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A Study of Visitor Bicycle Use in Yosemite Valley

  • Author(s): Co, Sean
  • Kurani, Ken
  • Turrentine, Tom
  • et al.
Abstract

This study of visitor bicycle use is part of a larger data collection effort conducted in Yosemite National Park during the summer of 1999. In addition to this study, the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California, Davis (ITS-Davis) also studied employees’ of the National Park Service (NPS), Yosemite Concessions Services (YCS) and park partners travel to and in Yosemite National Park. Operations Research Consulting Associates (ORCA) inventoried vehicles and visitors in Yosemite Valley. The University of Vermont conducted a study for Visitor Experience and Resource Protection (VERP). Park personnel and BRW, Inc. conducted a number of vehicle traffic counts. This document reports on the first comprehensive study of visitor bicycle use in Yosemite. It establishes several important baselines about cyclists during typical busy summer days, for example, the number of cyclists, the locations they visit, what proportion rent bicycles as compared to bringing their own, the distribution of the size of groups of cyclists, and the presence of children among groups of cyclists. Further, we asked a number of questions of cyclists about cycling infrastructure. Many of the obstacles that urban areas face in promoting bicycle use are less prevalent in Yosemite Valley. (Cycling in Yosemite National Park is virtually synonymous with cycling in Yosemite Valley, especially for visitors.) Traffic congestion occurs during the busy summer months. During this time, the bicycle is the quickest, most convenient way for many people to experience the Valley. It is during the summer months when the weather is warm and pleasant for bicycle riding. The flat terrain of the Valley makes bicycling easy for many groups of people with varying ability levels. Yosemite Valley also has a dedicated bikeway system that covers a large portion of the Valley. Distances to locations in the seven mile by one mile Valley are short, allowing short travel times to destinations.

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