On February 7, SABA volunteers braved cold and wet conditions to count bicyclists in the Sacramento area. Between 4 and 6 PM, volunteers counted a total of 844 bicyclists at 19 locations in Sacramento and West Sacramento. In addition, they recorded information on direction traveled, gender, and sidewalk use. Of the bicyclists observed, 19% were recorded as female and 47% were observed riding on the sidewalk. Yikes! Research has shown that female cyclists are often an “indicator species” for the bicycle-friendliness of communities; when more women bicycle in a community there are often more bicycle trips made in that community as a whole. With this low number of women, it appears that Sacramento has room for improvement. SABA has been doing bike counts since 2007 in order to track mode share changes in the area and coordinate with the National Bicycle and Pedestrian Documentation Project. Unfortunately, it is difficult to compare the most recent count data with past data because the other counts occurred under mostly warm and rain-free conditions. Up until last month’s count, bike count data had been very consistent over time; however, the rainy and cold conditions on February 7th seemed to have been a serious deterrent to bicycling. Compared to the last set of bike counts done in September 2010, all intersections saw a decrease in the number of bicyclists, resulting in a 63% decrease overall. The next bike counts will be held in May. Let’s hope for some nice weather and some big numbers!
Email SABA’s head bike counter Brigitte at firstname.lastname@example.org for information about the tallies or methods, and Amy at email@example.com if you want to get involved!