Jun 02

Bicycle Counts & Behavior Surveys

Thanks to a contract with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, CAT is conducting bicycle counts and surveying cyclist behaviors in Allentown, Bethlehem and Easton.  We are attempting to measure the impact of CAT bicycle education programs on the number of cyclists riding downtown.  We are also trying to measure whether or not bicycle education improves cyclists’ behavior.

The counters keep track of the cyclists’ gender, estimated age and bike type.  The surveys track helmet wearing, direction on the roadway, stopping at red lights, sidewalk riding and gross errors such as riding in the door zone of parked cars and filtering foward.

Currently trained to count bicycles are League Cycling Instructors Steve Schmitt, Scott Slingerland, Betty Kelly, J. Dietrich Reisenberger and Brian Sherry; LCIs-to-be Joshua Buck, Gary Warren and Lee Poole-Smith; plus Traffic Skills 101 graduate Kelly Kennedy.  On Thursday, May 31, we counted more than 100 cyclists passing through the intersection of Elizabeth and Linden Streets in Bethlehem, near Liberty High School.  Steve Schmitt, Lee Poole-Smith, Gary Warren, J. Dietrich Reisenberger and Joshua Buck were the counters.  Results of this count and the rest of the locations in the three cities should be available in July.

If you are interested in counting bicycles and conducting cyclists behavior surveys please call CAR-FREE.ORG Director Steve Schmitt, 610 707 2483 or email director@car-free.org.  Counts are done all day Tuesday in Easton, Wednesday in Allentown and Thursday in Bethlehem. This is a paid position.

Example of some results from counting bicycles for 5 hours at New Street and the Greenway in Bethlehem:

There were 77 bicyclists counted in 5 hours by observers facing North at the intersection of New and the Greenway in South Bethlehem.  (Also 2 skateboarders.)
There were 73 male riders (93%), 5 female (6%) and one unknown gender (1%).
Bike type
There were 33 hybrid bikes (44%), 24 mountain bikes (32%), 11 BMX bikes (15%) and 7 road bikes (9%).  There were two cyclists on one BMX bicycle.
Helmet use
57 cyclists (74%) wore no helmet, 20 (26%) did.  Both skateboarders had no helmet.
The age distribution is only an estimate as the counters are instructed NOT to talk to the cyclists.  
under 12   3 cyclists
teenager   10 cyclists
twenties    20 cyclists
thirties      17 cyclists
forties         9 cyclists
over 50        8 cyclists
Direction on the street
49 cyclists riding the correct direction on the street (78%)
14 cyclists riding the wrong direction on the street (22%)
Obeying Red Signal Light
49 cyclists stopped for red light (68%)
23 cyclists did not (32%)
the observers could not tell if 5 of the cyclists stopped for the red light or not
2 skateboarders stopped for red lights
Gross Errors
28 cyclists and 1 skateboarder were riding on the sidewalk
(This is probably higher than usual because the location included the walkway on the Fahy Bridge.)
7 cyclists rode in the door zone (probably lower than usual because much of the observed location (which included the Fahy Bridge) has no parking
10 cyclists inappropriately “filtered forward,” that is passed stopped traffic unsafely
2 cyclists were on 1 BMX bike
1 cyclist vandalized street furniture/barriers by grinding

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