The same count also showed a 40 percent decline in July 2012 compared to July 2011.
SDOT recently released bike count data comparing the beginning of 2012 to data collected in 2011, the first year the city started using a more modern and theoretically accurate method than the previous volunteer-based method.
Overall, adding January, May and July data together, biking appears to have grown 4.7 percent compared to 2011. But I am skeptical of giving these numbers much weight, given the dramatic swings in bike count numbers from month-to-month.
SDOT wrote on their blog that “it will take another year or so of trip counts to make reliable conclusions regarding some of the fluctuations.” The camera-based system is relatively new, so hopefully next year’s results will give us an idea of which data points are outliers, either by freak chance or collection error.
Hopefully, these bike counts and the upcoming Fremont Bridge Bike Counter will provide the city with good data on the effect of weather on bicycling numbers. Weather is often cited as an impediment to cycling, so it would be good to have some solid data on this. You can see SDOT’s analysis of the effect of rainy weather on bike counts. Again, I will probably need to see more data before I know how much weight to give these counts.
SDOT has posted the raw 2012 Citywide Bicycle Count data on the Bicycle Data website. If you’re into that kind of thing, go poke around and see if you can find anything interesting. And, of course, let us know all about it in the comments below!
SDOT now has an analysis of the bicycle count data collected in Seattle for the winter, spring and summer of 2012 that can be compared to data for the same periods in 2011. This data will help planners select the best ways to make it easier to travel in Seattle by bicycle.
According to the counts up to this point, the total number of bike trips in 2012 has increased 4.6 percent compared to the number of bike trips in 2011. (See the chart and tables below.) Other trends are also beginning to emerge, although it will take another year or so of trip counts to make reliable conclusions regarding some of the fluctuations.
So far the data clearly show that weather and large roadway construction projects are major factors that affect the number of bike trips. Also, it appears that fewer trips are taken on a day that is next to a holiday (the day before the 4th of July), apparently because many people are taking vacation and therefore not riding to work.
The number of trips varies greatly from day to day and month to month, and not all of this variation appears to be caused by the weather, construction, or proximity to a holiday. The counts to be taken in the fall of 2012 and the counts that will be made in 2013 will help us learn more about what causes these variations.
Also, a new bicycle counter will be installed in September at the north end of the Fremont Bridge to automatically count passing bicyclists. This will provide data at this location 365 days a year, which will also help planners identify other factors that influence how many trips are made.
The quarterly counts are part of the National Bicycle and Pedestrian Documentation Project. Under this program, a total of approximately 600 counts are taken at 50 locations city-wide once each season. To see the map of count locations, a tabulation of the counts by location and also by weather conditions (dry vs wet) and further information about the bicycle count program, see SDOT’s Bike Data page .