2012 DC Bicycle Count Summary

Each May-June DDOT counts bicycles at approximately 40 locations throughout the city, 8 hours at each location, 4 hours in the morning (6 to 10am), and 4 in the evening (3 to 7pm).  We have consistent counts at 19 of the locations dating back to 2004, which we use calculate the average peak hour growth in cycling.  This is performed by taking the peak hour count at each location, adding all the locations and dividing it by the total number of locations (in this case 19).The chart below shows the growth in the average peak hour count, as well as the growth in the city’s bicycle lane network.  In 2004, the average peak hour was 35 cyclists and there were 14 miles of bike lanes.  By 2012 these numbers rose to 95 cyclists per hour and 57 miles of bike lanes, a 175% increase in the cycling rate and over 300% increase in the bike lane network.



The gender split has remained relatively consistent at about 77% male to 23% female.


Helmet Usage

In Washington, helmet usage has remained consistent with approximately 75% of cyclists choosing to wear helmets.


Sidewalk Riding

Please note that the percentage of sidewalk riding is inflated because 6 of the 19 locations are on bridges over the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers where sidewalk riding is recommended; however, in general sidewalk riding is discouraged, and is forbidden in the Central Business District (CBD).  While there has been some fluctuation over the last nine years, the trend for the last three years has been a reduction in the number of cyclists on sidewalks.


Capital Bike Share Usage

For counting locations that were in proximity to Capital Bike Share stations, in 2012 we requested that the counts distinguish between privately owned bikes and Capital Bikeshare bikes.  13 of the 19 locations have such counts, with bikeshare bikes representing between less than 1% to 12% of all bikes (see chart below).

Street Quadrant From Intersection To Intersection % CaBi Bikes
East Capitol St BN 5th St 6th 0.17%
Massachusetts Ave NW 38th St, Klingle Pl 39th St, Idaho Ave 0.88%
Francis Scott Key   Bridge NW Water St, Whitehurst   Fwy Virginia Line [Street   Break] 1.35%
George Mason Brg (14th   St Bridge) SW Virginia Line (E) Interstate 395 (S)   [Street Break] 1.71%
Frederick Douglass   Memorial Brg (South Capitol St) BN Potomac Ave (E) Anacostia Dr (W) 1.90%
L St NW Connecticut Ave 18th St 2.02%
R St NW Vermont Ave 13th St 3.30%
Arlington Memorial   Bridge SW Ohio Dr GW Memorial Pkwy,   Memorial Ave [Street Break] 3.32%
C St NE 7th St 8th St 4.00%
Monroe St NE 9th St 10th St 4.15%
Calvert St (Ellington   Bridge) NW Biltmore St Cathedral Ave 6.59%
Pennsylvania Ave NW L St (W) 26th St 7.21%
Constitution Ave NW 15th St 16th St 12.13%

Next steps

Since 2008, COG has been collecting reliable bicycle count information at approximately 40 locations.  When time allows, we plan on entering all of this data in the bicycle count database to get a more accurate picture of citywide and neighborhood-specific cycling rates.   In addition, we hope to collaborate with our IT department to develop an interactive online database.

Mike Goodno
Bicycle Program Specialist

About DDOT Blogger

The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) develops and maintains for the District of Columbia a cohesive sustainable transportation system that delivers safe, affordable, and convenient ways to move people and goods - while protecting and enhancing the natural, environmental and cultural resources of the District.
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7 Responses to 2012 DC Bicycle Count Summary

  1. Is the raw data for these charts available?

  2. Peter Kauffmann says:

    Have you considered splitting the bridge sites from the others in the sidewalk v. street counts? I’m worried that some bike opponents I’ve met at public meetings will seize on the fact that 60+% of cyclists are riding on sidewalks District-wide.

    Also, what’s up with the x-axis there?

    • DDOT Blogger says:

      Thanks for pointing out the quirky x-axis. We fixed it – should have been “years.” Also, you make a good point about the separating out the bridge sites. We’ll try to do that and post an update.

  3. So do you also divide the count by hours or periods? In other words, does “95” mean that you saw an average of 760 cyclists per site over the 8 hours you counted? Or does it mean you saw, on the average, a total of 95 cyclists per site over the entirety of the 8 hours per day you counted? Or an average total of 190 cyclists per site per day (i.e. 95 during the morning rush hour period and 95 during the evening rush hour period)?

    • DDOT Blogger says:

      Thanks for the question. We calculated the “95” by adding all of the peak hour counts at the 19 locations. Remember, even though we counted 8 hours at each of the locations, we only took the highest hour at each location. So, there were 19 hours of counts in the calculation. And, there were a total of 1802 cyclists. 1802 divided by 19 equals 95.

      If we had used all 8 hours at each location, the total would be 7881 cyclists during 152 hours (19 locations times 8 hours per location). This yields 51.8 cyclists per hour. You could use either number. For consistency, we went with the peak hour numbers since this is what is typically used for motor vehicle traffic.

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