Official SF bike count shows big increase, but not big enough to meet city goals

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New separated green bike lanes have helped make cycling safer and more attractive in SF.
Courtesy of SFBC

As anyone who has traveled the streets of San Francisco knows, there’s an increasing number of bicyclists out there. And the just-released biennial bike count from San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency attempts to quantify that increase: 14 percent since 2011.

The agency counted bikes at 51 key intersections around the city during the afternoon/evening commute from Sept. 10-19, counting a total of 23,225 bikes. Comparing 40 counted intersections in 2011, that’s a 14 percent increase; or a 96 percent increase since 2005 when comparing the 20 intersections measured then.

The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition trumpeted the report as good news, including in its press release this quote from Mayor Ed Lee: “Every year we are seeing more people riding a bicycle in San Francisco, and the latest bicycle count data proves it.” And SFBC Executive Director Leah Shahum said, “It’s clear that if we build it, they will come. No other mode of transportation is growing as fast or has a higher return on investment in terms of improving our city for everyone.”

But the reality is that the city is lagging far behind its own stated goals to make cycling a safer and more attractive transportation options, largely because of a severe underinvestment in its cycling network. The report notes that the city has invested $3.3 million in its bike network since 2011, but that was mostly playing catch-up from when a court injunction stalled all bike projects in the city for four years.

The SFMTA report doesn’t calculate the critical number in terms of how we’re really doing — transportation mode share, or the percentage of overall vehicle trips taken by bike — an estimate it is now working on in a separate study.

An American Community Survey in 2012 put SF bike mode share at less than 4 percent, which is a far cry from the 20 percent by 2020 that is the city’s official goal, one it has little chance of meeting without a serious increase in infrastructure investment and other changes. The SFMTA’s own stated goal is 8-10 percent mode share by 2018, the result of failure to make needed investments, which amounts to an admission that the city’s official goal is little more than political pandering.

“We’re still moving forward on all the goals that we set to accomplish, but we do have have funding needs,” SFMTA spokesperson Paul Rose told us, insteading emphasizing the agency’s goal of attaining a 50-50 split between private automobile use and all other modes of transportation, including Muni and cycling.

The SFBC has worked in close partnership with the city, but the continuation of Shaham’s quote in her press release also indicates that she’d like to see the city doing more to promote safe cycling: “It’s time for the City to truly invest in our bicycle network, and ensure that our City’s streets are welcoming and comfortable for the growing number of people riding.”

Comments

"Might want to try that sober next time Mattie."

You'd get the same result either way. It's loco. It's STILL possessed by "progressives" and can't afford an exorcism apparently.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 13, 2013 @ 3:31 am

Whatever rhetorical idiotic non sense that works today is a go with you you people.

Posted by Matlock on Dec. 13, 2013 @ 12:52 pm

In the Wizard of Oz, Miss Gulch owns half the county yet she was riding a bike when she came to confiscate Toto, not to mention in the tornado. Clearly wealthy middle aged people rode bikes at some point in US history.

Posted by marcos on Dec. 12, 2013 @ 9:03 pm

Most cyclists in San Francisco don't wear spandex/lycra, and you would know that IF you lived here. We wear jeans (that's what I wear), office slacks, cargo shorts, leg warmers and skirts. Spandex/lycra seems to be a sexual turn-on for you as much as you go on about it. Why don't you write a sex ad looking for someone who is also into lycra and then you can work through your fetish with that person using spandex/lycra. All sorts of things you could do with it I would imagine. That should do it for you and then we wouldn't have to hear anymore about this spandex/lycra obsession you've got going. Hope this helps.

Posted by GuestInTheCastro on Dec. 12, 2013 @ 9:10 pm

More ignorance. Damn. You never get out do you? If you did, you would hear the number of bikes on our streets in need of repair that people can't afford to have repaired. I'm one of them. There's a sound that bikes have when they need to be taken in for repair (it has to do with the chain and gearing system) and I'm hearing a lot of clunky bikes out there with the same problem my clunky bike is having. I can't afford to take mine in right now and apparently many other people are in my same situation. So you can stop with this "Yuppie pastime and status symbol bull shit" fantasy of yours. There's nothing "Yuppie or status symbol" about a clunky bike that's making clunking noises. Idiot.

Posted by GuestInTheCastro on Dec. 12, 2013 @ 9:21 pm

They don't pat cr_p! They should have to pay to get a permit as far as I'm concerned.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 16, 2013 @ 10:34 am

In 2011 (the latest data available) U.S. governments spent $206 billion on roads and motorists drove 2,946 billion miles, so roadway costs averaged about 7.0¢ per mile. During that same year motorists paid $127 billion in road user fees, which averages 4.3¢ per mile – the remaining 2.7¢ spent on roads is from general taxes. A typical motorist who drives 12,000 annual miles imposes $840 in roadway costs, pays $516 in roadway user fees and $224 in general taxes spent on roadways. Non-drivers tend to travel less, people who rely primarily on bicycling for transportation typically ride 3 to 6 miles per day or 1,000 to 2,000 annually. If their costs are an order of magnitude smaller than automobile travel (0.7¢ per mile), a typical cyclist imposes $7 to $14 in roadway costs, and pays $224 in general taxes toward roadways, a significant overpayment.

google any of the above and you'll get the link I pulled it from. sfbg won't let me put a URL in the comments

Posted by El Dedo on Dec. 16, 2013 @ 9:04 am

It's all about Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. isn't it? Self-absorbed freeloaders.

You wouldn't have to share the road with a bunch of freeloaders like yourself if you and other freeloaders would get off the road out of your big-assed vehicles.

Your big ass won't fit on a bicycle seat? Tough luck toots.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 12, 2013 @ 5:41 pm

Cars ain't going nowhere, so get used to it.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 12, 2013 @ 5:56 pm

In 2011 (the latest data available) U.S. governments spent $206 billion on roads and motorists drove 2,946 billion miles, so roadway costs averaged about 7.0¢ per mile. During that same year motorists paid $127 billion in road user fees, which averages 4.3¢ per mile – the remaining 2.7¢ spent on roads is from general taxes. A typical motorist who drives 12,000 annual miles imposes $840 in roadway costs, pays $516 in roadway user fees and $224 in general taxes spent on roadways. Non-drivers tend to travel less, people who rely primarily on bicycling for transportation typically ride 3 to 6 miles per day or 1,000 to 2,000 annually. If their costs are an order of magnitude smaller than automobile travel (0.7¢ per mile), a typical cyclist imposes $7 to $14 in roadway costs, and pays $224 in general taxes toward roadways, a significant overpayment.

www .fhwa.dot.gov/policyinformation/statistics/2011/hf10.cfm

[remove space after www]

Posted by El Dedo on Dec. 12, 2013 @ 5:12 pm
Posted by Guest on Dec. 12, 2013 @ 5:34 pm

no children are they over paying in taxes?

This is the fail in all of this.

If I'm supposed to pay the rights fetish for arms, and I'm supposed to pay the lefts hobo obsession, why is it unfair for bike riders to pay for roads?

This is such a comical leftist mcguffin, you are not paying your fare share for your choices, but it is fare for you to pay for other people's choices.

A "liberal" can be an apologist for welfare rats breeding out one kid after another because we are all in this together, even though that second level welfare rat will consume endless amounts of green house gasses over its lifetime.

The comical double standard of our "liberal" idiots.

Posted by Matlock on Dec. 12, 2013 @ 6:57 pm

You respond to a fact based study with a string of ad hominem attacks.

I am taking it then that you don't have any facts of your own to bring to the debate?

Posted by GlenParkDaddy on Dec. 14, 2013 @ 1:48 pm

Your whole conceptual framework is a fail.

Only drivers need to pay the costs of their driving in your world, anyone doing something unPC needs to pay the full costs of whatever they do.

I'm ignoring your numbers because they don't matter.

Are you paying the full costs in taxes for everything you do? If you have a kid you certainly are not.

You get an F in thinking skills today.

Posted by gust on Dec. 15, 2013 @ 1:56 pm

That's great, El Dedo, thanks.

So just to be clear, people who don't drive a car have no interest in roads.

They don't require roads to get food delivered to the local store, or to have garbage removed from their homes. They don't need roads for fire, police and ambulance services. They don't buy anything online that would have to be delivered by UPS and they never own anything that weighs over 50 pounds.

So the only people who use roads are the people who drive cars, so they should pay the full bill.

Thanks for the helpful substantiation, El Dedo

Posted by Guest on Dec. 12, 2013 @ 9:12 pm

"Vehicle owners don't pay their share, I want bike lane and a pony"

Posted by Matlock on Dec. 12, 2013 @ 9:38 pm
LOL

if that is all you got from that then you might want to take a reading comprehension class. But don't do it in a public school please. I don't want to pay for your ignorance.

Posted by El Dedo on Dec. 16, 2013 @ 9:09 am

The amortized cost of road use to non motorists is divided amongst everyone who consumes the goods moved by road.

This fractional share of cost per road use unit is dwarfed by the whole cost of a single occupancy vehicle.

Posted by marcos on Dec. 16, 2013 @ 9:47 am

In 2011 (the latest data available) U.S. governments spent $206 billion on roads and motorists drove 2,946 billion miles, so roadway costs averaged about 7.0¢ per mile. During that same year motorists paid $127 billion in road user fees, which averages 4.3¢ per mile – the remaining 2.7¢ spent on roads is from general taxes. A typical motorist who drives 12,000 annual miles imposes $840 in roadway costs, pays $516 in roadway user fees and $224 in general taxes spent on roadways. Non-drivers tend to travel less, people who rely primarily on bicycling for transportation typically ride 3 to 6 miles per day or 1,000 to 2,000 annually. If their costs are an order of magnitude smaller than automobile travel (0.7¢ per mile), a typical cyclist imposes $7 to $14 in roadway costs, and pays $224 in general taxes toward roadways, a significant overpayment.

http ://www .fhwa.dot.gov/policyinformation/statistics/2011/hf10.cfm

[remove spaces between http and www]

Posted by El Dedo on Dec. 12, 2013 @ 5:13 pm

Thanks, El Dedo, for factual information, not just opinion. The link is really helpful. Ignore the negative comments that take no note of your contribution. I read the comment section to learn more, and your comment helps anyone genuinely interested in modifying his or her opinion based on facts.

Posted by voltairesmistress on Dec. 13, 2013 @ 12:53 pm

The survey was done in Sept. usually the weather in the year. Why not take the same survey in January. It also was conducted on the busiest street Do a survey on Alameny Blvd. where two lanes were removed and maybe 10 bikes a day ride in the bike lanes. Total waste of resources and added congestion.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 12, 2013 @ 5:22 pm

difference between the number of cyclists when it is warm and dry, and when it is cold and wet.

There are some who are out in all weathers, but most SF cyclists are clearly fair weather souls.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 12, 2013 @ 5:35 pm

"As anyone who has traveled the streets of San Francisco knows, there’s an increasing number of bicyclists out there."

Yes I've noticed that, especially around Sánchez y Market Streets. Often there will be several cyclists there waiting for the light to change to cross Market. And since I ride at night at this time of year I've noticed more colorful lights on people's bikes and bike tires helping cyclists to be seen. And very pretty. Nice to see. Thanks for the article.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 12, 2013 @ 5:27 pm

6th and 7th.

A bike rider was yelling at the driver for driving down the bike lane, then the bike rider rode through the red light past the people waiting for him to go by without running them over.

Living in the dreamland of progressivism is a thankless job.

Perhaps the citizens who progressives disdain don't want to ride bikes.

Posted by Matlock on Dec. 12, 2013 @ 6:04 pm

would increase the number of cyclists dramatically. We need to be brave and take that step forward - our health and the health of the planet depend on us.

We are the future and you are the past. Deal with it.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 12, 2013 @ 6:07 pm

And maybe ban all private enterprise while you are at it?

Posted by Guest on Dec. 12, 2013 @ 6:20 pm

Why not ban those which cause so much harm - private automobiles? Imagine the money we'd save in road repair, the pace of life would be more leisurely, small animals and cyclists would be safe, children wouldn't have to worry about being run over, storm runoff would no longer be polluted with petroleum products etc... The benefits would be enormous.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 12, 2013 @ 6:39 pm

one thing. Banning the principal mode of family transportation in Sf is a non-starter.

This is the problem with the left. Instead of seeking achievable goals and ending up with at least some of what you want, you go for broke and end up with nothing.

The art of politics is compromize.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 12, 2013 @ 7:04 pm

Private automobile ownership will soon be a thing of the past. Public transport and cycling are the wave of the future.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 12, 2013 @ 10:59 pm

16 million new cars sold in 2013.

And we will all be driving in another 40 years.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 13, 2013 @ 8:45 am

Not with unions running crap transportation like BART and MUNI

Posted by Guest on Dec. 20, 2013 @ 3:18 pm

Translation of that lofty mess: Give the conservatives/right-wing whatever they want and call it "compromise" or "bipartisanship."

I've seen that happen repeatedly. Your newspeak is very transparent. One no longer falls for that shit.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 13, 2013 @ 3:38 am

Ask for everything and you will probably get nothing.

Politics is the art of the compromize.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 13, 2013 @ 2:42 pm

Conservatives love it when liberals negotiate themselves down into nothingness before negotiating with conservatives.

Posted by marcos on Dec. 14, 2013 @ 9:27 pm

That regular liberals are conservative?

Posted by Matlock on Dec. 14, 2013 @ 1:10 pm

I've always been somewhat sympathetic to "cyclists" but my opinion recently changed as I acquired a bike. To be honest, I had been on the fence about getting one for several years. I don't agree with the poster above that the sweet spot for biking is trips that are 5-10 miles.

The real sweet spot is 1-3 miles, the trips most of us, even the car drivers, do quite regularly.

I am not white, but I am a female tech worker. Over the past couple of years I have noticed a lot more bike lanes in my city. And with that a lot more people biking. With baskets, trailers, and child seats. At the grocery store, the farmers market, the street festival.

I am on the bandwagon, since I think more people would bike if there was better, and safer infrastructure. I am happy to ride on a quiet street (bicycle boulevard) with minimal traffic. I would love to ride in a protected lane, but we don't have those yet (in Oakland). SF is too scary for me to bike ride when I am visiting. Crazy cab drivers. Speeding cars and Muni all make it feel too unsafe to ride when I am visiting. I'd rather walk.

I think bike share could be a good opportunity if it was expanded to more areas. Also, we focus quite a lot on people commuting by bike, but there is a much larger opportunity to focus on people biking for life. You may not have much flexibility on your trip to work, due to transit availability and so on. I'd gather that the vast majority of bay area residents live within 3 miles of their favorite grocery store, drug store, park, farmers market, coffee shop, park etc. And converting the short trips to bike rides would also help with congestion and pollution. Most of us take a lot of trips in the car, that aren't for work.

Posted by Jame on Dec. 13, 2013 @ 12:16 pm

"I think more people would bike if there was better, and safer infrastructure."

no.

Posted by Matlock on Dec. 13, 2013 @ 12:57 pm

More people would bike if it were safer, infrastructure that makes cycling safer encourages more people to ride.

Posted by marcos on Dec. 13, 2013 @ 1:23 pm

Extra congestion, delays and parking shortages for autos.

It's not a free lunch.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 13, 2013 @ 2:41 pm

I've always been somewhat sympathetic to "cyclists" but my opinion recently changed as I acquired a bike. To be honest, I had been on the fence about getting one for several years. I don't agree with the poster above that the sweet spot for biking is trips that are 5-10 miles.

The real sweet spot is 1-3 miles, the trips most of us, even the car drivers, do quite regularly.

I am not white, but I am a female tech worker. Over the past couple of years I have noticed a lot more bike lanes in my city. And with that a lot more people biking. With baskets, trailers, and child seats. At the grocery store, the farmers market, the street festival.

I am on the bandwagon, since I think more people would bike if there was better, and safer infrastructure. I am happy to ride on a quiet street (bicycle boulevard) with minimal traffic. I would love to ride in a protected lane, but we don't have those yet (in Oakland). SF is too scary for me to bike ride when I am visiting. Crazy cab drivers. Speeding cars and Muni all make it feel too unsafe to ride when I am visiting. I'd rather walk.

I think bike share could be a good opportunity if it was expanded to more areas. Also, we focus quite a lot on people commuting by bike, but there is a much larger opportunity to focus on people biking for life. You may not have much flexibility on your trip to work, due to transit availability and so on. I'd gather that the vast majority of bay area residents live within 3 miles of their favorite grocery store, drug store, park, farmers market, coffee shop, park etc. And converting the short trips to bike rides would also help with congestion and pollution. Most of us take a lot of trips in the car, that aren't for work.

Posted by Jame on Dec. 13, 2013 @ 12:21 pm

That makes them marginal for most peoples' commuting needs.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 13, 2013 @ 2:40 pm

The biking opportunity isn't limited to just commuting. Also, once you are 5-10 miles that puts your at risk for getting sweaty, needing different clothing etc, which is one of the huge drawbacks for biking to work. Maybe you want to bike 20 miles a day to get to work, but I don't. I don't have time to bring 2 outfits, change my clothing, etc. Besides, 10 miles on a bike, following the traffic laws could easily take 45-60 minutes.

Also, another stat says 70% of workers in the Bay Area work within 3 miles of a BART or Caltrain station.... easy biking distance for most people, in their normal clothing.

Most car trips are the ones you do outside of going to work. Also ones well suited to converting to bike. We have lots of long distance commuters here in the Bay Area. People with 15+ mile commutes aren't going to bike the whole way, but a percentage is open to train/bus/BART/etc + bike to finish up the last mile.

Posted by Jame on Dec. 13, 2013 @ 4:02 pm

would not have a rush hour on the roads.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 13, 2013 @ 4:15 pm

Most trips (stores, etc) are less than 3 miles. If we reduced the number of these trips and rode bikes, there would be less pollution and we would be in better shape.

Posted by Richmondman on Dec. 13, 2013 @ 7:12 pm

Let's get a dedicated bike land the entire length of Market. And Mandatory helmet laws - bikes on the streets should be subject to the requirements as motorcycles.

Posted by Richmondman on Dec. 13, 2013 @ 7:10 pm

Although there may be an increase in bike riders there is a decrease in support for the bicycle coalition, and the public is fed up with the MTA dictates. Muni riders are up in arms over plans to cut major Muni lines. Even the MTA Board and the Planning Commissioners are questioning some of there plans. SFMTA wants 3 billion dollars more out of our pockets. Get real! Time to send those people packing. Help us by signing the Stop SFMTA petition. We managed to stop the expansion of parking meters with the help of all your support, now we are on to the next battle. All your comments go directly to the city officials. Your identity is private. Let the city officials know how you feel about the road diets and what you think of SFMTA's parking management and traffic ticket appeals process: http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/stop-sfmta-san-francisco

Posted by Guest on Dec. 14, 2013 @ 2:13 am

muni workers on at-will, hourly contracts with no benefits.

IOW, make their staff competitive with the private sector, and let the private sector compete with Muni so that the consumer has choice.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 14, 2013 @ 2:01 pm

Yeah, you always want to take others peoples money BUT NEVER WORK FOR YOU R OWN MONEY.... LOSER

Posted by Guest on Dec. 20, 2013 @ 3:16 pm

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