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San Francisco Celebrates Bike to Work Day: 76 percent of trips on Market Street made by bicycle this morning

Mayor Edwin M. Lee and the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), which oversees all ground transportation in the city, today joined the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, other city partners and business leaders to celebrate the 21st annual Bike to Work Day. The event celebrates and promotes bicycling for transportation, with San Francisco organizing one of the largest Bike to Work Day events in North America. 

The SFMTA announced that 76 percent of all trips traveling eastbound on Market Street during this morning’s commute were bike trips, based on a count taken between 8:30 and 9:30 a.m. at the intersection of Van Ness Avenue and Market Street. In total, the number of people riding their bikes on Bike to Work Day has increased by 32 percent over the past six years (2009 – 2015).

“With more people, housing and jobs coming to San Francisco, we need more sustainable ways to get around town,” said Mayor Lee. “We are making it easier and safer to bike around our city with improved bike infrastructure and bike share opportunities.  Biking isn’t just fun, practical and healthy; it also helps cut down on congestion. Every person on a bike is one less person in your traffic jam or fighting for a parking spot.”

Despite the forecast of rain, today’s Market Street eastbound and westbound morning bicycle counts showed a total of 1,134 bicycles. Today, bicycles made up 76 percent of the total vehicles headed eastbound today, while automobiles came in at 21 percent (transit and taxis accounted for the remaining three percent). This bicycle – automobile percent split is a complete reversal from 1998, when it was 36 percent bikes and 64 percent cars.

A key element supporting the increase in bicycling in San Francisco is the SFMTA’s continued work to make biking better. Since 2014, the SFMTA has:

  • Completed 15 projects to increase safety and comfort for people biking
  • Constructed and/or upgraded 17 miles of bikeways
  • Grown the San Francisco bikeway network to a system spanning 434 miles
  • Implemented a variety of bikeway projects that make riding a bike easier on key corridors, such as Fell, Oak, Polk, Ortega and Howard streets.
  • Witnessed the highest weekday count at the Market Street Bicycle Counter with 4,050 bikes recorded in one day, a 7% increase from the record high of 3,770 in 2013.

To mark Bike to Work Day 2015, the SFMTA unveiled its yearly bicycle count report, which helps the agency make policy and planning decisions because it illustrates where bicycle traffic is highest and where there are opportunities for improvement. This year’s report, which collected data from 2014, unveiled a 206 percent growth in ridership since 2006 at the same 19 intersections. The report is now available online at https://www.sfmta.com/about-sfmta/reports/city-san-francisco-2014-bicycle-count-report.

The agency also recently launched a new Muni pilot program in May which installed three-bike capacity racks on eight Muni buses. These new racks house one more bike than Muni’s current two-bike racks and will help people get to where they need to go by better connecting biking and Muni. As part of a six-month pilot program, customers can share their feedback on the new racks online at http://www.sfmta.com/projects-planning/projects/high-capacity-bike-rack-survey.

“With the support of voters who passed Propositions A and B in November 2014, we are more than doubling our investment in better, safer streets for people biking,” said Ed Reiskin, SFMTA Director of Transportation. “When we make our streets safer for bikes, more people use them, and the streets are safer for all road users. Better bikeways work, and we’re seeing growth in ridership on improved streets like Cesar Chavez, Fell, Oak and Folsom streets.” 

Building better streets for biking is also in support of San Francisco’s Vision Zero goals. The city adopted Vision Zero as a policy in 2014, committing to build better and safer streets, educate the public on traffic safety, enforce traffic laws and adopt policy changes that save lives. The result of this collaborative, citywide effort will be safer, more livable streets as San Francisco works towards the Vision Zero goal of zero traffic fatalities by 2024. For more information, go to: www.visionzerosf.org