Safe Routes Scoop

Bike Survey


Why are people bicycling? Respondents who had bicycled in the last six months rode primarily for purposes of recreation or exercise; 42 percent reported for recreational purposes, and 33 percent for health and exercise. Of the 25 percent who reported riding for utilitarian trips, only four percent were for commuting.


Where are people bicycling?
Despite the preponderance of recreational trip types, most bicycling occurred on roadways; specifically 44 percent on streets with vehicular traffic, 17 percent on sidewalks, 17 percent in streets riding against traffic, and six percent who identified themselves as bicycling in a vehicular fashion. Seventeen percent reported trail biking.


Bicyclists and Safety
Generally, bicyclists reported feeling safe bicycling in New Jersey -- 90 percent reported feeling safe while 10 percent said they felt unsafe. However, the general perception of safety dropped to 77 percent when bicycle commuters were isolated. When asked about safety biking in their neighborhoods, 58 percent said they felt very safe, 29 percent felt somewhat safe, and 13 percent felt somewhat unsafe or very unsafe. Time of day also was a significant factor in perceptions of safety. Between 9 and 15 percent of respondents who bicycled between early morning and early evening hours reported feeling somewhat or

very unsafe, versus a third (33%) of those who bicycled in the late evening. Among bicyclists who did not feel safe, the reasons cited were too much traffic (37%), lack of facilities (34%), motorist behavior (17%), fear of crime (7%), and “other” (5%.)


Bicycling and Land Use
Because the survey was conducted on a statewide basis, it precluded route-specific or fine grained land use characteristics. Instead, land use variables were factored in by looking at zip code areas which provided a rough measure of local characteristics. Of the area-based characteristics that were examined, only population density and the availability of parks and playgrounds were statistically significant. Respondents were asked whether or not destinations were within bicycling distance. A land use typology was subsequently developed and responses coded according to the number of destinations reported to be within bicycling distance; nearly a quarter (24%) of respondents reported bicycling in the last six months in low intensity areas, increasing to 33 percent in medium intensity areas, and 42 percent in high intensity areas.


What kind of improvements do bicyclists want in their communities? Bicyclists were asked what kind of improvements their communities needed; the responses were more bike lanes (73%), more

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