Yesterday's annual report by Transportation Alternatives estimated that some 236,000 New Yorkers commute by bike every day; the number was an extrapolation of citywide cycling rates from the DOT's so-called screenline counts [pdf], taken at entrances to Manhattan below 50th Street. But this wasn't the only study of cycling in NYC released yesterday; a team of researchers working with Rutgers University professor John Pucher released their own study [pdf], which casts doubt on the rival report's extrapolation. And now there's a cycling study war brewing!
"All of us agree that there's been big increases in cycling," Professor Pucher tells Streetsblog. But "there's so many assumptions that you can question" in the TA estimate. Pucher does not care for this "screenline count" extrapolation one bit, because it's based on data on cyclists in downtown Manhattan and northwest Brooklyn, where bike commute rates are the highest (according to census data). So extrapolating from those DOT numbers may provide a highly distorted estimate, Pucher contends.
Pucher's report refrains from extrapolating, instead digging into the demographics of who rides bikes in NYC, how they get hurt, and examining the reasons for the cycling boom. The report uses a variety of data, including census data, which Pucher also finds inadequate, because it "understates total cycling." The bottom line in Streetsblog's thorough article is that NYC lacks the data to really understand how many cyclists are using its streets. "In Portland, every single year, they have travel surveys, broken down by mode, gender and age. Why don't we have that in New York City?" asks Pucher. The comments are now open for your "Go back to Oregon" remarks.