Last fall the Bicycle Coalition conducted it’s 10th annual on-street bicycle count. With the help of 40 volunteers, we were able to count more than 1700 bicycle users at 18 intersections and bridges during the AM and PM rush hours.
We found that bicycling is still on the increase in Philadelphia, but the upward trend has slowed down. Overall bike traffic was up — from 160 bikes per hour in 2013 to 168 bikes per hour in 2014, a 5 percent year-to-year increase. However, traffic on the Schuylkill River Bridges declined by 5 percent (From 890 to 846 bikes per hour). Most of the loss was due to the 50 percent decline in bike traffic on the Spring Garden Street Bridge.
We believe that the temporary removal of the bike lanes due to the construction has contributed to the decline.
The South Street Bridge remains the busiest bike count location (406 bikes per hour) followed by 13th and Spruce (369 bikes per hour).
The percentage of bicyclists who identify as female continued to increase this year: from 33.7 percent to 34.5 percent. Women also chose to wear a helmet more often than males (64 percent to 47 percent). The type of facility on the street attract differences of gender and behavior, even though most bike trips in the city involve at least some streets with no bike infrastructure. This seems to indicate that better facilities help dictate route choice for some riders even if it is less direct.
Last year’s counts preceded the introduction of Indego bike share which has been averaging about 2,000 trips per day. We look forward to resuming our counts in September to observe how bike sharing impacts everyday bicycling in Philadelphia.