Where do Pittsburgh’s bike commuters feel safest?

A dive into the Make My Trip Count safety rankings

With safety among cyclist’s top concerns and priorities, looking at where cyclists already do or don’t feel safe is important. Using the Green Building Alliance’s Make My Trip Count (MMTC) survey, we took a dive into how safe Pittsburghers find their bicycle commutes.

MMTC is one of the most comprehensive surveys of how Pittsburghers get around. While participation varied between neighborhoods, the survey still generated roughly 20,000 responses, offering a glimpse into the complexity of transportation in Pittsburgh.

Using the MMTC data, we’ve previously reported on a cycling survey overview, a closer dive into where people bike, and a look at how to keep up biking growth.

People feel safest in neighborhoods near bike lanes and trails

According to MMTC, 15% of people who live within Pittsburgh chose “bicycle” as one of their top three modes. The survey then dug deeper and asked them to rank the safety of their bicycle commute on a 1-7 scale, with 1 being “Not safe at all” and 7 being “Very safe.”

Overall, around 50% of cycling respondents reported feeling safe cycling on their route, ie. ranking their level of safety as between 5-7. Neighborhoods with more reporting cyclists tended towards this average; neighborhoods with fewer cycling respondents show polarizing responses – very high or very low – that might not reflect the conditions and experiences of a greater number of cyclists on their routes.

Respondents reported feeling “not at all safe” on their routes originating from 16 different neighborhoods.

Riders reported feeling “very safe” on their routes originated from 25 different neighborhoods. Not surprisingly, these are also the neighborhoods with the most bike lanes or with easy access to the Three Rivers Heritage Trail System.

While there is a significant amount of neighborhood overlap between “very safe” and “not at all safe”, many of these neighborhoods are also the ones with the largest number of riders. Wherever there are more responses, the responses will vary, since something like cycling safety is very particular to individuals.

The three neighborhoods with the most cycling respondents include Squirrel Hill South, Shadyside, and Bloomfield. Below is the spectrum of responses between “not at all safe” and “very safe.”

Factors from gender to infrastructure can impact the experience of safety while cycling. As the data shows, a zipcode can determine how safe a Pittsburgher feels while bike commuting, and can offer guidance to where to prioritize improvements so that everyone can benefit, no matter which neighborhood you call home.


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