Bicycle weirdness: the data's a little woozy, but Chicago's #5 | Bleader

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Bicycle weirdness: the data's a little woozy, but Chicago's #5

Posted By on 05.23.12 at 09:49 AM

  • CDOT
A May 21 press release from Bicycling magazine, proclaiming that Chicago is the fifth most bike-friendly city in the country, got my attention with this astounding statement:

"According to Bicycling, Chicago cyclists now account for 51 percent of the traffic during rush hour, making the city’s plans to expand the bike-share system to 5,000 bikes a highly anticipated development."

That would come as a surprise to anyone negotiating Chicago's gazillion-car rush hour.

Where are all those bicycles?

And how much of a dent would 5,000 more make?

A few e-mails to Bicycling's PR firm later, it turned out that there were some dropped qualifiers, along with a bit of confusion: the actual statistic, they now say, is 53 percent of the eastbound traffic during morning rush hour at one intersection on the part of Kinzie Street that has a relatively new protected bike lane.

So, for whatever it's worth, here's the full list of Bicycling's top ten bike-friendliest cities in the U.S.: 1. Portland, Oregon; 2. Minneapolis; 3. Boulder; 4. Washington, D.C; 5. Chicago; 6. Madison; 7. New York; 8. San Francisco; 9. Eugene, Oregon; and 10. Seattle.

Meanwhile, the latest word on the controversial contract for Chicago's bike-sharing program, delivered last week by a city spokesperson, is that—although approved by the City Council—it technically hasn't been awarded yet, and that's why it was taken down from the list of approved contracts on the city website. According to the spokesperson, IDOT has yet to review the deal, but it's still on track, with Alta Bicycle Share, Inc., as the contractor.

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