The City of Toronto has released their 2010 Bicycle Screenline Report (full report / summary), which is the result of their September 2010 "screenline" bicycle count. The screenline counts all the cyclists entering and leaving the downtown core (bounded by Spadina / Jarvis and Bloor / Queens Quay) in a 12 hour period from 7am to 7pm.
Since this is the first comprehensive count, it will be a baseline from which to measure if the city is meeting its objective of increasing bicycle trips. I was part of previous attempts of counts at various intersection counts throughout the city but the data was never released, presumably because they wanted to set up a more comprehensive collection method.
Some interesting results:
- the western screenline at Spadina has 45% of all bike trips
- 62% were male (higher than I thought but still better than the 70% male typical for North America, where women are more likely put off by unfriendly streets)
- 54% wore a helmet
- very, very few rode on the sidewalk - 5%, and even fewer where a bike lane was present
- only 24% of the roads had bike lanes but they carried 45% of all cyclists (particularly women)
- cyclists greatly prefer arterials: 67% of all the roads (crossing the screenline) are arterial, but carry 94% of bike traffic
- the city set up an automatic counter as well on College, running day and night. It found that 78% of bike traffic took place between 7am and 7pm. If this ratio was applied to the total screenline count the bike trips in/out of downtown could be as high as 41 thousand!
Note to all you politicians who would rather ignore the evidence that cyclists commute to work, that they prefer arterial roads for their directness, that they aren't going anywhere, and instead pretend that they can help cyclists by only focusing on suburban trails (this may come off as unprofessional, but I think you deserve the respect you dish out): f**k you! Yes, and I'm going to single out Rocco Rossi and Rob Ford as the worst offenders. Come up with some real solutions to make conditions safer for cyclists on the routes they already travel on. We're doing the city a service by unclogging the roads of more cars. Stick that in your pipe.
Alison (not verified)
I really think this would beTue, 12/21/2010 - 11:24
I really think this would be more relevant information if they did it every month over at least a year and then did an average daily number. To quote a number in Sept isn't really indicative of overall bike traffic. It doesn't consider that in the summer months there may be a slump (students are out of school) and that most people don't cycle through the winter.
To speak further to the student aspect, there could be a good number who thought "Hey, I'm going to ride my bike this year!" and then maybe didn't like it, or just will get in the habit of other methods of transport over the winter months and won't pick it back up.
This is an interesting study, but it needs to be broader to give a true picture of cyclists in the city!
Heather (not verified)
A slump in the summer months?Tue, 12/21/2010 - 11:52
A slump in the summer months? Are you kidding? Summer is peak time! Students or no students, people ride in the summer for commuting/fun/whatever because the weather is so nice. Also, at least from the people I know, students are not the bulk of the cyclists in Toronto, which seems to be what you're implying. Personally, I didn't cycle as a student - my living quarters were cramped with nowhere to store a bicycle, and I lived so close to campus that it wasn't necessary. I started cycling when I got a job and needed to commute to work. Most of my friends are the same - adults in our thirties who live downtown and cycle to work not because we can't afford a car (like, perhaps, the students) but because cycling is the best way to get around.
Doing this survey every month would definitely be useful. I think the number of winter riders would surprise people. Perhaps some hard data on the dedication of cycling commuters would get everyone, politicians and non-cycling citizens alike, to respect cycling as a means of transportation just as viable as transit or driving.
This study is supposed to actTue, 12/21/2010 - 12:14
This study is supposed to act as a baseline, to be able to compare trends over time. As long as you do the survey the same way every year, the trends ought to be visible. I don't think this study is really about getting absolute numbers of year-round riders.
While I agree that September may well be one of the peak bicycle-riding months (not too hot, not cold and icy), it also makes sense to collect data when you have the most riders, as your statistics improve when you have lots to observe.
It would be worthwhile to do the counts at other times of the year to see if some of the characteristics such as percentage of people using bike-lane routes stays constant over the year.
I would not be surprised if Queen St (non-bike-lane) ridership stays more constant than College St (bike lane) ridership. This would be based on the theory that bike-lanes tend to attract more fair-weather, occasional riders. Of course this is just a theory; it would be nice to see some data to supoort -- or disprove -- it.
dances_with_traffic (not verified)
Interesting, what is with theTue, 12/21/2010 - 18:31
Interesting, what is with the net difference on the west-end.... Maybe Rob Ford is collecting cyclists with the intent to consume them? Eating 3,000 cyclists might cause anybody to gain weight... even if those cyclists are skinny little hipster kids! Perhaps a search party should be mounted.
hamish (not verified)
This isn't the first study -Wed, 12/22/2010 - 00:31
This isn't the first study - there were similar counts three or four times before amanglemation for about the same boundaries. The paper is buried, and it's late, but the results of those earlier studies have shown similar things: there's a LOT of east-west traffic, it's concentrated on the big carterials and the west end especially, and beyond Bathurst, who knows where these cyclists come from.
And in the intervening 15 years the City has done minimal to zilch to make it that set of trips safer.
On busier Harbord, we can't even get the "progressive" Vaughan to put in full bike lanes, and the CU was happy with that, though what's been done is better than nothing.
Similarly, shouldn't we have seen some paint and changes to Arygle St. as part of the tepid West End Bikeways project by now c. 2 years later? and 1.5ish after approvals? And the majority of cyclists wanted something to happen on the main streets, not the circuitous side streets, but te CU and others are OK with the looping indirect milk run routes.
While the College rush hour sharrows are something, it all reminds me of a phrase "paths in our time"... or something like that.
Oh, the old surveys aren't online - fancy that. They exist on something called "paper".
James E (not verified)
I find it interesting thatWed, 12/22/2010 - 07:16
I find it interesting that the BIXI map has it's boundaries pretty much along the same lines as this study: http://toronto.bixi.com//index.php/frontend/news/news_article/61
However, part of the logic that I've heard about the BIXI way of using a bicycle is that BIXI riders would stay within those boundaries, dropping their bike off at another BIXI location when they have gotten to their destination.
That means there is a significant amount of bike traffic within the core downtown area that would never cross those boundaries, and therefore never get counted in the survey.
Eugenics doesn'... (not verified)
Okay I give up, I can'tWed, 12/22/2010 - 09:23
Okay I give up, I can't figure out what CU stands for! Is it a city dept. related to cycling or a city manager of bikes or something?
Eugenics doesn'... (not verified)
James E I would bet a dollarWed, 12/22/2010 - 09:29
James E I would bet a dollar that BIXI is more about new cyclists than existing ones. The system as you describe, picking up and dropping off a bike with no expectation of commute beyond the Bixi station boundaries, isn't much use to someone who brought there own bike to work.
Nevermind that existing cyclists probably make up most if not all Bixi subscribers, and doubtless will use them, as I see it BIXI is all about recruitment.
junc-head (not verified)
CU = cyclists union aka TCUWed, 12/22/2010 - 09:37
CU = cyclists union
Eugenics doesn'... (not verified)
oops okay I'm saying "Duh"Wed, 12/22/2010 - 10:32
oops okay I'm saying "Duh" cause that seems obvious now. Thx!
An additional tidbit isThu, 12/23/2010 - 13:26
An additional tidbit is printed in the Star:
That means that about 7% of the non-ttc commuters are using bikes. The city and its tax payers ought to celebrate the resulting savings in road and parking costs! A bit more difficult to assess are the reduced health costs to the general public - there was less smog to around...
And we don't know whatThu, 12/23/2010 - 14:57
And we don't know what happens outside these hours. Bicycles may have a greater percentage share midday, depending on just how peak-oriented bicycles are versus cars.
On the other hand, the counts are of bicycles and cars. You can't count cars versus bicycles and conclude how many commuters (persons) are taking each mode. I don't expect many tandem bikes to be making the commute, but at least some of the cars will have one or more passengers in addition to the driver.
Sure. There's not enough infoThu, 12/23/2010 - 15:40
Sure. There's not enough info to make precise conclusions. But that doesn't negate the conclusion: the cyclists are doing the city and all those other commuters a big favour.
David Juliusson (not verified)
The bike lanes were notFri, 01/07/2011 - 10:25
The bike lanes were not cleared once again this morning. I ride from Long Branch. Lakeshore Blvd. was cleared right to the very edge of the bike lane. I rode on Birmingham, also not cleared. Neither was Royal York when I passed it. I also rode very small sections of Strachan and Fort York Blvd bike paths. Not cleared.
We need to make complaints about this. I posted a letter from Councillor Grimes office to transportation in which he asked to have the lanes in his ward cleared. Yet it was not done this morning. We need to call 311 and register complaints. The crews are paid to clear all of the road. They are not doing so. They need to be held accountable.
Finally, we need to be ready when transportation tries to axe the clearing of the Martin Goodman Tail from their budget. It will save them $200,000. There are Councillors prepared to fight it. We need them to know we support them.