Some interesting cycling stats before the end of the world...

The end is near...
The end is near...

Well, according to a lot of crazy folks out there, the world is coming to an end this Saturday around 6 PM... I figured before we reach the end, I thought I would just sum up a few interesting tidbits about how far bike commuting on planet earth has progressed in the past few decades. While researching this, I realized there are quite a few different camps and numbers out there, but eventually came to this study which seemed from a fairly reliable source(Analysis of Bicycling Trends and Policies in Large North American Cities: Lessons for New York) down the middle of the road, plus it was 63 pages long which makes it pretty official to me... Real quickly, some of the interesting stats:

  • The number of bike commuters in the USA rose 64% from 1990 to 2009
  • From 1988 to 2008, cycling fatalities fell by 66% in Canada and by 21% in the USA and serious injuries fell by 40% in Canada and 31% in the USA
  • All the major cities cited in the study had implemented a different mix of strategies(bike boulevards, bike corrals, cycling events, bike-transit integration, bike sharing programs, bike parking, etc.) with all varied results.
  • New York, with all of its efforts to increase cycling advocacy(with cycling almost doubling since 1990) lags behind all the other cities mentioned in the case study.
  • They cite Portland as one of the best cities that has implemented a "truly comprehensive, well-integrated, long-term package of infrastructure, programs, and policies to promote cycling."
  • Climate does not appear to be a serious obstacle to increasing cycling...
  • The Western states/provinces of the US and Canada have, by far, the highest cycling rates, while most of the states in the American South, have extremely low levels of cycling.
  • A 2008 Portland survey found that 18% of its residents used bikes as their primary or secondary mode for the work trip, which is comparable to cycling mode shares in northern Europe.


A few of the things that really stand out to me...1) The fact that cycling fatalities in the US decreased 21% over 20 years is only a good start. We have a lot more improvement there to go. 2) How apparently amazing Portland is and how much the rest of the country needs to come to be like them... You're welcome Portland. 3) After personally living in the South and the West, the difference in biking is PRETTY obvious and didn't need a study to figure that one out. 4) The increase in the amount of bike commuters is not going to be slowing down any time soon.


Since this is National Bike to Work week and it was just B2W day last Friday here in SF, I made a little video to celebrate. I shot a short little time lapse video of cyclists at an aid station along a popular commuting route, which gives you just a tiny glimpse of how many cyclists there are in this city(in three and a half minutes). 


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