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
Bicycle Commuting Stats Surge, Still Pretty Pathetic

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. (Read more bicycle stories.)

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