executive director of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition. "More biking means a better San Francisco for everyone – safer streets for everyone, more open seats on Muni, and more available parking spots for people who really need them."
Notable facts from the SFMTA 2013 Bicycle Count Report include:
- Bicycle count observations were made at 51 key intersections during the evening peak period (4:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.)
- There was a 96 percent growth in bicycle trips between 2006 and 2013 at the same, overlapping 21 intersections
- A 14 percent growth in bicycle trips was observed between 2011 and 2013 at the same, overlapping 40 intersections
- All intersections with improvements implemented between 2011 and 2013, including marked bicycle lanes and routes, bikeway enhancements, and signal improvements, experienced a growth in the number of bicycle trips observed
- The Townsend Street and 2nd Street corridors observed the highest growth in ridership between 2011 and 2013. This growth can be attributed to the growth in bicycle demand resulting from an increase in jobs and development in the South of Market neighborhood in the last two years, in addition to the increase in bicycling to and from the Caltrain station at 4th and King streets.
- The Polk Street corridor, the main north/south bicycle route connecting the Marina to the greater Downtown, also experienced a high level of growth in bicycle trips between 2011 and 2013
- Key intersections with separated bicycle facilities completed since 2011 were added to the 2013 counts in order to monitor bicycling in future years