Super Tuesday Global Bike Count - pilot 2015

A pilot of Super Tuesday counts internationally to establish a global benchmark measure of the health of cycling in cities.

Female ratio a new benchmark for cycling health?

January 2016 Results of Bike Rider Gender Ratios worldwide

In late 2015, alongside Super Tuesday North, we piloted a count of bike riders globally with results recorded from 10 cities outside Australia.

The results show that Australia lags well behind international benchmarks for the ratio of female riders in cities.

This confirms data from other sources – for instance in Denmark the number of female and male riders are equal with more trips by females.

Generally, those cities that have invested in cycling show higher number of riders and, more importantly, a higher percentage of women riding.

It shows that provision of cycling infrastructure that is comfortable and feels safe is necessary if we are to allow a wider range of people (including women) to ride.

The more separation cities provide for bike riders from busy or fast moving motor vehicles, the more women that will ride and the more people overall will ride. Full stop.

An interesting observation – comparing gender bike counts done in 2011 to those done in 2015 indicates that, for gender split:

  • Berlin has stayed steady at 43%
  • Portland has increased to 37% overall
  • Melbourne has stayed steady at 26%

By this measure Portland is now heading Melbourne as a cycle friendly city. This reflects the drop off in cycling investment in Melbourne City over the last year or two.

And Sydney lags behind all other cities counted.

As expected, the Dutch are leading.

The collated results are available here.

August 2015 This year we plan to replicate the Super Tuesday count in at least 5 international cities in order to pilot the establishment of a global benchmark of cycling health based on the ratio of female bicycle riders.

Locations

At least one representative site (and ideally four)  for commuter cycling in each city selected to be counted from 7-9am on Tuesday 1st Sept or the next fine weekday day if it is raining or inclement. This usually means the busiest cycling sites and these are usually on the edge of the CBD or a major activity area.

In 2011, for instance we did preliminary counts in the following sites: 

  • Berlin - under the Brandenburg gate
  • London - Southwark Bridge
  • New York - Williamsburg Bridge and Brooklyn Bridge
  • Montreal - Rue Berri at Maisoneuve (@ Bibliotheque)
  • Vancouver - Hornsby St at Robsons St
  • Portland - Hawthorn Bridge exit at SW First St
  • Bristol - Cheltenham Rd at the Arch (Station Rd)
  • Melbourne - Swanston St at Bourke St

See graph below where we used the result to compare progress on Swanston St before and after improvements. Swanston St moved from below average to "Vancouver Hornsby St level" in terms of female ratio or cycling health.

GRAPH: % of Women Bicycle Riders International Comparison 2011 vs Swanston St

What to count?

We ask counters in overseas cities to count as following on Tuesday 1st September of the next fine weekday :

  • Number of riders during morning peak hours (2 hours from 7am)
  • Gender  (male, female, and unspecified)

The male/female ratio is a key indicator of cycling health. Cycle friendly cities and streets/paths have more than half female riders whereas the average female percentage is closer to 15-20% in more car-centric cities.

Collating the results and reporting

We know that the count will be a rough measure but also know that, while overall number may vary somewhat day to day or season to season the female ration stays fairly constant and reflects the cycling environment "upstream" of the count site.

How do I get involved?

For councils and authorities

If you are a city council or authority (or large business) and want to nominate site email us bikefutures@bicyclenetwork.com.au with "Global Bike Count" in the subject line.

We will coordinate the count. If councils want to be formally involved and receive official results then they can sign on to the official count and receive a report and analysis.

Send email

For individuals

If you are an individual interested in counting, email us at bikefutures@bicyclenetwork.com.au with "Volunteer Global Bike Count" in the subject line.

Send email

Count sheet

For line count

You can download a count sheet.

For full movement count

If you are interested in doing full movements at a cross intersection (4 legs intersections, 12 movements) you can use these:

Count bikes right on your SmartPhone!

Join Super Tuesday anywhere in the world.

If you have a smartphone, you can do use the CounterPoint app to do your counts right on your smartphone and submit them right away. You can choose to use the basic webapp or, if you have an iPhone or iPad, to use the iOS app. Remember to make sure you have lots of battery power. We recommend going to your count location early and doing a test count to get the hang of things. Try it, you'll love it.

Special note for iPhone users only

Bicycle Network has commissioned a special update to CounterPoint for this Super Tuesday. This new feature will be available just in time. If you already use CounterPoint, please ensure that you have updated to the latest version. If you don't see the new "Bike Only Gender" count option (see image), you have an old version. Just make sure to update the app.