More San Diegans biking during pandemic shutdown

Andy Hanshaw, executive director San Diego Bicycle Coalition, rides along the Bayshore Bikeway in Chula Vista.
A cyclist rides along the Bayshore Bikeway at Coronado Tidelands Park on Wednesday. A recent report by the San Diego Association of Governments showed that cycling was up in the region since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.
(Sam Hodgson / The San Diego Union-Tribune)

A SANDAG report shows a 42 percent increase in ridership in the first five months of the statewide stay-home order


You can only bake so much sourdough during a pandemic.

According to a report released Wednesday, another trend has emerged since the start of stay-home orders: biking.

Bicycle traffic on certain San Diego County roads and paths was up 42 percent on average from mid-March to mid-August when compared to the prior year, as cooped-up residents ran close-to-home errands or sought alternatives to the gym, the San Diego Association of Governments reported.

The traffic volume was measured by counters previously installed on eight bike corridors around the county, from National City to San Marcos. Each route saw an increase, ranging from 12 percent on the Landis Street corridor through North Park and City Heights, to 62 percent where the Inland Rail Trail meets Mission Road in San Marcos.

The biggest uptick in biking came during the second and third months of the statewide shutdown, from about mid-April to mid-June, with ridership increasing by more than 60 percent.

Biking volumes were up more during the weekends, with a 53 percent increase compared to a 35 percent increase during weekdays.

Will the trend last?

As the county has phased into reopening, ridership gains have fallen off, although by mid-August volume was still 22 percent higher than the same period last year.

In a separate survey conducted by SANDAG, more than 4 in 5 residents who acknowledged they’d been biking more since the stay-home orders began said they expect to keep it up even as restrictions are lifted.