CLEMSON — More men than women shift gears at Clemson University. Nearly 80 percent of the bicyclists riding to and from campus are males, according to a report on bike ridership and walking.

The Clemson Bicycle and Pedestrian 2013 Count Report helps leaders consider the opportunities to support the use of alternative modes of transportation on the campus.  Data from the count enables campus planners and campus life leaders to learn more about bicycle riding and pedestrians on campus by tallying bicycle and pedestrian trips at specific locations.

University transportation experts make projections for specific locations based on two days of observations. National models are used to project potential future bicycle and walking trips.

The 2013 count was the first year pedestrians were tallied. It is the third year for cyclists, providing data for comparison.

What planners know about the cyclists making the trips are:

  • 77 percent of cyclists are males
  • 75 percent of cyclists rode in the street, not on sidewalks
  • 25 percent wore helmets

In 2012 data showed:

  • 81 percent of cyclists were males
  • 79 percent of cyclists rode in the street
  • 14 percent of cyclists wore helmets

In 2011 data showed:

  • 80 percent of cyclists were males
  • 75 percent of cyclists rode in the street
  • 19 percent of cyclists wore helmets

Over the last three years the trends have been consistent and point to shortcomings in need of attention.

First, campus leaders must reverse the trend of bicycle riders not wearing helmets, the report says.

“This is particularly alarming when considering that most of the study sites are along major roads and transportation corridors and intersections,” according to the report. “Education campaigns and programs could address the benefits to wearing helmets, along with other critical safety concerns with the goal of increasing bicycle riding safety on campus.”

The report also highlights the gap in ridership between men and women bicycle riders on the campus. More men are riding bikes than women at Clemson, matching national trends. Looking at what discourages women from riding bikes and addressing those concerns would be an important step toward increasing the total number of bicycle riders and the percentage of female bicycle riders at Clemson University, according to the report.

University Planning and Design staff organize the annual bicycle count on campus enlisting student and staff volunteers from the Institute of Transportation Engineers Clemson Student Chapter, landscape architecture department, Real Estate Development Program and the university Library.

Data is collected from different intersections on campus on a Tuesday and Wednesday to account for the variation of class schedules during the week.

The count came about from Clemson University Bikeways Master Plan in 2012 and “Objective 3.3” of the President’s Commission on Sustainability’s annual report card: “Increase bike riders and pedestrian traffic while reducing automobile traffic in the interior of campus.”

Last year, Clemson was nationally recognized as a Bicycle Friendly University, one of only 75 institutions of higher education to receive the award. The bicycle and pedestrian count helps support the designation.