Study: New Yorkers Not Embracing Bikes for Commuting

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Other cities have pulled ahead of New York when it comes to bicycling to work, a new study says, despite a controversial push by Mayor Michael Bloomberg to build bike lanes across the city.

The percentage of New Yorkers commuting by bicycle barely budged between 1990 and 2009, rising from 0.3 percent to 0.6 percent, according to the study by researchers at Rutgers University and Virginia Tech.

In Chicago, the rate increased fourfold during that time. It tripled in Washington, San Francisco and Minneapolis. And in Portland, Ore., the rate went from 1.1 percent to 5.8 percent of commuters.

A New York City spokesman said the study, which relied on data collected by the U.S. Census Bureau, underestimates the number of bike riders.

It does not count commuters who bike fewer than three times a week and also ignores riders who cycle for fun or to school, said Seth Solomonow of the city’s transportation department. He also said the city has added more bike lanes since the last survey was done in 2009.

“Our position is that the Census figures do not count all of the cyclists,” Solomonow said.

Since 2002, the Bloomberg administration has built dozens of new bike lanes across the city. Some residents complain the lanes cause traffic jams, pollution and noise by eliminating space for cars. Some neighborhood activists are fighting in court to have bike lanes removed.

By 2009 New York already had 666 miles of bike lanes and dedicated bike paths, more than any other U.S. city, the report said. Phoenix was second with 468 miles, and Scottsdale, Ariz., had 449 miles, said the study, which was commissioned by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The New York City government says the number of fatal cycling crashes and serious injuries has dropped because of the new bike lanes.

But New York still needs to do more to protect cyclists, said John Pucher, an urban planning professor and co-author of the study. Cars frequently block the bike lanes, and New York authorities have been less aggressive than other cities in launching sting operations against motorists or requiring remedial training classes, he said.

“There’s a lack of law enforcement, both for what drivers are doing as well as cyclists,” Pucher said.

As a result, cycling is still seen as an extreme sport in New York, Pucher said.

That may also explain why fewer women bicycle in New York than in other cities, he said. Only 20 percent of the city’s bicycle commuters are women, compared with 24 percent nationwide and more than 30 percent in places like Chicago, Minneapolis or Washington.

Other studies have shown that women are more cautious cyclists, Pucher said.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Comments

One Comment

  1. LBJ says:

    If you’re interested in letting your government officials know you support bike infrastructure, you should check this out: http://www.montaguebikes.com/folding-bikes-blog/2011/03/people-for-bikes/

  2. Frank Hatchett says:

    Another planted story by CBS designed to attack cycling – I’m surprised Marcia Kramer didn’t cover it on TV standing at Prospect Park West with her pals Marty Markowitz and Chuck Schumer standing by. Why doesn’t it even bother to explore the other counting methods developed by Pucher, NYC DOT, and Transportation Alternatives? When the Times covered this story a year ago, at least they weren’t spinning it for their well-connected friends: http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/04/27/study-questions-number-of-cyclists-in-new-york/

  3. Peter says:

    Get those pedestrians off the road already! They’re clogging up traffic! And where’s my Canal Street Expressway!??! And my mid-Manhattan Expressway!?!?

    Seriously, what about “Rates of Bicycle Commuting have Doubled since 1990” as a headline? Hmm??

  4. M to the I says:

    The data shows that the level of bicycling in New York City doubled. A 3 percent increase in a city of over 8 million people is an increase of almost 250,000 commuters who bicycle to work every day. That means there are half a million daily bicycle commuters, which is about the total population of Portland. And I have a feeling that most of the increase has occurred in the last 5-10 years. So if New York continues to build safe bicycling infrastructure, we will definitely see census figures showing a tripling or quadrupling in the next 10 years.

    1. m to the i says:

      My bad, I used 3 and 6%, not .3 and .6. So it doubled from 25,000 to 50,000 bicycle commuters everday. Still a considerable number who commute daily by bicycle.

      1. Lex says:

        You’ve got to run the numbers again. You multiplied.006 against 8,000,000 people. Not everyone in the city is a commuter. You’ve got to eliminate children, retired people, etc. The actual number of commuters, per the US Census bureau, is 3,731,917. When you multiply it by .006 you get 23,400 daily bike commuters.

        To put that in perspective, over 2 million people take mass transit.

        http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/STTable?_bm=y&-context=st&-qr_name=ACS_2009_1YR_G00_S0801&-ds_name=ACS_2009_1YR_G00_&-CONTEXT=st&-tree_id=308&-redoLog=false&-geo_id=16000US3651000&-format=&-_lang=en

  5. kendra says:

    i think we should condider having more people with bikes on the strets instead of the cars cause i really do think we wont have as many accidents as with the people who like driving and do hit and run…and don,t care about any1 but themselves which can very disheartennin at times living in the city…

  6. SID says:

    LIKE EVERYTHING ELSE THIS TYRANT MAYOR DOES, HE DOES AS HE SEES FIT.
    TO HELL WITH THE PEOPLE. THESE BIKE LANES ARE RUINING THIS CITY AMONG OTHER THINGS. I AM SO TIRED OF THIS LITTLE MAGGOT MAKING DECISIONS FOR ALL OF US WITHOUT HEARING WHAT THE “PEOPLE” HAVE TO SAY.
    PLEASE IMPEACH THIS LITTLE MAN BEFORE ITS TOO LATE

  7. ah says:

    Intelligent comment John- Bike don’t clog traffic- I think the cars do.
    I knew this already from commuting on my bicycle, the husdon river lane is a godsend, but the other lanes I think are poorly planned and I always find a car parked in the bike lanes anyhow. I mostly have issue with pedestrians running out in front of me at green lights and I actually DO stop at the lights.
    I have the same problem when I am driving on my motorcycle I think people have a deathwish and it’s dangerous. Quit blaming bicyclists.
    ALSO every civilized city in the world is making it more accomodating to cyclists so NYC needs to get with the program already. If they insist on raising the subway fares, people especially young new yorkers need a way to get around.

  8. Dan Te says:

    it’s difficult to ride a bike in NYC and too dangerous.

  9. John says:

    Get those bike lanes off the road already! It’s clogging up traffic. Not only that! Those bikers don’t care $#@$ about pedestrians, they just run into you like you always have to yield way for them mf-ers!

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