More and more Seattle folks are biking to work. From Seattle Bike Blog:
Seattle rose to the number two spot among major US cities in terms of the number of people commuting to work by bike in 2010. The percentage of people using a bicycle as their primary mode of getting to work in Seattle increased 22 percent between 2009 and 2010, according to the annual American Communities Survey conducted by the US Census.
This data confirms the city’s 2010 downtown bike commute count, which measured an increase of 21.4 percent in the same time period.
Between 2005 and 2010, the percentage of people commuting by bike in Seattle increased 57 percent. Between 2000 and 2010, it increased 93 percent.
On top of what it says about the infrastructure improvements in the last decade or so, I think there is a cultural aspect that gets lost in the war on cars nonsense. And that’s that most Seattle drivers are perfectly willing to share the road with bikes.
Yes, there are asshole drivers. Yes, the recent spate of bicyclist deaths has been tragic. Yes, several media outlets have invested themselves in a story of a clash between driving and riding a bike. Yes, I’ve read the comment threads whenever there’s a bike story in the paper. But for the most part, drivers are willing to give you a bit of room and to slow down if they can’t. Speaking personally, I’ve had pleasant chats with people in cars with the windows down who just started talking to me when we were both stuck at red lights. Probably more than people yelling at me or honking their horns.
And while I don’t have any hard data, lots of Seattle drivers also ride bikes. There’s certanily some self interest for me when I’m driving and I see a bike. On top of wanting to make sure not to hit the person, I also feel that I’d better give room and slow down, etc. to put kindness to bicyclists out into the world.