CLEVELAND - Whether you credit people being healthier, going greener or blame a bad economy and high gas prices, pedal power is on the rise in Cuyahoga County.
The Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency (NOACA) reported an increase of about 50 percent in the number of bicyclists in 2010 over 2006.
NOACA annually tracks the number of cyclists at 17 different locations throughout the county. The agency takes days with similar weather conditions during the summer for their comparison. The ridership numbers gathered were during a 4-hour period at each location.
That quick snapshot, one day for 4 hours showed an encouraging trend, county-wide the number rose from 602 in 2006 to 906 in 2010.
Three locations in Cleveland showed significant increases: West 65th and Detroit Avenue, West 25th and Detroit Avenue, as well as the intersection of Ontario and Carnegie. Locations in Hunting Valley, Independence and the intersection of East 55th and Broadway in Cleveland showed decreases.
A news release from NOACA said reasons for the increase may include the downturn in the economy, higher gas prices, buses being outfitted with bike racks and the growing number of bike lanes.
The addition of a dedicated bike lane on the Euclid Corridor has increased bicycle traffic at two NOACA monitored intersections along Euclid Avenue.
“The two counts done on Euclid Avenue after bike lanes were installed illustrate the effect that providing a bicycle lane can have on encouraging people to try cycling,” said Sally Hanley, a senior transportation planner at NOACA. “If people feel safer in a dedicated lane, then they are more likely to ride their bikes. This has been shown by studies conducted in other regions.”
The numbers look small compared to the number of cars on the road, but the trend is encouraging to the folks at NOACA.
“Whatever the reason, we are delighted that more people are using their bikes as a form of transportation rather than just for recreation,” said Howard R. Maier, NOACA executive director. “Not only does cycling offer more exercise and a healthier lifestyle, but it also helps reduce air pollution because they’re not driving.”
NOACA is a transportation and environmental planning agency which addresses the transportation, air quality, and water quality needs of Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake, Lorain and Medina counties.
Their Regional Bicycle Transportation Plan can be found by visiting www.noaca.org .
Critical Halloween Ride
Cleveland Critical Mass hosts a monthly ride on the final Friday each month. The October 29 ride will have a Halloween theme though not required, costumes are encouraged.
Riders will gather on the southwest quadrant of Public Square starting at 6 p.m. and leave the Square at 6:30 p.m.
The ride is a chance for a social ride through areas around downtown. The ride usually lasts an hour or so and winds down at a gathering place to share a beverage and friendship.
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