Seeing more bicyclists on your daily commute to work? You’re not alone. According to a report conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, the practice of biking to work is up 60% across the country.
The report, released on Friday, shows that while bikers still amount for fewer than 1 percent of commuters, two-wheelers in many big cities have nearly doubled or even tripled since 2000.
In particular, noted active cities have seen the biggest increase. Portland has the highest rate with 6.1 percent biking while Minneapolis isn’t far behind with 4.1 percent on the pedals. Both cities jumped from a 2 percent rate 14 years ago.
So why the increase? Some think a grassroots movement to install more bike lanes is behind the boost, with easier, gas-free rides attracting commuters.
Rebecca Serna, of the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition, says that popular support is “especially significant. People start riding a little bit, then a lot and they become natural proselytizers" — or converts influencing others to make the shift.
Others emphasize the rise of bike trains — a sort of car-pooling for bike riders that some see as a social activity and safer than riding alone.
“You’re a big enough group that you know, cars don’t have the same behaviors if you were just one person. And you’re also with an experienced cyclist.” (Via Voice of America)
With walking also remaining popular, the alternative transportation trend has even impacted the real estate business. According to the report, so-called “walkability” has become “a selling point in real estate advertising, and several communities have invested in pedestrian-oriented commercial spaces.”
Looking at the data, it seems the people least likely to drive to work are the community’s poorest — and the wealthiest. The Washington Post calls it “a transportation paradox: Alternatives to driving in the United States are both a luxury for the well-off and a last resort for the poor.”
The report’s timing couldn’t be better as next week is National Bike to Work Week. Better find my helmet!