The number of bicyclists on the road has increased 16 percent over an average of the previous four years, according to a recent traffic survey conducted at 25 downtown intersections by volunteers with the Santa Barbara Bicycle Coalition. According to coalition chief Ralph Fertig, the numbers of cyclists counted either increased or remained the same at 21 of the 25 intersections. The intersection of State and Cannon Perdido streets was by far the busiest.
The survey was conducted between 4 and 6 p.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays this June. Volunteers spent two hours at each intersection. In absolute numbers, the traffic count jumped from 3,339 bicycles to 3,861. Most, said Fertig, were utilitarian riders; only a handful were dressed in spandex out for an evening ride. A few rode electric bicycles.
According to the 2000 census, 3.4 percent of the Santa Barbara population over the age of 16 rides a bike to work. That number does not count students going to school. In the upcoming census, the federal government will not be asking about commuting habits.