San Francisco's annual Bike to Work Day drew a record 200,000 bicyclists this morning, according to early estimates, making it the most successful bike to work day since it began 15 years ago. Crowds of cyclists took advantage of the SFBC Energizer Stations to get food and coffee and make new friends in what has become the most exciting and politically important year for bicycle improvements in the city.
Eight supervisors, including car-free Board of Supervisors President David Chiu, and other
dignitaries and agency staff, rode from locations around the city to
City Hall, where they held a press conference to call for quick action
on the Bicycle Network once the longstanding injunction is lifted.
"I'm so proud to say our movement both politically and at a grassroots level is stronger and more successful than ever, and I think it's fair to say is one of the strongest advocacy movements in the city today," SFBC Executive Director Leah Shahum told the crowd, urging city leaders to move forward. "They all know this: we are never satisfied. So what we've accomplished up to today does not compare to what is coming."She added that the city will have to shift priorities and take street space away for bicycles if real change is going to come: "If we're serious about our climate change goals, if we're serious about our public health goals, if we're serious about lessening congestion -- and we want this city to be affordable for families and folks of all income levels -- we have to make this a bike friendly city. It's not a choice."
Chiu gave props to the Bike Coalition and cyclists in general, saying, "I've only been in office a few months and there are hundreds of interests that troll the halls, but what's different between them and the SF Bicycle Coalition is that you are actually real people. You guys are real San Franciscans. This is a real movement, this is a revolution. We are looking forward here at the Board of Supervisors to making sure that every one of these bike lanes gets developed and gets built."
Pointing at the map of the Bicycle Network, he added, "I don't think we should stop at what this map looks like. We need to keep on going."
Bicycling Numbers are Way Up
Bike to Work Day was bolstered by the news that the number of people bicycling the streets of San Francisco has dramatically increased since 2006, according to the Municipal Transportation Agency's first State of Cycling Report  issued today:
The Report documents a 43 percent increase in bicycling citywide in the past two years shows that 128,000 trips daily—or 6 percent—are via bicycle. The Report provides a baseline analysis of bicycling from information gathered via bicycle counts and surveys conducted during 2006, 2007 and 2008.
In addition, the agency counted record numbers of bicyclists on Market Street at Van Ness Avenue this morning:
A count taken between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. this morning found that twice as many bicyclists as motorists traveled eastbound on Market Street past Van Ness Avenue. A total of 776 bicycles were counted, compared to 374 automobiles. Bicycles made up 66 percent of the total vehicles headed eastbound, while automobiles came in at 31 percent (transit and taxis accounted for the remaining 3 percent of the vehicles). In 2008 bicycles accounted for 64 percent of the vehicles and automobiles for 32 percent.
Photos from the rides are coming in on our Streetsblog San Francisco Flickr pool, which you can see here . Send us your photos and we'll post the best ones!