L.A. Bike Count

This morning I volunteered for the L.A. Bike count.  Volunteers counted cyclists and pedestrians at over 50 locations throughout Los Angeles this past Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday.  We collected data on a number of different things in 15 minute intervals for either 2.5 or 3 hours.  Hopefully the results of the count will be up soon; I’ll post when they are.  Until then, here are my overall counts from 10 AM to 1 PM at the intersection of Santa Monica and Westwood (sorry, I’m too lazy to type out every 15 minute increment):

West

North

East

South

Total

Pedestrians

79

108

92

108

387

Cyclists

40

22

60

18

140

Total

119

130

152

126

527

Note that the counts are based on the direction the pedestrian/cyclist was leaving the intersection.  We also collected some other details:

Female Cyclists: 16

No Helmet: 61

Sidewalk Riding: 29

Wrong Way Riding: 2

Child: 26

Other (skateboards, scooters, etc.): 8

It surprised me how few people wore helmets when riding their bikes (only 56%).  Fortunately, all children on bikes were wearing helmets.

I also had some interesting interactions with passersby who were interested in why I was holding a clipboard and tallying furiously.  Noteably, one man (of questionable mental stability) went out of his way on the roughly 25′ wide sidewalk to brush against my back, and muttered “@$$hole” before stumbling on down the street.  Of more interest to the immediate task, one lady asked what I was doing, and when I answered her, asked me to please get “them” to do something.  She said she is 79 and has been living in the area for over 40 years, and that she has trouble getting across the crosswalk before the light changes.  She also noted that many drivers don’t look out for people who might still be in the crosswalk when their light turns green (this, I can confirm).  Another woman on foot called biking “a joke,” adding “this is Los Angeles; nobody bikes here.”  Hopefully she’ll hear that 140 cyclists crossed the intersection in 3 hours.

Finally, a lady in a wheelchair asked me if I was considering curb cuts.  I told her that unfortunately that was beyond the scope of this count.  She made the important observation that although this particular intersection had curb cuts on all corners to allow wheelchair access, some streets nearby did not, which could impact the number of people you’d see in wheelchairs.  This observation could apply to bike lanes and cyclists as well; the Santa Monica bike lane continues through the intersection, while the Westwood bike lane is absent to the south of the intersection, and only runs for a few blocks to the north of the intersection before ending again.  This might partially explain why there were more than twice as many cyclists on the East and West legs as there were on the North and South.

Hopefully the L.A.C.B.C. will come up with some interesting conclusions from the data that can be used to inform policies for biking and walking in Los Angeles.  I’ll keep my eyes peeled!

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