Bicycle Commuting Stats Surge, Still Pretty Pathetic

There are 60% more people biking to work, but that's still not very many people
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted May 9, 2014 2:18 PM CDT

(Newser) – Bicycle commuting is on the rise! It's just not rising very far. The number of Americans who bike to work has surged an impressive-sounding 60% over the past decade, a bigger increase percentage-wise than any other mode of transportation, according to a new Census Bureau report spotted by USA Today. "In recent years, many communities have taken steps to support more transportation options," creating bike lanes, bike sharing programs, and pedestrian-friendly streets, one Census Bureau sociologist says.

The problem is that the raw number of cyclists remains really low, rising from 488,000 in 2000 to 786,000 in 2008-2012. Looking at numbers going back to 1980, Ben Mathis-Lilley at Slate offers the following less optimistic headline: "Bicycle Commuting Rates Rocket From 0.5% to 0.6% in Only 32 Years." Still, the story is different in a few cities. In Portland, Oregon, the rate is a fairly significant 6.1%, and in Minneapolis it's 4.1%. For the record, your faithful Newser editors would almost certainly bike to work if we did not all work from home.

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