LACBC is excited to release results from the 2015 Los Angeles Bicycle and Pedestrian Count, presented by AARP. Since 2009, LACBC has organized biennial citywide counts to collect, analyze, and share reliable data with public and government agencies on walking and biking. This time, we went bigger than ever by adding 40 locations, requiring 647 volunteer shifts to count at 156 distinct locations. In total, our volunteers counted nearly 21,000 people biking and 140,000 people walking over six hours. We owe an incredible debt of gratitude to our volunteers and our partners, including Los Angeles Walks, the UCLA Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies, and community organizations all across Los Angeles.
This report comes at a time of important policy shifts in the City of Los Angeles. Every year, over 200 people are killed on city streets in traffic crashes, about half of them while walking or biking. In 2015, Mayor Eric Garcetti signed Executive Directive 10, making Los Angeles a Vision Zero city and calling for all city departments to work together to end all traffic deaths by 2025. The City Council adopted this same policy goal to make safety the City’s top transportation priority as part of Mobility Plan 2035. To achieve Vision Zero, L.A. Department of Transportation is working to catalog all serious and fatal traffic crashes and deploy proven engineering solutions to prevent them. Just recently, L.A. County voters overwhelmingly approved Measure M, also known as the “Los Angeles County Traffic Improvement Plan.” Measure M will provide approximately $120 billion over 40 years for transportation projects across L.A. County, including $4 billion for biking and walking. In this report, LACBC analyzed collision data along corridors where bike lanes were installed and found that bike lanes are a key strategy for making streets safer--for people who bike and for all people using the roads.The report found that top 30 (20%) count locations account for over 65% of people who walk and 55% of people who bike. Most of these locations are located on top of the City’s High Injury Network, which indicates that people walking and biking on these streets are more likely to be injured or killed by traffic collisions. All of these locations are located in high-density neighborhoods, near major destinations, or in low-income communities of color. Almost all of the top 30 locations were in neighborhoods with median household incomes below the rest of the city. People walk and bike to access important neighborhood destinations like local businesses, services, transit stations, schools, and parks, many of which are located on the High Injury Network. Making walking and biking safe and convenient requires making infrastructure improvements on the streets where people are walking and biking.
In 2015, riders continued to gravitate towards bike lanes; however the count shows an overall 9% year-by-year decline in same location ridership from 2013 to 2015. In the last two years, bike lane installation has decreased significantly from a high of 101 miles in fiscal year 2013 to only 11 miles in fiscal year 2015. Many of these new lanes have been installations where bike lanes could be included in other road resurfacing or safety projects, rather than installations along high priority corridors identified in the Bicycle Plan. Of the initial 183 miles of bike lanes prioritized in the 5-year Bicycle Plan Implementation Strategy, only 45 miles (25%) have been installed. As a result, the bike network in Los Angeles remains fragmented with large gaps in bike lanes along most riders’ trips. This lack of connectivity continues to be the greatest barrier reported by many people who bike or would like to.
Bike lanes have made streets safer, but more work needs to be done. On the new bike lanes studied, bike ridership increased by 62% after installation. After accounting for increases in bike ridership, new bike lanes reduced bicycle crash risk by an average of 42%.
Furthermore, adding bike lanes by instituting a road diet has shown more safety benefits and resulted in a higher ridership increase than adding bike lanes without reducing the number of travel lanes. For example, a road diet on Colorado Boulevard in Eagle Rock, installed in 2013, has seen a 26% ridership increase whereas bicycle-automobile collisions decreased by 87% and auto collisions by 19%. Similarly, the 7th street bike lanes in Downtown Los Angeles demonstrated a strong ridership increase by 53% after installation in 2011, while collisions rates for all road users on the street decreased.Women Want Safer Biking Options. In Los Angeles, women make up just 16% of cyclists overall, but the gender disparity is lowest on streets with quality bikeways (bike paths at 22% and bike lanes at 17%) and highest on streets with no bicycling infrastructure. Cities with safer streets for bicycling in general tend to have smaller gender disparities in bicycling, such as Portland, Oregon (35%), and Copenhagen, Denmark (50%).
You can read our three recommendations and detailed methodology about the analysis in the full report.
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Thank you to our sponsors, partner organizations, and 400+ volunteers who helped complete the 2015 #LABikePedCount! Check out this storify for fun pictures!