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Fremont Bridge bike counter records 900,985 bike trips in first year

Screen Shot 2013-10-12 at 10.49.36 AMIn its first full year of operation, the Fremont Bridge bike counter recorded 900,985 trips across the bridge.

As might be expected, July was the bikiest month of the year with 117,974 trips, but May, June and August all clocked in around the 100,000 mark. October, September and April all clocked in between 70,000 and 80,000.

December is the only month to dip below 40,000, but that is largely due to holiday travels and the lack of work commutes in the second half of the month, a trend seen in all urban travel modes.


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Here’s a graph of the monthly breakdown (note: October is split into two sections, since the counter began operating October 11, 2012):

Screen Shot 2013-10-14 at 11.42.31 AMSo, as a general rule, the four least bikey months (November through February) see half as many people biking as the four most bikey months (May through August). March, April, September and October split the difference.

That means half of you bike no matter the season or weather. This is actually higher than I had expected, and is certainly higher than many people seem to think (ever heard someone argue against bike projects because “nobody bikes for half the year when it’s rainy?” Not True!)

It also suggests that we have a lot of room to boost these winter cycling numbers, since maybe the rain and brisk weather isn’t as big an impediment as we had thought.

I was definitely intimidated by winter cycling at first. But once I got into the habit of biking every day no matter the weather (and bought warm gloves!), I found that my bike rides actually made me happy and shielded me from dreary moods that can come with too many gray days in a row.

Notice anything else interesting about the year of Fremont bike data? Let us know in the comments below.


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16 responses to “Fremont Bridge bike counter records 900,985 bike trips in first year”

  1. Breadbaker

    May Bike to Work Month works! May exceeded both August and June.

    1. Matt Cunningham

      There is a spike in November as well…hard to say for sure, but UW has a commute challenge in November called Ride in the Rain that could be responsible in part for it.

  2. Gordon

    The fact that half of people who ride bikes, continue to ride despite the drizzly weather is very exciting news.

  3. Matt

    We need to stop comparing our “winter” weather to San Diego and start remembering that the majority of the rest of the country is significantly significantly worse in the winter. I remember when I moved here from Chicago in February…I had not experienced a day above 35 degrees in nearly 5 months and forgot what the grass looked like! It’s time to stop complaining about or incredibly mild weather every chance we get and intimidating people from riding. Let’s be more positive and get a lot more out there this winter!

    1. Sea

      Not to mention, who are these people who aren’t commuting for half the month of December? I get exactly one day off that month (the 25th) and I’ll still be on my bike.

      1. Tom Fucoloro

        Family trips, school vacations, people taking extra vacation time because their kids are out of school, etc…

        Plus, there are a whole lot of people like me who travel back to wherever it is they came from each holiday season. For me, that’s Missouri. Obviously, some people travel back to SEA for same reason, but maybe they’re less likely to have a bike?

  4. Peri hartman

    Can any inferences be made from this regarding the percentage of cyclists v autos on streets in general?

    1. Tom Fucoloro

      Great question! I’ll have to dig for that data, but I know it must exist. Anyone know?

      Probably best would be if we could get a city street, not a freeway, for the data since freeways likely capture holiday travel, etc.

      1. Steve

        I’m not 100% sure about what I’m looking at, but data.seattle.gov has daily (vehicle) traffic volumes for the Fremont Bridge. Most recent data appears to be from 2009. It shows an average daily volume of 28,800 (all cars, in both directions). So, the average daily volume of bicycles across the bridge appears to be 8.5% of this total if you assume that 28,800 cars are still going across the bridge in 2013.

      2. Tom Fucoloro

        Thanks. So what we need to find is how car traffic levels fall during late December to see if the concurrent fall in bike traffic is proportional or if there is a discrepancy.

  5. RTK

    My general feeling is being wet on a bike is better that being dry and stuck in a car on I-5. Those dark winter evening commutes on I-5 suck the life right out of me.

  6. Doug Bostrom

    Dang. Only a bit shy of a million, a number illogically leaps and bounds better than 990K.

    Would be fun to start a pool for when 1MB (MegaBike) is reached. I say 2017.

  7. merlin

    I was shocked (SHOCKED!!) at how drastically the numbers declined on both bridges during our first really wet weekend. Bounced right back up, thank goodness. Are we a bunch of wimps…or do the counters stop functioning when it rains?

  8. Tom,

    Were their any negative numbers in there for my requests to NOT be counted?

    1. Tom Fucoloro

      Once counted, you cannot be uncounted. The totem will not allow it.

  9. SGG

    Any update on the West Seattle counter and it’s accuracy? For a while there after it was introduced, it wasn’t accurate at all. Did they figure this out eventually?

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