Report: More People Taking to Bicycles in L.A.

People bicycling in Los Angeles is up 7.5 percent since 2011.

Patch file photo.
Patch file photo.

Originally posted at 11:21 a.m. May 12, 2014. Edited with new details.

The number of people bicycling in Los Angeles is up 7.5 percent since 2011, according to a report out today.

The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition released the results of a six- hour bike count conducted over several days in September 2013.

The count was done at 120 different locations around the city, with volunteers recording a total of 18,000 cyclists.

Bicycle ridership was heaviest during the afternoon and evening commute hours, compared with weekend bicycling and morning commute hours, suggesting that people bicycle mainly for transportation, according to the report.

Bicyclists tend to prefer areas with dedicated bike facilities, such as bike paths and streets with bike lanes, the report suggests.  Following the installation of bike lanes and so-called sharrows -- lanes on minor streets shared by car and bicycle traffic -- bicycling in some areas more than doubled, according to the report.

The report also suggests a gender disparity in bicycle ridership, with female bicyclists making up less than a fifth of the bicyclists counted. The disparity was "lowest on the highest quality bikeway," with the disparity most pronounced "on streets with no bike facilities at all," according to the report.

The report's authors said "cities with streets that are safe and comfortable for bicycling tend to have smaller gender disparities in rates of bicycling," concluding that "when bicycle networks are designed to be both safe and comfortable, people don't need a high risk tolerance to bicycle for everyday transportation."

The report recommends adopting an "8 to 80" standard in the city's 2035 mobility plan that aims to make bicycling accessible and comfortable for people with a wider range of ages from the young to the old.

It also recommends that the city work with the Los Angeles Unified School District to incorporate bike safety into its physical education curriculum.

Another recommendation was to have the city do regular bike and pedestrian counts and to use the data to guide its transportation planning.

Councilman Mike Bonin announced the report's results during the kick-off of Bike Week L.A., a week-long slate of bike-related activities such as a bicycle blessing event and a bike-to-work day on Thursday.

Motorized, solo commutes -- via car, truck or van -- is still easily the most common way to get to work in Los Angeles, with 77.3 percent of the 1.7 million local workers traveling an average of 29.2 minutes to get to work, according to survey results announced last week by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Just 1 percent of all commuters in Los Angeles city commute to work on bikes, which is above the national average of 0.6 percent, according to data collected from the census's 2008-2012 American Community Survey.

This is compared with 11.1 percent of workers who use public transportation and the 3.7 percent who walk to work.

But bicycling is on the rise, according to the census's report, "Modes Less Traveled -- Bicycling and Walking to Work in the United States: 2008- 2012." The report notes that the national rate of bicycle commuting has seen "a larger increase than that of any other commuting mode."

The number of people bicycling to work has increased 60 percent since 2000, from about 488,000 to 786,000, according to the report.

Portland, Oregon has the nation's highest rate of bicycle commuting at 6.1 percent, the report said.

--City News Service



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