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 User
Posted May 9, 2014 2:18 PM CDT
   (Shutterstock)

(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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NorCalHal
May 10, 2014 5:49 PM CDT
There is a good reason some countries have high numbers of bicycles. Things like densely populated cities, high fuel costs, high vehicle costs, low numbers of family members, high cost, or impossible to find, vehicle parking. Better individual health "May" be a benefit of cycling but with the higher risk of death or injury, the polluted air some must ride in and the fact they have been driven to cycling due to the cost of personal vehicle ownership - does NOT mean we should all rush to emulate them.. It would be interesting to see what the average commute distance is for a cyclist compared to a motor vehicle.. If you work a few blocks from your job and don't transport bulky tools or packages cycling might be an option. If you live 10 or more miles away and frequently do side trips or errands cycling may not be the best alternative, and "fortunately", unlike some countries, we "still" have some individual choice and alternatives !
jstack6
May 10, 2014 4:14 PM CDT
Bicycle riders are more fit, live longer and save the planet. Other countries have a much higher bicycle commuter rate but most Americans are over weight and lazy. Which are you ? Below are the top 10 cities in the USA. Now, the top cities! Davis, CA — 22.1% Boulder, CO — 9.9% Eugene, OR — 8.3% Berkeley, CA — 8.0% Cambridge, MA — 6.8% Santa Barbara, CA — 6.4% Madison, WI — 6.0% Gainesville, FL — 6.0% Portland, OR — 6.0% Iowa City, IA — 5.6% Read more at http://cleantechnica.com/2012/07/05/top-10-bicycling-cities-highest-bike-commute-rate/#KZw8iRi5GEOsTqiZ.99
BCS
May 10, 2014 4:00 PM CDT
I really enjoy getting where I'm going quickly, and not needing a shower when I get there. I also enjoy not worrying about texters, drunks, diabetics, and distracted idiots swerving into my unprotected body. There's a cap on those who will use bicycles for transportation.