In yet another example of our bike culture’s Do It Yourself ethic, the Los Angeles County Bike Coalition is planning to do its own bike counts to paint a clearer picture of how many people travel by bicycle in Los Angeles. Bike counts are a necessary feature of any well thought Bike Plan so that the planners and engineers can place the right sorts of engineering designs at the right places.
Needless to say, it’s been decades since the City of Los Angeles has taken any bike counts. When pressed as to why the city hasn’t made the effort to know where and how many people bike on a regular basis, staff offers the lame excuse that the "company that did the counts went out of business."
So when it comes to bike planning, what statistics does the city use? Would you believe the numbers from the 2000 census?
There are a lot of reasons that using census figures is a bad idea when it comes to bike planning. The most obvious being that it was taken almost ten years ago and bike riding as a recreation and form of commuting have boomed nation-wide in that time. In addition, the census regularly undercounts people of lesser means, a group that tends to commute by bicycle more than people in upper class neighborhoods.
In an effort to bring some statistical data to bike planning in Los Angeles, the LACBC is going to do their own counts and they need your help. If you’re available during the day on a weekday, they can use volunteers. If you’re not available but want to be involved, the Coalition is looking for input on interesections where they should take the counts here.