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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Bicycle Commuting in Seattle Nearly Doubles in the Last Decade, Up 22 Percent Since 2009

Posted by on Tue, Sep 27, 2011 at 8:19 AM

We've heard anecdotal reports that cycling is up in Seattle (which one attorney says results in more bicycle/car collisions). Well here's data to back it up:

biking_stats_by_city.png
  • Census data, compiled by the League of American Bicyclists

Seattle Bike Blog has stats showing that bicycle commuting saw a 22 percent uptick in Seattle from 2009 to 2010, with Tom Fucoloro explaining that the "data confirms the city’s 2010 downtown bike commute count, which measured an increase of 21.4 percent in the same time period."

Using Census data from 70 cities that was compiled by the League of American Bicyclists—a real thing, apparently, and not a specter dreamed up by Joni Balter—the data show that bike riding in Seattle rose 93 percent between 2000 and 2010. Nationally, we saw only a 39 percent rise over the last decade.

This sort of evidence should give reason to build more protected, or at least clearly delineated, bicycle lanes—not sharrows that terminate directly into opening car doors and bicycle lanes that disappear right where traffic gets bad—so cyclists stop getting hit, right?

 

Comments (34) RSS

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Fnarf 1
Since downtown commuting is such a small percentage of overall commuting, it would be interesting to see how bike commuting is faring to other locations, where most of the jobs are. I doubt there's too many people biking to Factoria, but then again it could be up by three or four times. I don't see bikes on Aurora, of course, but around Wallingford I certainly do.
Posted by Fnarf http://www.facebook.com/fnarf on September 27, 2011 at 8:26 AM · Report this
DOUG. 2
Michael Wang was in a clearly delineated bike lane. So was Bryce Lewis. Improved infrastructure is great, but drivers need to stop hitting people.
Posted by DOUG. http://www.dougsvotersguide.com on September 27, 2011 at 8:39 AM · Report this
3
Well, clearly DOUG has thought this through. As a driver, I never would have considered that I should just stop hitting people. And clearly, drivers are doing this on purpose. I think we have a solution.
Posted by bpinsea on September 27, 2011 at 8:45 AM · Report this
Fifty-Two-Eighty 4
Hitting them with cars is too slow - there's got to be a better way. Poison, maybe?
Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty http://www.nra.org on September 27, 2011 at 8:55 AM · Report this
badstone 5
#1, I feel Philadelphia would have higher numbers than that if all the young bikers in my neighborhood had jobs to ride to.
Posted by badstone on September 27, 2011 at 8:57 AM · Report this
lindsey 6
@Fnarf that's because riding on aurora is a fuckin' deathwish. it's a highway, so there's a lot faster cars and a lot less room for any mistakes. also, depending where on aurora/99 you are, it's really close to the interurban trail, so I'd assume cyclists stick to that.
Posted by lindsey on September 27, 2011 at 8:58 AM · Report this
7
Bike lanes don't help as much as people think. They still have to cross at intersections. Crossing with the cars is safer in many ways because cars are watching out for traffic. Even though Wang was in a bike lane, he was crossing a side street when he got hit.

We can't completely separate cars and bikes because the traffic still has to cross each other.
Posted by garumph on September 27, 2011 at 9:00 AM · Report this
8
@2 says, "...drivers need to stop hitting people."

Doh! Why didn't we think of that? Thanks, DOUG!
Posted by bigyaz on September 27, 2011 at 9:10 AM · Report this
Fnarf 9
@6, yes, I know that. That's what the "of course" is for.

Where is Aurora near any kind of interurban trail?
Posted by Fnarf http://www.facebook.com/fnarf on September 27, 2011 at 9:14 AM · Report this
Ziggity 10
@9: Not until 85th or so, headed north. It's pretty poorly signed for the first 5-10 miles, but it goes up through Everett.

@3: Witnesses said that the driver who hit Michael Wang slowed to a stop and then drove away. Think that was an accident?
Posted by Ziggity on September 27, 2011 at 9:19 AM · Report this
11
There's even more data mounting thanks to the annual bike counts not only in Seattle but also coordinated statewide by Cascade Bicycle Club for WSDOT. As ridiculed here on Slog by Dominic earlier this very month. Different day, different angle, right?
http://slog.thestranger.com/slog/archive…
Posted by gloomy gus on September 27, 2011 at 9:28 AM · Report this
Dominic Holden 12
@11) Read it again, gussy. The post is pretty matter-of-fact. If anything, it ridicules the "war on cars" whiners.
Posted by Dominic Holden on September 27, 2011 at 9:57 AM · Report this
Fnarf 13
@10, oh, that thing. I thought it started in Shoreline. I guess it counts as a commuter route to businesses in the north. Has anyone ever estimated the amount of traffic on it?

Normally I'm opposed to completely segregated trails, which are recreational things, not urban trafficways. Traffic, including bike traffic, should be on streets with urban features, like traffic lights, curb parking, and shops. You know, the stuff that makes a city a city. Also, traffic lights = safer crossing.
Posted by Fnarf http://www.facebook.com/fnarf on September 27, 2011 at 9:58 AM · Report this
Westlake, son! 14
Ridership is way up in Vancouver too. Grade separated bike lanes, who'd a thunk it?
Posted by Westlake, son! on September 27, 2011 at 10:00 AM · Report this
15
Yowch, swing and a miss for "gussy".
Posted by gloomy gus on September 27, 2011 at 10:06 AM · Report this
raku 16
Painted bike lanes and sharrows are a bandaid, we need physically segregated bike lanes. This is one example, but they can be simpler on smaller streets, trails, etc. Cities all over the world have these, and have separate lights or other infrastructure to work at intersections. It's ridiculous we don't have these in Seattle yet:

http://canadianveggie.wordpress.com/2011…

Also, can people stop talking about how people will never bike in hilly Seattle? #2 and #3 on the list are two of the hilliest cities in the country, and half of Portland is very hilly as well.
Posted by raku on September 27, 2011 at 10:21 AM · Report this
DOUG. 17
@3&@8: Yeah, my comment @2 seems obvious, right? Yet almost every driver/cyclist fatality in the state this year (and most years) is the fault of an aggressive or distracted driver. Drivers need stop hitting people.

As for whether or not it's ever done on purpose, we won't know until Michael Wang's killer is found.
Posted by DOUG. http://www.dougsvotersguide.com on September 27, 2011 at 10:26 AM · Report this
ItsAllOverNow 18
Dom I like what you are getting at here but this chart sucks. I assume the right two columns are percentage of residents that are regular bike commuters but I don't really know because it doesn't say anything about them. I realize you didn't clip this section of the original chart yourself but that doesn't excuse you for posting it. Charts that don't convey data clearly just serve to muddle the conversation.

Am I as a reader supposed to click four links deep to find out what these numbers actually mean?

Posted by ItsAllOverNow http://nowaybro.blogspot.com/ on September 27, 2011 at 10:26 AM · Report this
Fnarf 19
I can't get behind "gussy".

@16, I think you mean "one-sixteenth of Portland is very hilly". Portland's pretty flat.
Posted by Fnarf http://www.facebook.com/fnarf on September 27, 2011 at 10:28 AM · Report this
Dominic Holden 20
@19 -- When u roll with gussy control? Now say it, gussy control.
Posted by Dominic Holden on September 27, 2011 at 10:35 AM · Report this
Matt from Denver 21
Anyone wanting to bike parallel to Aurora goes across the Fremont Bridge and up Dexter. I used to see scores of cyclists when I was waiting for the 26 or 28 at Dexter and Nickerson/Westlake. Most of them seemed to be coming from Nickerson, though, not Fremont.
Posted by Matt from Denver on September 27, 2011 at 10:40 AM · Report this
22
I feel a stubborn pride that my first-ever nickname is intended by its creator to be pronounced to rhyme with "pussy".
Posted by gloomy gus on September 27, 2011 at 10:55 AM · Report this
Supreme Ruler Of The Universe 23
Very nice.

I will be a volunteer bike-pedestrian counter this afternoon at 104th and 256th here on Kent East Hill today for Cascade. We do bike counts every year and are always needing people to help out.

Fred Karger '12
http://fredkarger.com
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://www.you-read-it-here-first.com on September 27, 2011 at 11:00 AM · Report this
Supreme Ruler Of The Universe 24
#1

Cascade has county wide figures and here in Kent while the overall numbers are low, there have been increases over the years.

http://cascade.org
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://www.you-read-it-here-first.com on September 27, 2011 at 11:03 AM · Report this
Fnarf 25
@21, you're still thinking of downtown commuters. Most of Aurora is not parallel to Dexter (which is indeed the biggest bike street in the city). Most jobs are not downtown, and, since downtown is by far the most-served bus destination as well, most jobs are not served well by bus routes. These numbers still (possibly) exaggerate the amount of bike commuting.
Posted by Fnarf http://www.facebook.com/fnarf on September 27, 2011 at 11:09 AM · Report this
Matt from Denver 26
@ 25, when I lived up by the old Larry's Market, just half a block from Aurora, I mapped out a route to bike downtown should I need it. It involved riding on Greenwood Ave to Fremont, then cutting over to Fremont at 43rd (just as the # 5 does), and on to Dexter. If I lived in Wallingford, I probably would have taken Stone Way down to 34th, then over to the bridge.

Most jobs might not be downtown, but is there any neighborhood in Seattle with more jobs than downtown?
Posted by Matt from Denver on September 27, 2011 at 11:20 AM · Report this
27
@10, no question driving away from any accident is a complete asshole thing to do - but I would still stand by the concept that he didn't intentionally hit the biker in the first place. Are you seriously thinking that drivers in this town are intentionally hitting bikers? What possible upside could there be to that? And, are drivers so inhuman that hitting someone on a bike doesn't have any emotional impact on them as a person?
Posted by bpinsea on September 27, 2011 at 11:46 AM · Report this
DOUG. 28
@27: "Asshole things to do" include: not tipping your waiter, picking your neighbor's flowers and farting in an elevator. Killing someone and driving away is a slightly higher grade of civil infraction.
Posted by DOUG. http://www.dougsvotersguide.com on September 27, 2011 at 12:29 PM · Report this
29
@28: Accidents are going to happen, despite all the education and enforcement programs you want. After all, accidents happen every day between cars -- ones that are relatively minor between cars but would be serious or even deadly when a cyclist is involved.

The point is, wishing and hoping that drivers will somehow drive better and thus solve this problem is pretty stupid and naive.
Posted by bigyaz on September 27, 2011 at 12:48 PM · Report this
DOUG. 30
I'm not "wishing and hoping" for better driving. I'm wishing and hoping that shitty drivers face serious consequences.

Negligent driving that leads to the death of a person should be punished by YEARS of jail time. Driving and talking with a cell phone in your hand should be a $1000 fine and six month suspension of your license.

Right now the consequences are, "Oh, that poor driver must feel so bad that he killed a guy. That's punishment enough..." Bullshit.
Posted by DOUG. http://www.dougsvotersguide.com on September 27, 2011 at 1:08 PM · Report this
31
@30 So, rational and civil won't work. Clearly you are 100% correct. Drivers are intentionally killing people and then getting off with no real impact on them at all. Bikers are perfect in every way.

I'm done feeding the troll.
Posted by bpinsea on September 27, 2011 at 1:33 PM · Report this
dwightmoodyforgetsthings 32
@31- You were feeding yourself?
Posted by dwightmoodyforgetsthings http://www.reddit.com/r/spaceclop on September 27, 2011 at 3:07 PM · Report this
33
I can't quite get my head wrapped around these statistics. I ride a folding bike on either side of a train ride, and because I take the train, I don't count as a bicycle commuter. Whatever.
Anyway - even though I don't ride for my entire commute, I would appreciate better bike lanes - buffered bike lanes would be magnificent.
Posted by Chris1035 on October 5, 2011 at 8:52 AM · Report this
34
I can't quite get my head wrapped around these statistics. I ride a folding bike on either side of a train ride, and because I take the train, I don't count as a bicycle commuter. Whatever.
Anyway - even though I don't ride for my entire commute, I would appreciate better bike lanes - buffered bike lanes would be magnificent.
Posted by Chris1035 on October 5, 2011 at 8:54 AM · Report this

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