New Report: Massive Growth in NYC Cycling

Growth in NYC Cycling
As more New Yorkers than ever choose cycling and the bike lane network and bike share continue to expand, the need for additional protected bike lanes grows, too.

It’s not your imagination; more people are biking in New York City. A lot more people. Cycling in the City, a new report from the NYC Department of Transportation, shows massive growth in NYC cycling: bike trips have doubled since 2007 and New York City is far outpacing other major metros in growing the number of people riding.

“With the expansion of bicycle routes on City streets, along with the miles of new greenway paths in public parks, and the introduction of bike share,” the report declares, “there have never been more people biking in New York City.”

And, to date, there has never been a report like this. Cycling in the City combines a number of sources — including a survey from the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene — to “paint a more accurate picture of cycling in New York City than we have ever had before.”

Cycling in NYC snapshot

That picture is bright, to say the least.

  • From 2010 to 2014, cycling grew nearly twice as fast in New York City than other major metros — including top bike destinations like San Francisco, Washington, D.C. and even Portland.
  • More and more New Yorkers are riding more frequently. A full 25 percent of adults (1.6 million) have ridden a bike in the past year and the number who bike at least several times per month grew 49 percent from 2010 to 2015.
  • Not surprisingly, daily cycling trips have skyrocketed in recent years, quadrupling since 1980 to reach more than 420,000 trips per day in 2014. And the pace has picked up dramatically in recent years, doubling since 2007.
  • Those trips are all across the city, too. While Midtown has seen steady growth in cycling trips, with staggering 317 percent growth from 1980 to 2015, biking is up in all boroughs, including 75 percent growth in the number of bike commuters in Brooklyn and 68 percent growth in Queens.
  • No doubt some of that growth can be attributed to Citi Bike, which saw 27,287 trips per day in 2015 (boasting an impressive 23 percent gain from 2014).

NYC Cycling Growth Chart

While the joy of cycling is certainly infectious, there’s a clear prescription behind these gains: more and better bike lanes.

This growth is not a coincidence,” Paul Steely White, executive director of Transportation Alternatives, said in a statement. “It is the result of a boost in investment in bike infrastructure, especially in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens.”  

The report doesn’t disagree: “Since 2010, NYC DOT has expanded and enhanced the on-street bike network by nearly 300 miles, including more than 40 protected lane miles, with a record 12 miles installed in 2015. NYC DOT is on track to install even more protected lanes in 2016, with over 15 new miles planned.”

To maintain and increase the growth in cycling, though, “that number must become a minimum going forward,” Steely White said in his statement. “If Mayor de Blasio is going to reach his goal of doubling biking by 2020, he will need to invest more to make streets safer for all users, so more New Yorkers will feel secure about bicycling.”

Read the full report here and learn how you can get engaged with Transportation Alternatives here.

Photo: velojoy, Charts: NYC DOT

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