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


MJA May 13, 2014 at 02:48 PM
This survey was done scientifically and honestly but there are a couple people who will dispute it without facts so I agree that the city should do more surveys and I think the critics welcome this too. I've seen more and more people shopping with bikes so I recently bought a sturdy cruiser for $50 on craigslist and started doing my local shopping on it. It takes 4 minutes from my door to Trader Joes door compared to 3-14 minutes depending on traffic jams and parking space hunting (if I can even find one). The more traffic the safer it is so I can just roll past them But if there were bike lanes I would use it more. I park it inside my gate so it's handy and I don't know why I didn't get one before. I know those Lankershim bike racks would get a lot more use if they had a bike lane close by. More bike lanes everywhere will make it safer, more bikes means less cars and and that is what LA needs.
Henry May 13, 2014 at 06:49 PM
I've been a steady rider since Fall 2011. I sold my car to pay rent! In those days I had no problems placing my bike on the bus bike rack (built for 2) or using METROline to get just about anywhere. Today the increase is very-very obvious! Frequently I have to let buses with already packed bike racks go by. And many MetroLine cars are frequently over-jammed with cyclists. I believe the growth is more than 7.5%, closer to 10 - 12% in the period discussed. I especially notice how many more older people (age 55- 60+) are on bikes. On fixed incomes it's crazy to pay gas prices for short trips they tell me...
bill miller May 14, 2014 at 07:22 PM
Being able to get anything done on a bike, and not just using one for leisure fun riding, has so much to do with where one lives, the flats or hills, how close or far to amenities, and job, retired or working, going to just one office for the whole day or have to get to a variety of appointments, as so many here in the entertainment industry have to..actors, writers, etc, and those in real estate, etc. .. many people do not just go to one office and sit there all day.. if one has kids, family, if one is just shopping for one person, or for a family, just one bag from Trader Joe's or stuff for a whole family, stuff for the house from OSH, etc. While I do not deny or intrude upon those who can function with just their bikes,and let them live their lives to choose freely their mode of transportation, I really wish this aggressive nazi like push about everyone riding bikes would cease and desist, and there would be mutual respect and allow others the freedom to live how they must, and if they need their cars to live here, so be it. And on days such as these, of ninety degree and hotter weather, I am grateful I am a Hollywood HILLS homeowner/resident, I have an air conditioned car, and I am one that does need my car to live, to work, to drive to my classes,to drive my kids to their after school activities, to drive to community meetings, to shop, and to basically raise my family in L.A. I have a pretty full life without my bike. We ride out on the bike path at the ocean, from from Malibu to Redondo Beach and back on our days off from work and that is just fine with me.
MJA May 14, 2014 at 09:30 PM
Bill, I hope I don't frighten you with this reply but "aggressive nazi push" is hardly a fit discription. The bike lanes are only paint on the ground and they are way overdue. I don't know where you get your news but I've got some guesses. In the real world if you can't or don't want to ride one then other bike riders don't care. We just want to ride with a safe space from the cars and if we get safe lanes we wont be in a car in front of you and your buisy schedule. Nothing to be afraid of. It's a WIN WIN. We're not showing off, we're not putting you down. Please reply and give us the link where your fears started. By the way I drive a truck also, most bike riders that I know in LA have cars as well.
Yes but I see your point MJA but bikes are not win for North HOllywood how are you supposed ride your bike to work if you are any actors plus you sweet on a bike and you would be all gross for the job a espliy if you are a real estae agent and you are show an open house. Like I said but the bike lane on VIneland which is safer for all bike riders.


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