Video: 400+ Cyclists Per Hour on the Manhattan Bridge

New York Post columnist Steve Cuozzo, proponent of birther-style conspiracy theories about the growth of cycling in New York, might want to check out this YouTube clip that NYC DOT posted earlier this week, along with other information on how it conducts bike counts. It’s a time-lapse video of cyclists on the Brooklyn approach to the Manhattan Bridge during the morning rush last May. Real people riding real bikes — see for yourself, Steve.

Last year, the city counted 2,984 cyclists per day on the Manhattan Bridge, compared to 2,606 in 2009 and 2,210 in 2008, the last full year before the Sands Street bike path was built. Those counts come from averaging the number of cyclists using the bridge between 7 a.m and 7 p.m. on six days between April and October. Back in 2005 (when the city got its numbers from a single day’s observation instead of six, making comparisons to today somewhat indirect), 829 cyclists were counted on the Manhattan Bridge [PDF].

After the jump, bonus time-lapse footage from Tracy Collins, showing bike and car traffic over the Vanderbilt rail yard on Sixth Avenue in Brooklyn last August. By my count there are about 30 bikes and 80 motor vehicles headed toward Park Slope over the course of about 30 light cycles:

  • Gibby Dunn

    Wait, so you’re telling us that former DOT Commissioner Iris Weinshall, plaintiff in the Prospect Park West law suit, believes that the current DOT is not demanding and professional enough in its data collection and analysis, yet when she was DOT commissioner back in 2005 she only did a one day bike count on the Manhattan Bridge?!

  • wkgreenra

    Try Bergen St. from 5th Ave. to Smith St. in the morning, and adjacent Dean St. going the other way in the evening. These streets feed onto and off of both Bklyn & Manhattan bridges as well as downtown Bklyn. On mornings when I commute, I often count about the same number of bikes as cars backed up at the lights, particularly at Bergen and 3rd Ave. Since bikes tend to cluster at the front and don’t take up as much space, it’s not always obvious how many there are, but I’d love to see a video count done there.

  • All these cyclists were alerted by the super secret DOT bike cabal to ride that day. I don’t believe your logic.

  • NBBLers Anyonymous

    lies. lies. lies. lies. this must be fake data video collection. I demand that every person on bike needs to have a transponder installed in their bike. that will be the only true way to prove that the cycling boom never happened, or something….uh…yeah.

  • Anonymous

    Even if there are a lot of cyclist, they are not real New Yorkers.

  • MVZ

    These arguments over the number of cyclists being high, low, growing, or shrinking just make me mad. Even if there were just 10 people going over the bridge a day as of now, the city should still being doing everything it can to encourage more, not less, people to get around by bike. Anything else is just short-sighted and is in denial about the future of fuel usage and transit in the city. Bicycles are efficient, and riding them is healthy. Cars, not so much.

  • Just want to report – Yesterday (Thursday) I was part of a veritable choo-choo train of bikes, all merging onto the approach to the Manhattan Bridge on the Brooklyn side.

    Beautiful 🙂

  • Anonymous

    You can tell because they’re riding bikes. (Don’t tell Kissena)

  • Anonymous

    You’re right, but actually, the very best kind of study is unaudited, and performed by a lone highly biased crackpot amateur with a vested interest in the outcome from his/her apartment window using unfamiliar technology. During the winter. A qualified psychiatrist can explain how these are scientific best-practices.

  • Mr Bad Example

    So… updwards of 1,500 cyclists are willing to brave the totally horrible Brooklyn entrance to the Manhattan bridge twice a day? Imagine what the numbers would be like if it were easier…

  • Mike

    The new entrance via Sands St is actually pretty great. It’s hard to imagine how it could be much better.

  • I am not a conspiracy theorist, but if I were, I would assert that all those people on bikes in the video were just the same half-dozen, going in circles. Those trees inside the loop look fake and Photoshopped. That’s what they did in this 1906 video; the same car keeps circling into the camera’s view. What goes around comes around, in more ways than one.

  • moocow

    Mike, the Jay street entrance the approach from the south, is so, so dangerous, the massive cracks, the jockeying for the inches to the light… it is really bad. Riding on Jay by Metrotech, it’s hard to imagine a worse street, then you find it in the last 60 yards to the entrance..

  • Mike

    Absolutely, moocow — that’s part of what makes the Sands St entrance so great. Give it a try!

  • Mr Bad example

    Mike–the Sands Street entrance makes zero sense for people coming from Southwest Brooklyn down Jay Street. I’d have to cut east an extra six or seven blocks to pick up Navy street and then go back west.
    I see riders coming from Sand Street, but they’re the minority–the most common entrance to the bridge is via Jay Street, and it’s a disaster.

  • moocow

    You would have to cross Flatbush and thread through that Gold street area mess. I do take Sands street when I can make an excuse, the PPW lane helps that routing decision. What makes the shit condition of Jay st so offensive to me, is thinking of newbie commuters there. I am so happy with other jobs DoT has completed, but then they leave a stretch that is so obviously dangerous. Even if the precinct that is blocks away did their job…-put fear in the hearts of these rabid, unscrupulous drivers- that would still be a technical and dangerous interchange.
    Has anyone else noticed all the tourists on the Bike n Roll rentals? Midday there can be as many of them riding the Manhattan as there are locals.

  • I’ve never tried it, but is Clinton-Tillary-Adams-Sands a better route from the SW?

    I’ll try it tomorrow, even though Clinton is a few blocks out of my way.

  • The route linked in my previous comment was low-stress and enjoyable. I’d definitely recommend it if Clinton is not out of your way. There are bike lanes the whole way (2-way lane on the left side of Tillary, then left onto Adams just after the Brooklyn Bridge bike entrance.)

    I got to Clinton from Pacific & Smith. Curiously, Pacific is marked as an alternate bike route to the Brooklyn Bridge, but not the Manhattan. (It’s out of the way for both, but one fewer block out of the way for the Brooklyn.)


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