Toronto’s First Count of Downtown Cyclists (Sept. 2010)

Update: see previous posts – November 19, 2010 – Toronto’s Dangerous Streets, November 8, 2010 Week Long Pedestrian Safety Campaign/Blitz, September 23, 2010 Back to School 2 Week Campaign – 2010 Results, August 26, 2010 Police Lay 400 Charges Against Cyclists/Pedestrians, May 11, 2010 Cell Phone Ban has Netted Thousands of Tickets in Toronto, March 29, 2010 Toronto’s Zero-Tolerance Bicycle Blitz, February 7, 2010 JayWalking Tickets, November 16, 2009 Most Dangerous Intersections for Pedestrians – Toronto (2008), October 29, 2010 Driver Reading Book Charged with Careless Driving

see the source – Toronto Star

Toronto’s first count of downtown cyclists revealed that about 19,000 people entered the city core on bikes on a typical September weekday. Whether 19,000 is an impressive number depends on whom you ask.

“Nineteen thousand is a huge number of cyclists. We’re really happy with the sheer volume,” said John Mende, the city’s director of transportation infrastructure management.

“I might have guessed higher,” said urban cycling advocate and consultant Yvonne Bambrick. “But that’s me — all I see is bikes, bikes, bikes everywhere.”

Unsurprisingly, downtown cyclists preferred bike lanes to mixed traffic. While only 24 per cent of the streets monitored for the count offered bike lanes, 45 per cent of the cyclists counted used those streets.

Counters manually recorded the number of cyclists passing Bloor St. in the north, Queens Quay in the south, Spadina Ave. in the west and Jarvis St. in the east over one 12-hour period. They also noted each cyclist’s sex and helmet use.

Compared with the number of cars downtown, of course, the number of bicycles is minuscule. The city does not have car numbers exactly comparable to the bicycle numbers it recently gathered, but a 2006 count showed 109,000 vehicles entering a larger downtown area between 7 a.m. and 10 a.m. The number of cyclists entering the smaller downtown area used in 2010 during the same hours was 7,655.

As in most cities, the majority of cyclists (62 per cent) were male. On the streets with bike lanes, however, the male-female split was markedly smaller (59 to 41) than on streets without bike lanes (64 to 36).

The count, intended to assist transportation planners, revealed interesting geographic patterns. Most notably, the west end appears to be a cycling hotbed. Forty-five per cent of cyclists entering and exiting the downtown core rode past the western measurement boundary at Spadina, versus 31 per cent at Jarvis and 20 per cent at Bloor.

The city plans to conduct the count annually, at least, and to eventually count cyclists outside of the downtown core.

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