New high for bicyclingNew high for bicycling

Download the 2013 Count Report here (pdf).

graphic showing 2013 percentages

Bicycle counts reached a new high in the 2013 count of nonmotorized transportation in the Twin Cities. The 2013 counts are the highest ever recorded for bicycle trips and the second highest for pedestrian trips. Between 2007 and 2013, bicycling increased by 78 percent, and walking by 16 percent, according to the 2013 Count Report released today by Bike Walk Twin Cities, a program of Transit for Livable Communities.

The figures are based on annual counts in September at 43 benchmark locations in Minneapolis and Saint Paul. This ongoing collection of annual data about bicycling and walking coincides with a significant expansion of the network of routes for bicycling and improvements in pedestrian infrastructure, along with other programmatic investments, funded through the Bike Walk Twin Cities federal Nonmotorized Transportation Pilot Program (NTPP). The annual count supplements existing data on motorized traffic to develop a more complete picture of overall traffic behavior in our communities.

“These are very encouraging results, showing that bicycling and walking are truly taking hold as transportation in the Twin Cities. And we are able to see clearly improved safety and, surely a point of pride in Minnesota, increased bicycling in all seasons.” said Joan Pasiuk, director of Bike Walk Twin Cities.

Other key findings

Bicycling and walking share of all transportation

One of the goals of the pilot program, as stated by Congress, was to determine to what degree bicycling and walking could carry a portion of the transportation load. BWTC looked specifically at bridges, which are a good gauge of overall travel patterns because they function as collectors of traffic where there are not route alternatives. The data show that people riding bicycles or walking comprise 11-26 percent, and average 8 percent, of overall traffic on six bridges over the Mississippi River. By comparison, the current bicycling and walking share of federal transportation funding is 1 to 2 percent.


The 2013 report shows that adding designated space for bicycles on roadways contributes to overall safety. At on-street locations with bicycle facilities such as bike lanes, only 8 percent of cyclists are riding on sidewalks versus 24 percent at on-street locations without bicycle facilities. Streets with bicycle facilities are safer for all users, including motorists, because bicyclists are more visible and predictable than when they ride on sidewalks. Bicyclists riding on sidewalks suddenly appear at intersections, which is dangerous, and they make people walking compete for space on the sidewalk.

More men and women bicycling, same gender split

Within the overall increase in cycling of 78 percent, the gender ratio between women and men has stayed the same as in 2008, when gender observations were first made. The share of women cyclists has ranged from 27 to 32 percent between 2008 and 2013, averaging 29 percent. The differences in genders in rates of walking is not as pronounced, with an average of 45 percent women pedestrians from 2008 to 2013.

More winter bicyclists

In addition to the annual counts, Bike Walk Twin Cities has conducted monthly counts at six locations since 2009. While the overall number of cyclists drops in winter, the monthly data show that bicycling in winter months is increasing at a higher rate than in summer months.