Portland traffic count: 18% of vehicles are bikes

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Monday, July 28, 2008
By Yokota Fritz

In this news story about the recent spate of bad attitudes and violence between cyclists and motorists in Portland, Oregon, is this fun little quote. "Eighteen percent of the vehicles that crossed the Hawthorne Bridge last year were bicycles."

The city of Portland, OR counts traffic on the four bridges that cross the Williamette River. That 18% figure for the Hawthorne Bridge is last year's (2007) number.

On San Francisco Market Street, the Municipal Transportation Agency counted twice as many bikes as private automobiles on Bike To Work Day last May!

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That is very interesting, but how can it be? Portland only has about a 6% bike commuter rate (and I say "only" relative to the 18 percent figure because 6 percent is high for the US). Dose that mean that 2/3 of the riders crossing the bridge are recreational cyclists? More likely it just means that the bridge is in an area of the city where the bike commuting rates are significantly higher than the overall city average. Like I said, very interesting.
I guess my headline's a little misleading. I think your conjecture that the bridge is a popular bicycling route is correct. The number of cyclists on I-5, for example, will be nil, while the highways carry a significant percentage of the car commuters in Portland.
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