There were twice as many bicycles as cars headed downtown on San Francisco’s Market Street on the 14th annual Bike to Work Day. Bicyclists made up 64% of the eastbound traffic at Market St. & Van Ness Ave., while motorists comprised 32% between 8am and 9am today. (The remainder was transit vehicles and taxis). This is a nearly 31% increase over the number of people biking last year on Bike to Work Day. The counts were taken by the Municipal Transportation Agency.
One of those riding this morning was first-time bike commuter and mother of two, Ali Linder, who credits Bike to Work Day with motivating her to switch from driving or taking transit to pedaling from the Richmond District to the Embarcadero. “There were a ton of bicyclists out. It was fun to be a part of it, especially because it was a Spare the Air Day. I felt really good about not being in my car, and I got exercise during the time I’d normally be sitting down. I will definitely bike to work again.”
A record number of city leaders bicycled to work including Supervisors Jake McGoldrick, Aaron Peskin, Carmen Chu, Ross Mirkarimi, Chris Daly, Sean Elsbernd, Bevan Dufty, and Gerardo Sandoval, as well as the heads of City departments, including Nat Ford of the Municipal Transportation Agency. They joined San Francisco Bicycle Coalition (SFBC) members on City Hall steps for a visual spectacle quantifying the financial, health and environmental benefits of bicycling.
“I’m thrilled to see so many people biking to work today. Thanks to growing interest in healthy, sustainable commuting and our efforts with the City to ensure that cyclists feel safe and welcome on the streets, more people are making the switch to biking,” says Leah Shahum, Executive Director of the 9,000-member SFBC.
Local bike shops also report seeing more people switching to bicycling. “Commute bicycling is clearly growing,” says Zack Stender, manager of Mike’s Bikes in San Francisco. “I talk daily to customers about the high cost of gas. People are feeling more comfortable on the streets because there are more people on bikes. There’s safety in numbers.”