Despite Recession, Cycling Sees Dramatic Increase in SF

BY BEN LOWE
February 3, 2010

An SF resident named Gavin bikes the streets.The recession has caused both private auto and public transit use to fall in the past couple of years, both in San Francisco and throughout the country, as travelers cut out superfluous trips to save money and those who have lost their jobs simply do not have anywhere to go.

Yet one mode of transportation  in SF has shown massive mode-share gains over the same period: bicycle ridership in San Francisco  increased 8.3% from  2008 to 2009, the MTA reports.  During this same period, recession pressure has seen bicycle use stay flat or even fall, even in bicycle-friendly cities like Portland.  This increase extends a trend that has seen SF ridership increase 53% from 2006 to 2009.

Not only is bicycle use up, but so is support for bicycle advocacy efforts: in the past year, the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition has seen its membership rise 15%, to more than 11,000 dues-paying members.  The San Francisco government is also throwing its support behind cycling: Mayor Newsom has reiterated his support for a citywide bicycle-sharing program, and with the city's bicycle plan ready to be partially implemented, the city will become even more friendly for its two-wheeled travelers.