Annual bike count shows commutes in SF up nearly 9 percent

Bike trips in San Francisco are off the chain.

Daily commutes by bicycle in The City are up by record numbers, according to the newest Annual Bicycle Count Report, released Friday by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency.

The report draws its bike count from three sources: automated bike counters at 15 locations in San Francisco, manual evening bike counts at 80 locations in September last year, and American Community Survey Data.

Out of San Francisco’s total commuters within The City, bikes made up 4.4 percent of trips in 2014. That’s a jump from 2.3 percent in 2006, with an increase of 86,000 new bike commuters.

There are an estimated 82,000 bike trips in The City per day, according to the report — an 8.5 percent increase in bike trips from 2014 to 2015.

Many of those commutes are on Market Street, the numbers show.

SFMTA Director of Sustainable Streets Tom Maguire said seeing Market Street commutes jump by 25 percent in one year illustrates a “tremendous demand.”

“We’re racing to catch up to it,” he said.

More people cycling in San Francisco is “a great thing for the health of our communities,” said Chris Cassidy, spokesman for the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition.

“But this also makes it clear that the city has to continue improving the safety of streets in every neighborhood across San Francisco,” Cassidy said.

A heat map of cyclists in The City shows a surge of cyclists growing in the urban core, downtown and in the Mission — the flattest areas of San Francisco. However, bike growth did not occur much at all in the Outer Sunset, Excelsior and Ingleside neighborhoods.

Bike commutes were up in some neighborhoods considered farther from the urban core, like Potrero, the Presidio, the Inner Sunset and Inner Richmond.

“The neighborhoods where we see the biggest increases in cycling are the neighborhoods where we’ve been making improvements in the last five years,” Maguire said.

The SFMTA has 21 miles of planned bike improvements for 2016.

“Neighborhoods that back in 2005 were without a big mode share, like Inner Richmond or Inner Sunset, or even the Outer Mission, are now showing up as some of the highest [bicycling] rates in the city,” Maguire said.

Cassidy said it’s important for the SFMTA to expand safe bike access in underserved communities, because though they use bikes frequently “they all too often aren’t the first to see bike lanes that would provide them safety and comfort they deserve.”

Maguire said he enjoys cycling with his kids through Golden Gate Park, which features bike lanes separated from traffic by on-street parking. That’s a design choice, he said, The City will employ more often in the future.

It’s also a unique design because it allows for the preservation of parking, Maguire said.

“We don’t want to make a choice between parking and cyclists.”

joe@sfexaminer.com

BIKES BY THE NUMBERS

82,000: Estimated number of bike trips in San Francisco per day

8.5 percent: Amount weekday bike trips rose from 2014 to 2015

1 million:
Milestone number of annual bike trips on Market, reached in Dec. 2015

4.4 percent:
Share of commute trips San Franciscans made by bike

125 miles:
Length of bike lanes in San Francisco

21 miles:
Length of new bike improvements to be built in 2016

Source: San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency

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