THE STATE OF
BIKE COMMUTING IN THE US

TRENDS IN PREVALENCE OF BIKE COMMUTING
IN THE LAST DECADE

Biking has run smack into a bit of renaissance during the Covid-19 outbreak as people try to avoid the perils of public transport. Nobody takes joy from a sweaty commute on the bus or tram, let alone when there’s a virus on the loose. This has led to more and more people ditch their cars and public transport, dust off their bikes and take up cycling as an alternate mean of transportation.  

The aim of this report is to encourage more and more people to get back on two wheels, enjoy the outdoors and use biking as an alternative option to commute.  

More and more Americans nowadays seem to value the exercise that they get from using the two-wheeled transport. From quicker and cheaper way of getting to and from work to more walkable neighborhoods and healthier people, biking is the source of many good things. 

In order to embrace this new pedal-powered future, we’ve analyzed where the largest share of these intrepid workers take advantage of bike commuting benefits.

Due to the ongoing pandemic, the statistics don’t go beyond 2019 or early 2020; hence, they do not represent the state of bike commuting during the lockdown.

Key Findings

  • From 2000 to 2019, the number of commuters who bike to work increased from 488,000 to 786,000 or an increase of 61%.
  • Oregon, Montana, Colorado, Wyoming and Washington ranked in the top 5 of all states with the largest percentage share of bike commuters.
  • Of 786,000 people who commute by bike, 71% are men and about 29% are women.
  • Alabama, New Mexico and Maine are the only states where the majority of bike commuters are women.
  • Portland, Washington and Minneapolis are the cities that appeal the most to bike commuters.

US States Ranked by Most Bike Commuters

The majority of people ride their bikes for recreation and getting workout, but for many others, their bikes are what gets them to their work. Whether they choose riding a bike over a driving a car to save money, avoid the hassles of traffic congestion or boost their health, it doesn’t matter—they are bound and determined to commute by bike. 

Here’s a map showing where these inveterate riders make up the largest percentage share of bike commuters. 

Some states appeal more to bike commuters than others. Since 2006, Oregon has knocked out Montana as the state with the highest percentage of bike commuters at 1.99%. 

Boasting excellent bike lanes and comprehensive bike safety laws, states like Oregon, Montana, Colorado, Wyoming and Washington have consistently ranked in the top 5 of all states for avid cyclists and exemplary infrastructure, advocacy, education and bike law enforcement. 

Mississippi, Tennesse, and West Virgina, on the other hand, have the lowest score for bike to work commute share with only 0.08%, 0.12% and 0.13% of all workers commuting by bike, respectively.

The Growth of Bike Commuting Over the Years in the US

The percentage of bike commuters in the US has remained small but relatively stable over the years.  Between 2000 and 2019, the number of workers who used a bike as their primary transportation mode has increased from 0.4% in 2000 to 0.6 in 2019.

While 0.6% of people commuting by bike is lower than bikers want it to be, it is nothing to sneeze at. USA is, by a long shot, one of the most populous country in the world. At 0.6%, that’s a lot more bike commuters on our roads compared to many other countries in the world.

But these percentages show only a small part of the story. If you dive deeper in the past, bike commuting in our country is still way up across the board. In many states—including Oregon, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Washington, and Georgia—the number of people going to work by bike only continues to grow. 

Bike commuting fell by 5.9% from 2010 to 2019. That’s down from a whopping 904,463 in 2014, when it peaked after almost two decades of straight increases. 

From 2000 to 2019, bike commuting has seen

61%

GROWTH NATIONWIDE

IN 2000, there were a total of

488,000

BIKE COMMUTERS

IN 2019, there were a total of

786,000

BIKE COMMUTERS

Gender Differences in Bike Commuting

No prizes for guessing that cycling is an outdoor activity dominated by men. The number of men who bike to work far exceeds that of women. 

Almost all bike commuters in West Virgina (men 96% vs female 4%) North Dakota (men 93% vs female 7%), and Rhode Island (men 90% vs female 10%), are male, making these states with the greatest gender gap among bike commuters. 

But nowadays, the gender gap between male and female bike commuters is narrowing. Data shows that women bike commuters increased by 11% from 2010 and 58,8% since 2006.   

While men make up 77% of bike commuting trips, 23% of bike to work trips are women.

There are even some states that attract more female bike commuters than male, quelle surprise!!! 

States which seem more attractive to female bike commuters include Alabama (53%), Maine (52%) and New Mexico (51%). 

Bike Commuting in Large Cities of the US

As cities around the US are wising up to the benefits of commuting by bike, miles of bike lanes are being added, making the streets safer and cracking down on dangerous car drivers threatening bike commuters. 

All of this bike infrastructure has a remarkable impact on the biking community—attracting more and more people into the fold and demonstrating that bike commuting and cycling in general is here to stay. 

Where do the US cities stack up by bike? Here we look at ten city rivalries to see who has the largest percentage share of bike commuters.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the perennial big-name contenders such as Portland, Washington and Minneapolis come out on top. While Philadelphia, once a top-spot rival, just managed to crack the top 10. 

That these cities are slowly making improvements in cycling safety such as encouraging helmet use, installing protected bike lanes and infrastructure only means that people commuting by bike will continue to expand more than they have in the past.  

Where do the numbers come from?

The U.S Census American Community Survey (ACS) takes transportation in the US seriously. They’ve been paying close attention to commuting patterns and transportation choices around the country the whole time.  The ACS survey is conducted every year by the U.S Census bureau which targets questions related to commuting mode and provides useful demographic snapshots through statistical sampling of the total population. 

 

The data covers employees older than 16 and younger than 64 years who use a bike as their primary mode of travel for their commute to work. The data doesn’t count commuters who: 

1. Use only a short bike ride to a transit stop 

2. Use a bike less than 5 times a week 

3. Use a bike for non-commuting purposes (e.g., recreation or workout). 

 

The percentage of employees using a bike as their primary travel mode is calculated by dividing the number of bike commuters by the total population of workers.

About The Bike Adviser

Bike Adviser is a bike-related web publication which is in a dogged pursuit to showcase the beauty of cycling and to get more people hop on two wheels. 

Our goal is to deliver the world’s best biking advice through meticulously curated posts and detailed buyer guides. We do this by working closely with our team of experienced riders and writers who just have a knack for providing all the information you need when buying cycling products. 

(Disclosure: All of our team members are avid bikers who own both serious road bikes and Allant+ commuter bikes, including a fully refurbished FX Sport Carbon 4) 

Here at Bike Adviser, we don’t leave anything to chance. Our team has been in the industry for so long and are knowledgeable enough to teach, inform and entertain. We always search high and low for the newest and cutting-edge equipment—bikes, wheels, frames, handlebars—whatever you need, right at your fingertips. 

Sources

US Census American Community Survey (ACS)

The League of American Bicyclists (BikeLeague)

American Public Transportation Association (APTA)

National Household Travel Survey (NHTS

People for Bikes (Website)

 

Media Contacts

Fatbardhë Maloku 
Digital PR Specialist
[email protected]

Luarda Gjata
Digital PR Specialist
[email protected]

Dardan Shehu
Research & Content Marketing Specialist
[email protected]

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