Saturday, March 14, 2009

The State of Cycling Report: the rest of the story

I've already written about the flawed methodology of MTA's State of Cycling Report.

But the report does more than exaggerate the number of people who bike to work in the city; it has some other interesting information in spite of its dubious methodology.

Commenters to this blog have challenged my admittedly anecdotal evidence of widespread bad behavior by city cyclists, but it turns out that cyclists themselves admit there's a problem: "95% of frequent cyclists and 85% of infrequent cyclists have witnessed unsafe cycling behavior. Only 30% of frequent cyclists always obey traffic laws, while approximately 50% of infrequent cyclists obey traffic laws."

"Frequent" cyclists are defined as those who say they ride their bikes two or more times a week, and "infrequent" cyclists are those who say they ride their bikes "one or zero times per week."

What about safety? "71% of frequent cyclists always wear a helmet, while only 55% of infrequent cyclists wear a helmet."

The demographic profile of city cyclists:

While people of all ages, races, and genders bicycle in San Francisco, frequent bicyclists are more likely to be male, Caucasian and between the ages of 26 and 35...Women make up 49% of San Franciscans, but only 23% of frequent cyclists. Asians make up 32% of San Franciscans, but only 12% of frequent cyclists. African Americans make up 7% of San Franciscans but only 2% of frequent cyclists and Hispanics make up 14% of San Franciscans but only 10% of frequent cyclists (page 2).

Frequent cyclists "are more likely than infrequent cyclists to report a household income of over $100,000. Other surveys have also shown cyclists to have higher than average incomes" (page 18).

"People from 26-45 are more likely to be frequent cyclists, while people older than 46 are less likely...Men are more likely than women to be frequent cyclists...People in lower income households are less likely to be frequent cyclists, and people in households making more than $71K annually are more likely to be frequent cyclists" (page 23).

The typical cyclist in SF is a young, prosperous white guy---a profile of an elitist nicely illustrated by this video.

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14 Comments:

At 2:58 PM, Blogger murphstahoe said...

At least give us a citation for all these facts.

 
At 2:59 PM, Blogger murphstahoe said...

My bad - the embedded in the page you linked to is a statement that there is a report which is not on the web.

 
At 3:17 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

I've identified the document in both posts on the subject. It's the "San Francisco State of Cycling Report 2008," prepared for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency Bicycle Program by Alta Planning and Design of Berkeley.

 
At 8:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Only 30% of frequent cyclists always obey traffic laws, while approximately 50% of infrequent cyclists obey traffic laws."

Frequent cyclists know that 'traffic laws' are designed with a strong bias towards regulating motor traffic.

Bicycles are not motor traffic, though.

by the way, watch traffic for a while and you'll see that close to 0% of motorists *always* obey traffic laws (remember that excessive speed, parking in bike lanes, and using the phone without a hands-free device are among the illegal, yet common, behaviors of motorists-- only their vehicle weighs 5,000 pounds while mine weighs about 20 ((which is, incidentally, probably about the same amount of extra weight they are carrying around from driving everywhere)) ).

 
At 9:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The typical cyclist in SF is a young, prosperous white guy---a profile of an elitist..."

Except that SF bike culture is, of course, inclusive rather than exclusive.

 
At 11:41 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

No one is formally excluded from what you call "bike culture" in SF, but the numbers show that the typical city cyclist is a well-off, youngish---by my standards---white guy.

 
At 1:51 PM, Blogger murphstahoe said...

"Frequent cyclists "are more likely than infrequent cyclists to report a household income of over $100,000."

Clearly one can only conclude that cycling has an impact on one's mental capacity and physical stamina such that one's earning capabilities go up.

We... are the cyclists.

 
At 10:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I dunno, Beer Pong has a disproportionate amount of young, white, middle-class guys doing it, but I'd hardly call it an elitist activity.

If bicycling tended toward elitism, you simply wouldn't see community bike shops like the Bike Kitchen, Bike Hut, or Pedal Revolution, which take people from all walks of life and teach them how to work on bikes.

The first community bike shop in SF was in the Fillmore disctict.

 
At 12:12 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

So why aren't more black people riding bikes?

 
At 12:20 PM, Blogger murphstahoe said...

So why aren't more black people riding bikes?

"lies, damn lies, and statistics". Latinos and blacks are generally undercounted. This is probably a much larger problem with the Latinos who ride bikes as many are undocumented and don't want to talk to anyone. It would be interesting to see what sort of outreach Alta Planning did in Hunter's Point.

And besides...

Everybody loves money!

 
At 10:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"So why aren't more black people riding bikes?"

I don't know, you'll have to ask them. But it's probably because of the white elitists.

 
At 11:32 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

It's more likely that they don't want to be associated with you jerks.

 
At 3:26 PM, Blogger murphstahoe said...

The state of cycling.

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/03/24/BAVQ16LMV9.DTL

New bike lanes and bike racks could come to San Francisco streets as early as July, ending a court-imposed ban on bicycle improvement projects in the city, officials said Monday.

"We want to make bicycling an integral part of life in San Francisco," Timothy Papandreou, assistant deputy director of planning and development for the Municipal Transportation Agency, said at a City Hall hearing Monday.

The impact study is expected to be adopted as early as June, with the first projects uncorked in July or August, Papandreou said.

 
At 4:34 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Yes, Murph, I read the paper. That meeting was about nothing but a little hand-holding by the supervisors to reassure the bike people that, yes, the great planet-saving Bicycle Plan EIR is moving forward to make a better world for all of us, that it will be "uncorked" like fine wine long in the cask.

 

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