Bicycle Ridership Information

In light of the recent discussion on bicycle ridership statistics, here are some useful facts:

Census Bureau data do not accurately reflect bicycle use in New York. Census Bureau commuting data undercount bicycling and bicycle commuting in New York.

  • 82% of all travel in New York City – regular non-work trips – is omitted, because the survey only asks about trips to work.
  • The survey forces New Yorkers to select one primary mode of commuting to work. If you take the train or bus 3 days a week and bike 2 days a week, the bike use is ignored.
  • These limitations have been recognized for decades (pdf) by transportation planners, from local governments to the United States Department of Transportation.

DOT regularly conducts a thorough, robust, and verifiable bicycle ridership data collection operation.

  • DOT collects 12-hour weekend and weekday bicycle data on a monthly basis and 18-hour counts, 3 times per year.
  • DOT documentation of bicycle usage is among the most robust in the United States.
  • Bicycle commuting to and from Manhattan has more than doubled since 2005, more than tripled since 2000, and more than quintupled since 1990 according to DOT’s direct on-street counts.
  • Over 1,000 cyclists use the Prospect Park West bike lane each weekday, according to the City’s systematic counts during 2010. Cyclists accounted for 12% of all vehicles in motion on that street during PM rush hours.
  • DOT documents similar or higher usage at other major bike lanes. These manual counts were also confirmed in May 2010 by video counts at the Manhattan Bridge. Watch a video of riders on the Manhattan Bridge at rush hour

Over half a million New Yorkers ride a bike at least several times a month according to a citywide survey by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

  • Availability of bicycle parking spaces in office buildings is driven by demand from business tenants. Bike parking facilities in office buildings are there as a result of requests by business owners who rent space in those buildings – that is a central feature of the law. So far, over 620 businesses have made such requests.