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tl-w.gif (842 bytes)tr-w.gif (841 bytes)A SURVEY OF NORTH AMERICAN BICYCLE COMMUTERS

Used With Permission.

January 24, 1997
		    William E. Moritz, Ph.D.

		  Human Powered Transportation

		    University of Washington

			   Box 352500

		      Seattle WA 98195-2500
	    Copyright (c) 1997.  All rights reserved.

NOTE:	This document summarizes the results obtained in a  study

of  bicycle commuters in the U.S. and Canada.  A paper	(97-0979)

describing  the methodology and aggregate results of  the  survey

was  presented at the 1997 Transportation Research Board  meeting

in Washington. D.C., on January 15, 1997.  The information  below

was taken from the oral presentation made at TRB.  A copy of  the

survey instrument is attached to this report.

OBJECTIVES of the study:
     From as many bike commuters (BC) as possible,

     Gather as much information as practical,

     At the lowest possible cost.  (This study was unfunded.)


     Frequency / Time / Distance of commute trips

     Bicycle type / Accessories used / Costs

     Facilities used during commute

     What motivated them to start/continue bike commuting

     What was their safety/crash experiences.

QUALIFICATIONS to participate:
     Be A REGULAR BC - which meant

	  At least 1 day per week and

	  At least 6 months per year
     in the 12 months prior to completing the survey.
(The survey was available from May 1995 through May 31, 1996.)

     Primarily by electronic means using the Internet.

     Also provided in hard copy if a SASE was sent.

     Some were returned by FAX.

"PUBLICITY"   The following means were used to make bike

	  commuters aware of the survey:
     Via the Internet using various bicycle mailing lists.

     Several bike clubs announced it in their newsletters.
     National bicycle magazines:

	  Adventure Cycling

	  Bicycle USA (LAB)

     Recipients were asked to 'pass-it-along' to others.

LIMITATIONS:   It is important to understand what the survey  was

     Not a statistical or random sample of BCs.

     No attempt was made to estimate the total number of BCs.

     Results represent a subset of all BCs.

SURVEY INSTRUMENT: A written questionnaire was prepared.  (Copy

     Contained 36 questions with the maximum number of responses

	  equal to 95.	For some questions multiple responses


     Basically a fill-in-the-blanks format.

     Comments were permitted at the end.
     Estimated average time to complete the survey is 15 minutes

REQUIRED  RESPONSES   In  order to be included in  the	data  set

	  certain responses were required:
     How many years BC?

     Number of BC trips per week.

     Usual commute mode.

     Commute distances and times.

     Total BC miles in the prior 12 months.

     Fractional use of bike facilities while BC.



     ZIP or Postal Code
     Failure  to provided these responses resulted in the  survey

     being rejected.

DATA  CHECKING	The survey contained several internal checks  for

	  consistency. These included:
     Obvious entry errors.

     "Impossible" average commuting speeds (BC > 24 MPH /

	  Usual > 50 MPH)

     Total fractional facilities use in the range 90-110%.

     Total fractional trip purposes in the range 90-110% (this

	  was for their TOTAL bicycling miles / year).

     (Total yearly bike miles) times (stated % commuting) had to

	  equal total reported BC miles to within +/-20%.

RESPONSE:  During the 12 months the survey was open,
     Total returned = 2700   of which
     Incomplete or Duplicate = 255 (9%)  and

     Failed data checking = 71 (3%)  yielding a
     Sample size = 2374 (88% of those returned)

     (NOTE: Small Canadian response may be due to the difficulty

     of  Canadians to provide a SASE with US postage - a  problem

     that was not anticipated when the survey was designed.)

     Internet (sent and returned electronically) = 66%

     Internet sent / mailed hardcopy back	 = 10%

     Regular mail sent and returned		 = 24%
     (As noted above, a small number were returned by FAX.)

     New England / NY / NJ / PA    16%

     Mid Atlantic / South	   15%

     Great Lakes / Midwest	   16%

     Mountain / West		    8%

     CA / HI			   20%

     WA / OR / ID		   21%

     Canada			    3%

     Sex: Male (81%)

     Age: 39 years (range 15-71)

     Occupation: Professional (58%)

     Household income: >$45,000 (63%)

     Health: Improved somewhat or greatly since BC (82%)

     Car ownership: 1 (44%)  while 12% reported ZERO cars of whom

	  90% said this was by their choice.
     (NOTE: These results probably are due to the primary method

     of distribution - Internet.  More professionals and higher

     incomes might be expected from net users.)

     < 26  =  6%

     26-35 = 33%

     36-45 = 36%

     46-55 = 19%

     > 55  =  5%

     Average years BC = 8+  (range 0.5 to 42)

     Usual commute mode: bike = 70%,  auto = 20%

     Average one-way commute trips per week = 8

     Mode before BC:

	  Automobile  = 54%

	  Transit     = 18%

	  Walking     = 12%

	       Usual	 Bike	   Usual     Bike

	       Distance  Distance  Time      Time

Average        7.3 mi	 7.2 mi    20.4 min  30.3 min

Median	       6	 6	   20	     25

	       Commuting      TOTAL

Average 	1858	       3288

Median		1500	       2607

Low		 100		100

High	       12000	      18000
Aggregate miles reported: Commuting = 4410287,	TOTAL = 7805466

     Weather		 39%

     Other		 14%

     Need car at work	  8%

     Multiple responses   6%

     Family duties	  6%

     Bike lockers	      15%

     Bike racks 	      69%

     Locked room/cage	      19%

     Shower		      57%

     Clothes storage	      44%

     Commute bicycle cost: average = $687  /  median = $500
     Annual expenses:  Average = $714 TOTAL
	  Bike purchase        = $308

	  Upgrades	       = $102

	  Consumables	       = $ 76

	  Clothing	       = $ 89

	  Tools/Repairs        = $ 89

	  Miscellaneous        = $ 50

HELMET USE:  Ownership	98%
     Worn while BC:  At All Times   = 87%

		     90-99% of time =  5%

		     Never	    =  3%

MOTIVATION: Why BC? (Multiple responses OK)
     Health/Fitness		   95%

     Environment		   82%

     Congestion 		   52%

     Cost of gas		   40%

     Parking cost/availability	   34%
     Noted as missing from the choices: FUN!!!

CRASH EXPERIENCE in the previous 12 months resulting in at least

	  $50 in property damage and/or personal injury expense.

	  (While commuting)
     Number reporting a crash	   232 (10%)

     Total crashes reported	   271
     Fraction reported to police   38%

     Legal action followed	   13%

	       Prop	      Medical

Average        $  339	      $ 1120

Median	       $  100	      $  100

High	       $10000	      $20000

     Motor vehicle	      58%

     No on else (e.g. fall)   30%

     Other cyclist	       6%

     Pedestrian 	       3%

     Animals		       2%

FACILITY CRASH RATES per million miles while bike commuting
     Major street/highway (no bike facs)      77.6

     Minor street (no bike facs)	      63.7

     Streets with bike lanes/bike route*      30.8

     Mixed use trail/"bike path"              41.0

     Other (usually indicated as sidewalks)  327.1
     * an error occurred in designing the survey wherein BL and

     BR were combined in the crash facility question making it

     impossible to separate the crash rates between these facs.

       CONCEPT OF "RELATIVE DANGER"  defined for a facility type

     as the [fraction of crashes] divided by the [fraction of

     miles ridden on that facility].   Thus facility where

     20% of the crashes occur with 20% of the miles ridden

     would have a RD = 1.0.  Crashes in proportion to exposure.
     Based on the data submitted by these 2374 BCs, the following

     RDs can be calculated for each facility type:


	  Major street/highway (no bike facs)	  1.26

	  Minor street (no bike facs)		  1.04

	  Streets with bike lanes/bike route	  0.50

	  Mixed use trail/"bike path"             0.67

	  Other (usually indicated as sidewalks)  5.32

CONCLUDING THOUGHT, in the words of one respondent:
     "We are truly blessed.  How many people riding in their

     cars would say that about their commute?"




This survey seeks data on bicycle commuting (to either work or

school / college), and is being carried out by the Human Powered

Transportation Program at the University of Washington.
Our goal is to reach as many bike commuters as possible across

the U.S.A. and Canada.	For the purposes of this survey, a

'regular' bike commuter uses a bicycle at least 1 day per week, 6

months a year.	If you do not bike commute at least this much,

please pass on this survey to someone who does.
All identifying information will be removed upon receipt and the

results will be tabulated so that individual replies will not be

identifiable and only summaries of the responses received will be

reported.  Answers should be based on the all bicycle commuting

you did during the PREVIOUS 12 month period, unless otherwise stated.
Complete answers by replacing the asterisk with your answer.

Where a series of choices is given, replace the asterisk with the

number assigned to your particular choice.
Please share this with other regular bike commuters you know, we

are looking for the widest possible distribution.
Thank you for taking the time to complete this survey.

Unless otherwise stated, trip refers to your typical, one-way

commute trip.  A round trip (e.g. home-work-home) should be

treated as two one-way trips.
*  1. How long have you been regularly commuting by bicycle (yrs)?
*  2. How many commute trips (each way) do you make per week? [Going

      to work and returning home once per day, 5 days/week would = 10.]
*  3. Over the course of a year, what is your USUAL (>50%)

     commute mode?

      own car=1,  vanpool / carpool=2,	transit=3,  motorbike=4,

      bike=5, walk=6,  other=7
   4. What is your commute distance and time for your USUAL mode?

*    a. miles (typical one-way trip).

*    b. minutes (typical one-way trip).
   5. What is your commute distance and time by bike ONLY?

*    a. miles (typical one-way trip).

*    b. minutes (typical one-way trip).
*  6. Total miles of bike commuting in the past 12 months.
*  7. How did you commute before you started using your bicycle?

	motor vehicle=1,  car/vanpool =2,  transit=3,

	motorbike=4,  walk=5, always bike commuted=6,  other=7
*  8. If 100% of your commute trips are NOT by bike, what is the

      PRIMARY reason for not bike commuting on these occasions ?
	need car at work=1,  roads too dangerous=2

	personal safety=3,  lack of facilities at work=4,

	weather conditions=5,  darkness=6,

	family reasons (i.e. drop off/pick up children)=7,

	other (please specify)=8
*  9. How many months in a year do you NOT commute by bicycle

	because of your regional climate (bad weather)?
   10. What percentage of your BICYCLE commute trip is made on...

*%	a. major or arterial roads (w/no specific bike facilities) ?

*%	b. minor streets (w/ no specific bike facilities) ?

*%	c. on-street facilities (bike lanes)?

*%	d. signed bike route (only signs - no bike lanes)?

*%	e. bike paths / trails (off street bike facilities) ?

*%	f. other?
   11. Are any of the following facilities provided at your

	destination for bicycle commuters? ( No=0, Yes=1 )

*	a. Parking lockers

*	b. Racks

*	c. Locked room / cage

*	d. Showers

*	e. Clothes storage

*	f. Others (please specify)
   12. What facilities not provided at your destination would you

	most like to see (& why) ?

*  13. What type of bicycle do you use MOST for commuting?

	road / racing=1,  mountain=2,  hybrid=3,  touring=4

	recumbent=5,  other (please specify)=6
*  14. Do you have a second commuting bike for bad weather

	conditions, alternative destination, etc. ?

    Answer No=0, or use key above from Q. 13.
*  15. a. Estimate your total MILES ridden (all purposes), in the

	past 12 months.

    Indicate what percentage of these MILES were:

*%     b. commuting trips

*%     c. utility / non-commute trips (i.e. shopping)

*%     d. recreation / touring / exercise

*      e. Are responses on odometer data? ( No=0,  Yes=1 )
The following questions are concerned only with the bicycle you

MOST REGULARLY use for commuting...
$* 16. How much did it cost?
   17. Do you regularly carry / use any of the following on your

	commute?  ( No=0, Yes =1 )

*	a. mirror

*	b. odometer/"computer/speedometer

*	c. bags / panniers

*	d. pump and patch kit

*	e. spare tube and/or tire

*	f. comprehensive tool kit

*	g. front light(s) - NOT a flasher

*	h. approximate total watts for front light(s)

*	i. front flasher(s)
*	j. rear light(s) - NOT a flasher

*	k. rear flasher(s)

*	l. reflectors and / or reflective tape

*	m. bell / horn
*  18. Do you own a cycling helmet? ( No=0, Yes=1 )
*% 19. Percentage of commute trips do you use your helmet?
   20. Amounts spent (total dollars) in the last 12 months on...
     NOTE: When considering yearly costs, assign each cost item

     to one category only, e.g. do not assign home repair costs

     to 'consumables' & 'repairs'.
$*   a. bicycle purchase

$*   b. accessories at the time of bike purchase except clothes

$*   c. upgrades after bike purchase (e.g. better wheels, pedals)

$*   d. consumables (e.g. chains, brakes pads, tires etc.)

$*   e. clothing

$*   f. bike shop repairs/service

$*   g. tools / supplies for HOME repairs and service

$*   h. bike parking

$*   i. any other costs not included above (specify below)
*% 21. What percentage of repairs do you do yourself (as opposed

       to taking your bike to a bike shop)?

   22. Does your employer/school encourage bike commuting by:

	( No=0, Yes=1)

*	a. Loaner bikes / free bikes

*	b. Cash incentives

*	c. Prizes / award ceremonies

*	d. Guaranteed ride home

*	e. Ride companion scheme

*	f. Education program

*	g. New facilities

*	h. Other (please specify)
   23. Did any of the following play a part in your decision to

       bike commute? ( No=0, Yes=1 )

*	a. Motor vehicle parking costs / availability

*	b. Motor vehicle fuel costs

*	c. Congestion

*	d. Improved public bicycle facilities

*	e. Moved closer to work

*	f. Environmental concerns

*	g. Health/fitness
   24. Regarding SERIOUS accidents that you have been involved in

     while commuting by bicycle in the last 12 months (count only

     those incidents in which injuries or property damage in

     excess of $50 resulted):
*	a. How many have you been involved in?

$*	b. Estimate TOTAL property damage for these accidents.

$*	c. Estimate TOTAL medical costs for these accidents.
   25. How many of the accidents from Q. 24..

*	a. were reported to the police?

*	b. resulted in legal action?

   26. How many of the accidents from Q. 24...

*	a. involved a motor vehicle?

*	b. involved other cyclists?

*	c. involved pedestrians?

*	d. involved animals?

*	e. involved no-one else?
   27. How many of the accidents from Q. 24...

*	a. required you to visit a doctor &/or accident room?

*	b. required a stay in hospital?
   28. How many of the accidents from Q. 24...

*	a. occurred on a major street / highway?

*	b. occurred on a minor street?

*	c. occurred on a bike lane / bike route?

*	d. occurred on a bike path?

*	e. occurred on another type of facility?

*  29. Your general health since you started bicycle commuting?

	improved greatly=1, improved somewhat=2,

	not improved at all=3, has deteriorated=4

*  30. Age?
*  31. Gender?	(Female=1, Male=2)
*  32. Total Household Income per year.  Less than $15K=1,

       $15-$30K=2, $30K-$45K=3,  $45-60K=4,  More than $60K=5
*  33. Occupation.  Student=1,	Clerical=2,  Professional=3,

	Administrative=4, Academic/Teacher=5,  Managerial=6,

	General/Skilled Labor=7, Sales=8,  Other=9
*  34. a. How many motor vehicles do you own ?

*      b. If ZERO, is this by choice ? ( No=0, Yes=1 )
*  35. City.

*  36. Zip / Postal Code.

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