You've got to hand it to Rutgers researcher John Pucher - he studies what seems like common sense in transportation, and then makes it sound good.
Studying bike lanes in 90 or the 100 largest American cities, Pucher and collaborater Ralph Buehl used Pearson’s correlation, bivariate quartile analysis, and two different types of regressions to measure the relationship between more and longer bike lanes and quantity of cyclists.
Their conclusion: cities with a greater supply of bike lanes have more bike commuters. And according to the researchers, that correlation exists even when controlling for things like land use, climate, socioeconomics, gas prices, public transport supply, and cycling safety.
In addition, Pucher and Buehler found that cities with safer cycling, lower auto ownership, more students, less sprawl, and higher gas prices had more cycling to work.
So, build the bike lanes and the cyclists will come.
In a city such as Portland, this conclusion seems so obvious. But leave the biggest cycling cities, and it can feel like cycling is light years behind and the car the overwhelmingly dominant transport device.
However, Pucher's research is welcome news in that it proves that all you really need to have cyclists and start building critical bike mass, is bike lanes.