New York City has been working hard to promote cycling, for instance by unveiling a new plan to become more bicycle friendly, looking into creating a bike-share program, hosting a bike movie festival, and sponsoring competitions for the design of a better bike rack. While some of the efforts fall more into the promotion/awareness category, many of them have also involved real infrastructure improvements. And according to new data released by the NYC Department of Transportation, they appear to be paying off -- bicycle commuting has significantly risen.
Bicycle Commuters Increase by 35%
In fact, between 2007 and 2008, the number of individuals cycling to work increased by 35%. The City has a long term goal of doubling the amount of bicycle commuters (the article does not state by when), and these statistics are a good sign toward meeting that goal. One challenge, however, might be ensuring that people continue choosing to ride their bikes even if the price of oil temporary drops (as it's been doing the past month). After all, we shouldn't forget that this last year saw record oil prices that drove people to look for alternatives to driving. It is therefore critical to not only attract more new cyclists, but to also ensure current cyclists continue riding.
Build the Infrastructure, And the Cyclists Will Ride!
Regardless, the increase in riders points to the fact that when a city improves awareness of and infrastructure for cycling--New York has added 140 miles of bike lanes since 2007--more people will get on their bikes. As a spokesman for a cycling/pedestrian advocacy group put it:
"This growth is real. . . It's born out by what I see on the streets every day, and we're reaping the rewards from the city's investment in bicycling over the last several years. More and better-designed bike lanes are producing more cyclists and more first-time cyclists."
Via: City Room (NY Times Blog)
More on Cycling in New York
A Field Guide to the New York City Bicyclist
New York Times on How to Ride a Bike
Extreme Bicycle Commuting in New York City
BicyTaxi Comes to New York City
Bike Rack Bonanza: NY Picks Top 10 Finalists for City Bike Rack Designs
StreetFilms Grades New Yorkers' Bike Locking Abilities
Recycle-a-Bicycle and Plan B