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Update on journey to 1 million annual Fremont bike trips: We did it! (sort of)

Graph by D shows running 12-month totals, which climbed above 1 million for the first time on 9/29/2014. More explanation here.
Graph by Doug Ollerenshaw shows running 12-month totals, which climbed above 1 million for the first time on 9/29/2014. More explanation here.

We did it! One million bike trips across the Fremont Bridge in one year!

Actually, as commenter Doug Ollerenshaw pointed out on our previous Fremont bike counter story, we did it back on September 29. That was the first day that counts for the previous 12 months totaled one million. So between 9/29/2013 and 9/29/2014, there were one million bike trips across the bridge. This same feat has been repeated many days since, as well.

Hooray! Belated congratulations!


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However, the journey to one million bike trips in the 2014 calendar year is looking like it really will come down to the wire, maybe even to New Years Eve (how dramatic would that be?).

Unfortunately, the exact number of people to cross the bridge in November is not fully clear due to some malfunctions in the counter due to a dead battery. But assuming the count is correct, we’re gonna need 44,036 bikes to cross the bridge in December to break one million trips in a calendar year, about 500 more than crossed in the same month last year.

And with bridge painting work continuing to close the bridge sidewalks, this could be a tall order. Many people have taken to biking in the general travel lanes to avoid the work, which also means they avoid the counter. Some people may even have rerouted to avoid the bridge entirely.

Below is a look at the year-to-year comparison for monthly bike trip totals. As you can see, November bucks a nearly year-long trend of significant increases in bike traffic (note, this is the first month that we have three years to compare):

chart_1 The November count should probably come with an asterisk. A dead battery caused all kinds of problems during the first half of the month. One day recorded double the bikes as any day earlier that week, then the next week recorded artificially low counts. SDOT crews checked on the counter after a number of emails from readers who thought the counts looked way off during their morning commutes. Crews discovered that a battery powering the counter on the west side of the bridge was malfunctioning (a similar problem happened on the east side earlier this year). After replacing it, counts started to make sense again:

Screen shot 2014-12-01 at 2.25.50 PMHowever, if you average those two suspicious weeks together (the one with high counts and the one with low counts), it comes out to about 15,000 trips each, which is on track with other recent weeks. Perhaps one of you smart statisticians out there can come up with a better estimate. If so, let us know in the comments below.

So don’t stop biking! Assuming the November count is close to accurate, we’re gonna need every bike trip we can get to break one million trips in 2014.


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5 responses to “Update on journey to 1 million annual Fremont bike trips: We did it! (sort of)”

  1. Josh

    “Many people have taken to biking in the vehicle lanes to avoid the work,…

    Just a style-guide nitpick, but what would you think of using “travel lanes” rather than “vehicle lanes.” Besides being technically correct, it has social implications — streets were built to carry people and goods, not just vehicles.

    Bicycles are vehicles, but many other users entitled to use the travel lanes are not, legally speaking, vehicles. (wheelchairs, mopeds, segways, pedestrians on Seattle’s many streets that still lack sidewalks…)

    (According to RCW 46.04.670, “Vehicle” does not include power wheelchairs or devices other than bicycles moved by human or animal power or used exclusively upon stationary rails or tracks. Mopeds are not considered vehicles or motor vehicles for the purposes of chapter 46.70 RCW. Bicycles are not considered vehicles for the purposes of chapter 46.12, 46.16A, or 46.70 RCW or RCW 82.12.045. Electric personal assistive mobility devices are not considered vehicles or motor vehicles for the purposes of chapter 46.12, 46.16A, 46.29, 46.37, or 46.70 RCW. A golf cart is not considered a vehicle, except for the purposes of chapter 46.61 RCW.)

    Using the term “vehicle lanes” reinforces the notion that streets belong to cars, not to the people traveling along the street.

    1. Tom Fucoloro

      Apologies. I try not to use that term, but it slipped through here. I changed it.

      1. Josh

        Thanks!

        I know you’re usually sensitive to allowing motorists to think they own the roads.

        Now if we could just get SDOT to use correct terminology, too — I’ve seen far too many instances of “DRIVE LANE” instead of “TRAVEL LANE” on their illustrations… those lanes are not just for “drivers.”

        (For example, the Roosevelt layouts you included in http://www.seattlebikeblog.com/2014/10/30/city-will-install-temporary-protected-bike-lane-on-roosevelt-neighbors-urge-city-to-extend-plans-further/ … “DRIVE” lane is legally and technically incorrect, and SDOT should be ashamed of using it.)

  2. jay

    I rode across the Fremont bridge today and it looked to me like the top bar in the bar graph, approximately adjacent to, slightly above actually, the 1,000,000 printed on the sign is now lighted.

    Since there is a lighted bar graph, and considering the uncertainty in the counts, I think simply getting all the LEDs lighted is a reasonable accomplishment, even if the count may still be some 2% under the target. But there are still 18 days left in the month and so far the average for Dec. has been over 1700/day, so an actual million for the calendar year seems pretty likely

  3. […] As we reported earlier this month with the help of reader Doug Ollerenshaw, we actually already achieved one million rides in a 12-month period back in September. But 2014 is on the verge of being the first calendar year Seattle reaches that mark, which seems like cause for celebration. It’s a cool symbol of how fast biking is growing in this city. Through November, biking across the Fremont bridge was up 8.3 percent over 2013. We passed the 2013 final tally of 926,025 back in mid-November. […]

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