Each year, on a weekday without rain sometime between May and July, a person stands at the exact same spot from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. and again from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. The District Department of Transportation sent this person to count cyclists. And if you look at those counts, they show that biking has become an option for a growing number of commuters.
All 37 locations where the counts took place experienced increases in number of cyclists from 2008 to 2014, and at more than half of the locations, the cyclist count more than doubled. Growth varied dramatically across locations, with some experiencing increases of threefold or greater and others remaining relatively static.
What do the surveys say about who is riding? While men make up the majority of riders across the District, their proportion differs greatly. In parts of Capitol Hill and Northwest, a third of cyclists were women, while parts of Northeast saw as much as 98 percent male ridership. Female riders were also more likely to ride where there are bike lanes. Most of the locations with the slowest growth are in upper Northwest—a wealthier, older, and more suburban part of the city.
No matter how you look at the numbers, D.C. is becoming a bike town.