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Report Shows Chicago Averages 125,000 Daily Bike Trips

By Chuck Sudo in News on Jun 10, 2014 2:05PM

Photo credit: Dan Fogel

Bicycling in Chicago has exploded in recent years as more bike lanes, especially the protected and buffered lanes introduced to the city under the Emanuel administration, have been constructed on the city's streets. A new study by the Active Transportation Alliance bodes well for the future growth of bicycling as a transit option in Chicago.

The study by Active Trans reveals Chicagoans average nearly 125,000 bike trips per day. Seventy-three percent—almost 91,000—are considered "utilitarian" rides like going to the store or the library. People who bike to work account for 26,000 trips and 7,000 trips are to school.

Active Trans notes this is an annual average and the daily rides increase during warmer months and lower in the winter. Active Trans executive director Ron Burke said, "our analysis finds that cycling is growing at a rapid pace, and this helps reduce car congestion and transit crowding and contributes to a more vibrant, livable city."

"Today the number of daily bike trips in Chicago exceeds the number of cars on Chicago's busiest streets."

The total average daily bike trips exceeds car volumes found on busy arterial streets such as Western Avenue, which averages 40,000 cars a day. Lake Shore Drive, the city's busiest roadway that isn't a highway, averages 161,000 cars per day.

The study determined biking to work more than tripled between 2010 and 2012 and that bicycling to work was most common among lower income groups. The report also found:

— Chicago bike counts found that winter biking has become increasingly common, with the winter biking counts equal to nearly 40 percent of summer counts.
— Chicago bike counts found that women accounted for 25 percent of observed cyclists in the winter and 31 percent in the summer.

Burke said the numbers are an indication the city needs to do even more to make streets friendly and safe for cyclists.

"We applaud the city's effort to create better biking infrastructure, but we still have much work to do so that everyone who chooses to bike feels safe on our streets."