Bike lanes continue to gain popularity in New Orleans with the latest set of lanes boasting a surge in riders, according to a new Tulane University study.
On South Carrollton Avenue, researchers at Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine saw more than three times the number of people cycling after one-mile
long bike lanes were striped.
Kathryn Parker, assistant director of the Prevention Research Center at Tulane University, led the study that was conducted over a 10-day period in September 2009 and again in September 2010 – before and after the lanes were installed.The findings were recently published online in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine.
The study is more exhaustive than previous studies of local bike lanes. Observers at designated areas not only counted cyclists on South Carrollton Avenue but also on the two streets running parallel on either side, capturing a larger picture of riders in the area.
The overall number of cyclists grew by 110 percent on South Carrollton Avenue and the side streets. But the greatest increase happened on the street with new bike lanes—a 225
percent increase from 79 daily riders a year ago to 257 daily riders.
“This study shows that bike lanes promote physical activity among all ages and are a cost-effective tool for planners, engineers and government officials,” Parker said. “The total cost of the South Carrollton Avenue bike lanes was less than 1 percent of the total road resurfacing project.”
Parker’s study found that the proportion of riders cycling in the correct direction—with traffic—also increased.
The City of New Orleans has added more than 37 miles of bike lanes on 16 streets since 2008. A previous Tulane study found the new bike lanes on St. Claude Avenue led to a 57
percent increase in the average number of cyclists per day. —Keith Brannon
This article originally appeared in Tulane New Wave.