Change I Like! Census Bureau Says A Lot More People Are Biking to Work

October 6, 2010 at 3:42 pm

I knew it! I felt It! I sensed it! The number of people getting around by bicycle is growing steadily. According to American Community Survey, conducted annually by the Census Bureau, the number of bike commuters grew 0.3 percent between 2005 and 2009. Rise in gas prices or the hard-hitting recession, etc, etc are among the many reasons.

A couple of undeniable factors that influenced this trend are: (1) the rising awareness among the public about the health benefits of biking and (2) the forward thinking city administrators and staff (such as NYC Transp. Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan and DC DOT’s Gabe Klein ) who have provided the necessary infrastructure that encourages safe biking.

Hope this trend continues and more cities take the cue.

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You’re right. That’s almost nothing. But bear in mind that’s the median for the entire country, which includes a whole lot of rural and exurban areas where bike commuting isn’t viable. Bike commuting is still an infinitesimally small percentage of all commutes, accounting for just 0.55 percent of commutes last year, according to the League of American Bicyclists.

But if you look only at urban areas — where bike commuting makes far more sense — the gains are huge. Given the Obama Administration’s emphasis on bike-friendlier transportation policies, the growth almost certainly will continue.

The League of American Bicyclists dove into the numbers and found bike commuting in the 70 largest cities (.pdf) in the United States climbed 35 percent between 2005 and 2009. Kansas City, Missouri, saw the biggest increase, climbing an astonishing 1,095 percent. Indianapolis followed with a jump of 392 percent. New Orleans rounded out the top three with an increase of 155 percent.

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