Tour de Lab September 1st

PDOT releases latest bike count report

Posted by on September 27th, 2007 at 3:33 pm

“The steady growth in bicycle use presents an opportunity for the City to capitalize on the increased ridership by investing in safety and access improvements to attract a broader range of cyclists.”
–From PDOT bicycle count report.
Download PDF here.

The City of Portland Office of Transportation has just released their 21-page report detailing results of their 2007 bicycle counts (PDF here).

The report includes graphs and charts that reflect PDOT’s most comprehensive counting effort to date. This year, PDOT expanded its counts beyond the 60 locations done in 2006 to include a total of 98 sites.

As expected, their counts show a large increase in the amount of people riding bicycles in Portland.

Here are some of the highlights of their findings:

  • Bicycle use in Portland showed a double‐digit increase for the third straight year.
  • Bicycles represent 18% of all vehicles on the Hawthorne Bridge and 11% of vehicles on the four bicycle‐friendly Willamette River bridges.
  • Bicycle traffic in Portland has more than doubled since 2001.
  • Helmet use has risen steadily since the 1990’s, with 76% of recorded cyclists wearing helmets in 2007, up from 63% in 1997.
  • Women represented 31% of all cyclists, up from 26% in 1997.
  • While bicycle counts in March are approximately half those of the summer, they are still higher than the summer counts recorded in 2000.

Download the full PDF here.

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12 Comments
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    c September 27, 2007 at 4:17 pm

    Those PDF links aren\’t working.
    (HTTP 404: Binary article \”169931\” does not exist.)

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    Jonathan Maus (Editor) September 27, 2007 at 4:30 pm

    sorry about the wrong link folks. It\’s been corrected. should work now.

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    D Rock September 27, 2007 at 4:46 pm

    Kudos to the city for the excellent information gathering and an extra big kudos to the citizens of Portland for making cycling such a huge part of Portland\’s culture.

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    Roger Geller September 27, 2007 at 4:55 pm

    Sorry about the changing links. As people read the report they find small errors that I correct.

    Here\’s the new (and correct) link:

    http://www.portlandonline.com/shared/cfm/image.cfm?id=169951

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    G.A.R. September 27, 2007 at 5:00 pm

    The graph on/near p. 7 titled \”Combined Bicycle Traffic over Four Main Portland Bicycle Bridges Juxtaposed with Bikeway Miles\” shows surging growth in cycling even after the city stopped adding bikeways. The text accompanying the graph doesn\’t try to interpret the data. This seems to be at variance with some of the received wisdom in recent weeks. For example, we hear that making cycling safer is the key to getting a larger share of trips to be done by bike. Sounds reasonable, and explains the East Portland gender data, where unbuffered bike lanes on 45mph arterials are the standard. But what what gives on p. 7 in 2006 and 2007? The Sprockettes? BikePortland.org? Probably we\’re looking at a burgeoning bike culture. I love all the raw data. When it comes to interpreting it, PDOT has just scratched the surface.

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    BURR September 27, 2007 at 5:11 pm

    pdf link still not working

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    Greg Raisman September 27, 2007 at 5:20 pm

    G.A.R.: You\’re right that the data can be further analyzed. However, I think there\’s some important stuff to keep in mind.

    With the flattening of miles added to the network over the past 5 years, things haven\’t remained static. The existing network miles have been invested in with things like bike signals, pavement markings, heck even the Tram make for a stronger connection within the existing miles.

    You\’re also right that it\’s not all engineering. There\’s so many other things out there pushing these numbers up that it would turn into a very large report if it captured it all. Actually, I think in a lot of ways that that\’s going to be where the Bike Master Plan will come in.

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    Dan (teknotus) September 27, 2007 at 7:07 pm

    I think they really need to add weather to their record keeping. I seem to remember that the week they did the counting was one of the worst weatherwise of the whole spring. I imagine that means it was limited to the people who ride no matter what. If next year it ended up being perfect weather I would think that would throw off the validity of their numbers.

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    Sky September 27, 2007 at 7:07 pm

    These numbers seem like something that the Portland Police should be helping to promote. Not discourage by diverting costly time and resources to targeted crack downs on bicycles.

    If people see others stopped by police on bikes, it will make one think a bit harder about dusting of the bike for a ride into work.

    Ask someone from nearly any other country about getting a ticket for a traffic infraction on a bicycle? Most of the time you will get a smirk from them, and the rest a smirk followed by a big laugh.

    The more people ride, the more everyone in this area benefit. The less people ride the more people in Texas and Saudi benefit.

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    Tasha September 28, 2007 at 8:53 am

    I was so happy to see these numbers and even happier to see they weren’t even for the summer. 18% of traffic on the Hawthorne bridge? Maybe I’m an optimist, but I see that as a really good sign. As I was sat in my car for the one day a week I drive to work yesterday, stuck in traffic, watching bikers wiz by, I was really wondering why I even drive to work that one day, when during rush hour, I actually get around faster on my bike. As I biked over the Broadway Bridge this morning and got free donuts and coffee from Shift, I was so happy to be biking, even in the rain. With Portland growing every year, the more people we can convince to bike and the better bike infrastructure we have, the better this city will be.

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    andy September 28, 2007 at 10:00 am

    One picky point on the counts: they chose NE Skidmore and 9th as one of their count points. Granted, Skidmore is the \”official\” bike route, but in my experience, far more cyclists ride Going than Skidmore (wider, less jogs in the road, better access to Alberta). In the future, they may want to shift their count point a couple blocks north – maybe 7th and Going, or 15th and Going.

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    Kirsty September 28, 2007 at 10:19 am

    Even annecdotally, it *feels* like there are so many more cyclists around this year!

    It\’s super to see this backed up by the new statistics.

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