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San Francisco 2015 Annual Bicycle Count Report Unveiled

Friday, April 15, 2016

As part of an ongoing initiative to understand the role and growth of bicycling in the city, today the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) published its annual San Francisco Bicycle Count Report for the year 2015. Counts indicate that more people are bicycling as the city’s bike network continues to expand and more safety projects break ground.

“As San Francisco grows in population, housing and jobs, it is critical that we continue to offer more sustainable, safe and affordable ways of getting around the City.” said Mayor Ed Lee. “Making biking an even more attractive alternative to driving benefits our entire city and helps us reduce congestion, reduce pollution and create more capacity on Muni.”

“Bicycling is San Francisco’s fastest growing mode of transportation,” said Ed Reiskin, SFMTA Director of Transportation. “We see this as a direct result of our continued work to improve San Francisco’s streets for people who choose to ride a bike. With hundreds of thousands new bike trips each year, we’re committed to making our streets even safer, more connected and comfortable for everyone.”

Notable numbers from the SFMTA 2015 Bicycle Count Report, which can be found at: https://www.sfmta.com/about-sfmta/reports/city-san-francisco-2015-bicycle-count-report, include:

  • There are an estimated 82,000 bicycle trips in San Francisco per day.
  • Bicycling increased 184 percent from 2006 to 2015 at the same 19 intersections.
  • 15 automated bicycle counters found that weekday bike trips in San Francisco increased by 8.5 percent from 2014 to 2015 (an increase of 200,000 bike trips, from 2.438 million to 2.644 million.)
  • 2015 was the first year San Francisco’s bike counter on Market Street reached 1 million bike trips logged, representing a 25 percent increase over 2014.
  • 85 percent of bicycle improvements made in 2010 – 2014 are located in neighborhoods that have grown to have more than the citywide 4.4 percent bicycle commute mode share.
  • In 2015, October had the highest daily bike ridership with approximately 322,000 bikes logged at the 15 locations monitored by automated bicycle counters, with events like the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival contributing to the spike in biking.
  • According to the American Community Survey, bicycle mode share for commute trips made within San Francisco reached 4.4 percent in 2014, up from 2.3 percent in 2006.

The continued increase in bike riding coincides with the steady stream of improvements the SFMTA has been making over the last several years, all part of an effort to create safer streets for everyone, cut down on pollution and alleviate crowding on Muni. Many San Francisco neighborhoods now have more than 10 percent of their residents and workers biking regularly.

“These counts back up what we are seeing on San Francisco’s streets – more people are biking because it’s safer, more convenient and comfortable than ever before,” said Tom Maguire, Director of the SFMTA’s Sustainable Streets Division. “In support of our Vision Zero goal of eliminating traffic deaths in the city, this year we’re not only breaking ground on three major streetscape projects that will increase safety on Polk, Masonic and 2nd, we’re making 22 miles of bike engineering improvements across the city, from green bike lanes to fully separated bikeways.”

"It is vital that we build on this momentum. We want all SF neighborhoods to benefit from safe, inviting streets, which will welcome all of our city's diverse communities to bike," said Margaret McCarthy, Interim Executive Director of the SF Bicycle Coalition. "When more people can embrace active transportation, it makes our city a safer, healthier place for everyone."

The annual bike count report has been produced by the agency since 2006 and has helped the SFMTA make informed policy and planning decisions. Data from the annual report illustrates where bike traffic is the highest, where there are opportunities for improvement, and how the SFMTA’s programs and projects are affecting travel behavior.

This year’s report relied on comprehensive methodology which included American Community Survey findings, manual intersection counts, and loop-detector automated counts. A key recommendation in the report is to better leverage San Francisco’s growing network of automated bike counters for future reports as they provide more robust and representative data that is collected around the clock all year long.