Cycling In The City

Bicyclists riding in the bike lane on tree lined street.

NYC DOT is pleased to announce the release of Cycling in the City, an update on cycling trends in New York City. This brief examines data from the New York City Community Health Survey and national surveys, on-going bike counts, and Citi Bike to assess how frequently New Yorkers are using cycling as a mode of transportation and how that frequency is changing over time.

More than eight-hundred thousand New Yorkers ride a bike regularly—140,000 more than just five years ago. It is estimated that over 460,000 cycling trips are made each day in New York City—triple the amount taken 15 years ago.

In the last five years, NYC DOT has expanded and enhanced the on-street bike network by nearly 330 miles, including more than 68 protected lane miles, with a record 25 miles installed in 2017. NYC DOT installed over 65 miles of dedicated cycling space in 2017, the most of any year.

With the expansion of the bicycle network on city streets, miles of new greenway paths in public parks, and the introduction of bike share, there have never been more people biking in New York City. In recent years, as a result of this new infrastructure, the city has experienced a sea change in the way that people ride bikes: new bike lanes and greenways encourage New Yorkers to use bikes to get around their own neighborhoods and for recreation; protected lanes and Citi Bike make cycling a more comfortable and convenient transportation option.

Historically, evaluation of cyclist activity in New York City has centered on counting the number of bicycles entering and exiting the Manhattan core, but this approach does not account for the wide variety of trips that increasingly occur around the city. In an effort to better understand the widening breadth of cycling, NYC DOT partnered with the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to include several questions about cycling in its annual Community Health Survey. The recent introduction of a Citywide Mobility Survey provides another important data source to better understand the transportation choices of New Yorkers.

By focusing on the cyclist and not the trip, these surveys provide a more holistic approach to quantifying cycling activity, especially when used in combination with long-term census data on bike commuting, on-going bike counts on the East River Bridges and in Midtown, and new data from Citi Bike. Taken as a whole, this information helps paint a more accurate picture of cycling in New York City than we have ever had before.

Cycling in the City—A Snapshot

  • More than eight-hundred thousand New Yorkers (828,000) ride a bicycle regularly (at least several times a month)
  • 24% of adult New Yorkers, nearly 1.6 million people, ride a bike (at least once in the past year)
  • About 86,000 adult New Yorkers, 2.5% of all commuting residents, usually bike to work or school
  • On a typical day, there are over 460,000 cycling trips made in New York City

Cycling in the City—Trends Over Time

  • Citywide Total and Frequent Cyclists
    • 30% growth in the number of New Yorkers who ride a bike several times a month, 2011-2016
    • 102,000 increase in the number of New Yorkers who bike at least once a year, 2011-2016
  • Daily Cycling
    • 156% growth in daily cycling, 2006-2016
    • 70% growth in daily cycling, 2011-2016
    • 11% average annual growth rate of daily cycling, 2011-2016
  • Commuters by Borough
    • 107% growth in commuting to work in Manhattan, 2011-2016—the fastest of any borough
  • Peer Cities
    • Cycling to work has grown nearly twice as fast in NYC as in other major cities (70% growth in NYC compared to 37% growth in peer cities)
  • East River Bridges
    • 9% average annual growth rate of cycling on the East River Bridges, 2007-2017
    • 35% growth in cycling on the Queensboro Bridge, 2012-2017—the fastest of the East River Bridges
  • Midtown
    • 8% average annual growth rate of cycling at 50th Street, 2007-2017
  • Uptown
    • 115% growth in cycling at 86th Street, 2007-2017
    • 19% growth in cycling at 86th Street, 2016-2017
  • Citi Bike
    • 16% growth in daily Citi Bike use, 2016-2017
    • 16.3 million Citi Bike trips in 2017

Past Cycling in the City Reports

Cycling in the City - March 2013 Cycling in the City - May 2016 Cycling in the City - January 2017