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People biked over the Fremont Bridge 926,025 times in 2013 + cycling rates up 17-20% year-over-year

This first bike to be counted  by the Fremont Bridge counter carried two people.
This first bike to be counted by the Fremont Bridge counter carried two people.

On average, 106 people biked across the Fremont Bridge every hour in 2013, and so far the trend keeps climbing year-over-year.

We didn’t make it to 1 million trips in 2013, but we got close: 926,025. And at the current rate of growth in bike trips, it might not be too long before we get there.

The bike counter was installed in mid-October 2012, so we only have two full months of year-on-year data to draw from. But so far, the results are promising:

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  • Fremont Bridge bike trips in November 2013 were 17 percent higher than November 2012.
  • December 2013 was 20 percent higher than December 2012.

The year’s bikiest day was June 4, which clocked 5,121 trips. June 4 also happens to be my birthday, so thanks for that awesome present, Seattle! If you are wondering what to get the bike blogger who has everything, try biking even more this year.

The Fremont Bridge counter is likely a good barometer for biking trends across the city because it is at a bike route pinch point next to a commercial area. There are several other bike counters going in now, so that data will help give an even better picture of bike usage in the city.

The raw numbers, while fun to track, say a bit less than the year-over-year bike use trends. We will be following closely to see if the trend holds up over time. If it does, we could be celebrating 1 million 2014 bike trips some time this fall…

From SDOT:

SDOT now has collected a full calendar year of data from the Fremont Bridge bike counter, giving a better idea of the patterns of bicyclists in the corridor. The total number of bicycle trips counted for 2013 was 926,025, getting very close to 1M.

The day when the most trips were counted was June 4, with 5,121 trips.

What day were the fewest trips counted? It was not the day when we had a couple of inches of snow, Friday, December 20. There were 739 trips on that day. Instead it was Christmas Day, Wednesday, December 25, with 371 trips, and that is up from December 25, 2012 when only 98 trips were counted.

The day of the week with the most trips was Tuesday.

On the average, there were 106 trips an hour, 2,537 a day, and 77,169 a month.

To see the data in graph form, go to:  http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/bikecounter_fremont.htm

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15 responses to “People biked over the Fremont Bridge 926,025 times in 2013 + cycling rates up 17-20% year-over-year”

  1. Matt

    So how much will changing the top line to 2 million cost?

    1. Tom Fucoloro

      Ha! We may find out soon enough…

  2. Southeasterner

    “The Fremont Bridge counter is likely a good barometer for biking trends across the city because it is at a bike route pinch point next to a commercial area.”

    I would love to see a combined number for the Freemont and Ballard bridges. I have noticed a very steady increase in Ballard bridge users over the past couple of years and wouldn’t doubt that the growth is comparable to growth on the Freemont bridge, but significantly lower as an absolute value, maybe 25% of the volume on Freemont?

    However, I have also noticed a trend in pedestrians getting increasingly frustrated with sharing the sidewalk with cyclists and have witnessed several fairly aggressive confrontations between cyclists and pedestrians on both bridges. The city needs to hurry up and build that third bridge with adequate pedestrian/cycling infrastructure!

    1. RTK

      I’d be interested in knowing the volumes across the University Bridge and Montlake Bridge as well. I have general feel for these relative to the Fremont Bridge, but don’t get across the Ballard Bridge often enough to even begin to guess the bike volume. Curious what order people would rank these bridges in regards to daily bike volume.

      1. Tom Fucoloro

        I’m pretty sure current usage goes like this: Fremont > Montlake > U Bridge > Ballard > Aurora.

        In terms of ease of use/safety, IMO, they go like this: All are inadequate. U Bridge itself is great, but south and north end connections are rotten. Montlake and Fremont connections are a little better, but the shared sidewalks are too small to handle the volume of people walking and biking on them. Ballard is just awful in every way you can think of. Aurora is a little better than Ballard, but connections are still pretty bad and the sidewalks would not be wide enough if many people were trying to use them at the same time (which is not usually a problem today since people so rarely use them).

      2. This chart from SDOT indicates that in the city bike count the Montlake and U Bridges were close in 2011 but the U Bridge had more riders in 2012. I’m using Montlake/Pacific for the Montlake bridge; there doesn’t seem to be an intersection representing the Fremont Bridge directly in this count.

      3. RTK

        About how I rank them, I would probably swap University and Montlake for weekdays. On the weekends I suspect Montlake is ahead of University, much more recreational cycling.


        Appreciate the information, I did a quick search but without luck.

        For my commute I typically use University southbound and Fremont northbound. I know of other that do similar.

  3. Winter cycling up 20% sounds about right… IIRC we had pretty mild and dry months in November and December, but I don’t think that’s all — even on rainy days there are people out there.

    I don’t know how much to attribute to this, but lots of the little infrastructure fixes that went in this year are along routes that naturally lead to or from the Fremont Bridge: Linden, then Green Lake Way, then just recently the temporary Missing Link patch. And on the other side of the bridge, the new configuration of Dexter/Denny/7th is an improvement. Combine that with general lack of improvements for routes involving the other bridges and the “Other Washington” shutting down the locks for a while, and there are plenty of concrete reasons for more biking on the Fremont Bridge.

  4. Jeik

    I’ve been thinking about a 1 million trips campaign as I bike by in the morning. People really get behind an old-fashioned fill the thermometer campaign!

  5. Brian

    It would be cool to have a little widget on the right side of SBB’s home page showing bike counts from various bike counters around town…

  6. a different Eric

    Another thing to keep in mind is that the counter only counts southbound trips on the west side of the bridge. It doesn’t count return trips by downtown commuters or people who go the “wrong” way southbound (that is, bikes using the east side of the bridge). Actual crossings are probably something on the order of twice the count.

  7. Nate

    Minor correction… the past tense of “bike” is “boke” (a la “ride”/”rode”), as in “Tom boke across the Fremont Bridge yesterday.” Well, okay, technically it isn’t YET, but it should be. : )

  8. […] no longer have to bike all the way to Fremont to get counted. The city — with support from the Rails to Trails Conservancy and the Mark and […]

  9. […] Total bike trip counts are up nine percent compared to the same time in 2013, but that represents a slow-down compared to the 17-20 percent increase measured in late 2013. […]

  10. […] over the bridge in April were 21 percent higher than April 2013, confirming similar growth levels seen in the fall and early winter. If this rate keeps up, 2014 should be on track to break one million bike trips over the Fremont […]

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