A new survey reveals a dramatic rise in bicycle riders in Tel Aviv - 54 percent since 2010. According to estimates, 18,000 residents use bicycles to get to work or school, compared to 12,000 two years ago. Thirty-nine percent of households use at least one bicycle. The survey, which polled 1,500 adult Tel Aviv residents, was conducted by Heker for the Tel Aviv municipality economic and social research center.
Fourteen percent said their main transportation to school or work was by bicycle, compared to nine percent in the last survey from 2010. The number of residents using public transport has also risen from 25.5 percent in 2010 to 29.3 percent this year. The number of people walking to work or school rose slightly, and is now 17.3 percent. The use of private cars to commute to work or schools has fallen by five percent, to 43.4 percent.
The use of bicycles is substantially greater among residents of central and southern Tel Aviv compared to other parts of the city. Some 23.5 percent of central and southern residents said they ride their bikes habitually to reach all destinations, compared to only five percent in north and east Tel Aviv and Jaffa. Nonetheless, private vehicles are still the most popular means of transport among central city residents. In the northern part, two-thirds of the residents use private cars, and in Jaffa half of the population uses buses regularly.
According to the poll, residents believe the city's bicycle infrastructure could be improved: 61 percent believe there aren't enough bicycle paths, while a similar figure believe there aren't enough bicycle paths in their neighborhood. East Tel Aviv residents were the most satisfied with the number of bicycle paths in their area, while Jaffa residents were the most displeased. Eighty-one percent of city bicycle riders said pedestrians risk the safety of bicycle riders in the paths, while 55 percent of pedestrians said bicycle riders risk their safety.
Some 93 percent were aware of the municipality bicycle rental scheme "Tel Ofan," which was launched some 18 months ago, and 19 percent use the project. Respondents gave the project a high mark - 4.1 out of 5 - but those who didn't use the service gave it higher marks than those who do, echoing complaints of technical problems at the stations and low quality of bicycle maintenance.
Still, the municipality is set to add 21 new stations to the project. Some 20,000 Tel Aviv residents have a yearly subscription to the service.