The Kentucky State Bicycle Coordinator is tasked with a difficult problem: planning for and supporting the needs of Kentucky cyclists. Unfortunately, very little quantitative information on the number of cyclists or their travel patterns has been collected in Kentucky. There is a pressing need to develop an efficient and low cost means to collect broad and useful data to support the bicycle program in Kentucky. Although some other jurisdictions include bicycles as vehicles in their traffic counting programs, Kentucky does not. Several complications make counting bicycles difficult: they cannot easily be detected by automatic counting devices, they travel in different locations, make unpredictable shortcuts and are simply a very uncommon vehicle in most of Kentucky. The objective of this project was to develop and test a bicycle count methodology that could be used in the locations in Kentucky where bicycle traffic is significant. This test of the count procedure should provide KYTC with information to consider the inclusion of bicycles as one element in the traffic counting programs. For planning purposes, more than just counts are desirable for bicycles. An understanding of the number, age, gender, travel infrastructure preferences (road vs path vs sidewalk), and origin/destination patterns for cyclists is needed to better plan for bicycling as a mode of transportation as well as to consider safety issues.
This report outlines the methodology and pilot test of such a bicycle count and data collection procedure. The assumed largest regular bicycle trip generator in Kentucky, the University of Kentucky Lexington campus was the location of the pilot study. Student counters were stationed around the perimeter of campus forming a complete cordon in shifts from 7AM to 7PM on Tuesday September 22, 1998. Counters recorded the following data: time of observation, gender, approximate age, helmet usage, location of bicycle (road versus sidewalk), travel direction (inbound versus outbound), and travel direction (with or against traffic). Despite the non-ideal weather conditions for biking (cool, overcast with some drizzle) a total of 3628 bicycle trips were counted. A total of 79% of the cyclists were male and only 11% were wearing helmets. Only 14% of the cyclists traveling on the road were traveling against traffic (the wrong way), while 44% of those on the sidewalk were. Certain points around the campus handled the bulk of the bicycle traffic which suggests possible locations or routes for specific bicycle infrastructure improvements. Several dangerous bicycle travel patterns were noted suggesting the need for safety education.
This next section of this report describes the count methodology and execution of the survey. The subsequent section provides comprehensive quantitative results, while the following section describes results which are of local value relating to bicycle transportation planning at the University of Kentucky. Finally, conclusions and recommendations are presented.
Digital Object Identifier
Aultman-Hall, Lisa, "Bicycle Cordon Count Pilot Study" (1999). Kentucky Transportation Center Research Report. 387.