Earlier this week, the League of American Bicyclists released bike commuting figures from the American Community Survey (ACS). While the ACS numbers aren’t a perfect measure of bike commuting, let alone all bicycling, the ACS is the only survey that tracks bike commuting at the city level nationally and annually.
Since 2000, the ACS has shown growth in bike commuting. Bike
commuting has grown the most in those Bicycle Friendly Community (BFC)
cities that are actively investing in bicycling. It has also grown more
in large cities than the U.S. as a whole.
For the fifth consecutive year, the bike commuting share (or the
percentage of people who commute by bike frequently) grew in the 38
largest BFCs. But for the first time since 2005, the U.S. average share
dropped slightly (though not significantly),
surprising everyone who has sensed the upward momentum of bike
commuting. One reason for the ACS not picking up on this trend may be
that it excludes anyone who rides a bike for two or fewer weekdays, or
combines a bike ride with a longer leg in a car or transit, from being
counted as a bike commuter. With the average American commute at 15
miles one-way and only 29% of commutes at 5 miles or less one-way, the
ACS is counting mostly super hardcore bike commuters who can ride a long
commute most days of the week, or those with short commutes.
The city with the highest bike commuting share in 2010 was Davis, CA at 22.1%.
Boulder, CO came in second at 9.9%. Fourteen cities total had a share
of 5.0% or higher. To see how your city ranked (keep in mind that there
is a high margin of error for smaller cities), check out this online spreadsheet created by the League of American Bicyclists. You can also read more about the ACS findings over at the Bike Pittsburgh and League of American Bicyclist blogs.