City of San Francisco Issues Five-Year State of Cycling Report
Report Shows Huge Growth in Ridership and Support for Better Biking/Highlights Need for More Improvements and How SF is Falling Behind Other Cities
SAN FRANCISCO — Today, the City of San Francisco released its 2012 State of Cycling Report. The report, published every five years, tracks data regarding the number of people bicycling, as well as issues findings on public opinions about bicycling.
The comprehensive report, published by the SF Municipal Transportation Agency, shows significant growth in the number of people bicycling for transportation; strong public support for adding greater bicycling infrastructure, with a preference for physically separated bikeways; and the potential to invite more people to bike through more separated bikeways and education programs. (Key findings highlighted below.)
“The report confirms what we are seeing on the streets – that more people are bicycling every day in San Francisco, from tech employees riding to work to parents shepherding kids to school,” says Leah Shahum, Executive Director of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, a 12,000-member based group promoting bicycling for everyday transportation.
The Report also reveals how far San Francisco has to go to be a truly safe and comfortable city for bicycling. While the overall percentage of people biking is higher than most cities (3.5%), San Francisco is still miles away from its official City goal of 20% of trips by 2020. When compared with other cities, the State of Cycling Report shows that San Francisco is falling behind other cities in commitment to better biking.
“While City leaders should celebrate the good news in the State of Cycling Report, they also have reason for concern as San Francisco risks falling behind other major U.S. cities that are committing more fully and quickly to growing and improving bicycling,” says Shahum.
Chicago’s Mayor Rahm Emanuel has championed a new plan – Streets for Cycling 2020 — committing to the installation of 100 miles of separated bikeways over the next four years; NYC’s plan calls for 1,800 bike-lane miles by 2030; and Los Angeles County is planning for over 800 miles of new bike lanes in the next 20 years. Yet the City of San Francisco has yet to release a plan of how to reach the official goal of 20% of trips by 2020.
Additionally, San Francisco ranks 18th in per capita funding to bicycle and pedestrian projects, with $2.55 spent per person, which is far below Washington D.C. ($9.82), Minneapolis ($9.47), Sacramento ($8.45), and Oakland ($4.95). (Source: Alliance for Biking & Walking, “Bicycling and Walking in the United States, 2012 Benchmarking Report”)
“There is no doubt that the City’s increased investment in creating more dedicated biking space on our streets, especially physically separated bikeways, is yielding positive results by encouraging more people to start riding,” says the SF Bicycle Coalition’s Shahum. “The question now is whether the City will maximize this low-cost, high-benefit opportunity by committing more fully and quickly to building out a network of safe, comfortable bikeways that connect every neighborhood and commercial corridor.”
“The state of bicycling in San Francisco is indeed strong,” says Shahum, “but it can and should be much stronger by connecting our city more quickly with great bikeways and welcoming more people to biking with a robust bikeshare program and great bike parking options. Making San Francisco a more bike-friendly place will help our city be even more successful in reaching our goals of growing jobs locally and improving our overall accessibility, sustainability and public health.”
Major Findings of the 2012 State of Cycling Report include:
- The number of people biking in San Francisco has increased a dramatic 71% in the last five years, with some neighborhoods seeing growths of more than 120%.
- San Francisco is third in the nation for ridership, behind Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington. San Francisco currently has 3.5% of trips by bicycle, compared to the 2.1% five years ago. (This data is from the ACS/spell out, which is actually believed to undercount the number of people biking, as it only counts commute trips.)
- Bicycle ridership is growing because of public outreach, bicycle education programs, and key infrastructure advances, like the new separated bikeways on JFK Drive, Cargo Way and Cesar Chavez Street.
- In the last five years, more than 25 miles of bike lanes have been added, bringing the citywide total to 65 miles.
- Since 2008, there has been a statistically significant decrease in sidewalk bicycle riding, with 94% of people riding legally (not on the sidewalks and the right direction)
- Many people who do not bike already indicated that they don’t bike because they feel unsafe riding next to cars.
- 94% of survey respondents said they feel comfortable riding on bikeways that are physically separated from cars.
- Continued and expanded bicycle education classes will help encourage more people to try bicycling and to feel confident biking in San Francisco.