Across the U.S., cities are listening to local requests for safe places to ride and building more and better bike lanes. And in response, more people are riding. Bike count data shows that building lanes encourages more people to ride.
A 2016 study of Calgary, Canada found a 95% increase in the number of weekday bike trips in the three months after the introduction of a bike network, underscoring the importance of a robust, linked bike network as part of any city’s cycling strategy. A 2014 study of bike infrastructure in Austin, Chicago, Portland, OR, San Francisco, and Washington, DC showed that adding protected bike lanes increased ridership on that street by 21% to 171%.
A 2016 report on the 300 South/Broadway protected bike lane in Salt Lake City found a 30% increase in cyclists, with anecdotal reports suggesting increased use by families and casual cyclists. In New York City, in close consultation with community organizations, the Department of Transportation began a rapid expansion of the bike lane network in 2007, building 431 miles of bike lanes, including 40 miles of protected lanes, over the following seven years.
The number of daily cyclists in New York City doubled over that time period and increased four-fold from 2000 to 2013. In addition, the Citi Bike bike share program, which launched in 2013, adds up to 56,000 cyclists daily. When it comes to bike share, ensuring that there are safe places to ride is essential to ridership. Cities that invest significantly in cycling infrastructure prior to, or while, rolling out bike share systems have seen the largest increases in ridership.