SF Voters Demand More Spending, Improvements for Biking

A new independent poll of likely San Francisco voters shows unprecedented support for action from City leaders to encourage more biking, add more protected bike lanes and ensure that biking is accessible to people of all ages in every neighborhood.

The poll was conducted by David Binder Research, surveying 402 likely voters by cell phone and land line between Saturday, Aug. 20 and Tuesday, Aug. 23, and was commissioned by the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition. The margin of error is 4.9 percent. Findings include:

  • Over four-fifths of likely voters (83 percent) believe that bicycling is good for San Francisco, and that bicycling in the city should be comfortable and attractive to everyone from small children to seniors.
  • For the first time, a majority of San Franciscans (51 percent) report biking occasionally, and 31 percent report riding regularly, meaning a few times a month or more.
  • A supermajority of San Franciscans (72 percent) support restricting private autos on Market Street.
  • Most San Franciscans (56 percent) support dramatically increasing City spending on bike infrastructure from around 0.5 percent to eight percent of the City’s transportation budget.
  • Two-thirds of San Franciscans (66 percent) support building a network of cross-town bike lanes connecting every neighborhood in San Francisco, even at the expense of travel lanes and parking spots.
  • Twice as many San Francisco voters are are likely to ride a bike on unprotected bike lanes (57 percent) than on streets without bike lanes (28 percent). Likely riders jump up to 65 percent on physically protected bike lanes.
  • Most voters (54 percent) would like to bike more frequently than they do presently.
  • With so many people reporting that biking is good for our city, and expressing the desire for better infrastructure and incorporating biking more into their lives, it is no surprise that a supermajority (68 percent) believe that City leaders are not doing enough to encourage biking.

Heading into the 2016 election season, it is clearer than ever than San Francisco voters demand more to encourage and improve biking in our city. The research suggests a rough path forward for candidates whose platforms fail to incorporate policies and plans friendly to people who bike or desire to do so.

“Even in a city considered a national leader in biking, this is the strongest that support has ever been for biking in San Francisco,” said Brian Wiedenmeier, executive director of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition. “These results show that our work advocating for people who bike has never been more important than it is today. It is imperative that City leaders demonstrate their responsiveness to the people of San Francisco and step up their plans to improve biking here.”

The survey follows on the heels of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Authority’s annual bike count numbers, released in April of 2016, showing that the popularity of biking is rising faster than that of any other transportation mode. The data showed an increase of 8.5 percent in the number of bike trips taken in San Francisco between 2014 and 2015, and a 184 percent increase since 2006.

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