7 Cities With the Most Bike Commuters

Where in urban America peddling to work on two wheels is most popular
Staff Writer

Cycling accounts for the fastest growing, if a still tiny share, of daily commutes to work for urban Americans. Thanks in big part to the expanding number and scale of big-city bike-share programs and cities making their streets more bike-friendly, cycling to work is up 60% since 2000 — even if it still only accounts for 0.6% of all commutes. 

And, as a new study shows, bike commuters are less stressed than those who drive to work.

You are most likely to cycle to work if you live in a big city in the West, preferably a college one. Men are more than twice as likely to cycle to work as women. The average bike commute is 19 minutes, compared to 26 minutes on any other form of transport, public or private, excluding walking.

These are the seven big cities where evermore commuters are peddling to work on two wheels.

#1. Portland, Oregon

6.1% of all commuter trips

28,458 regular cycling commuters

But 2nd in raw numbers to New York (25,458).

#2. Madison, Wisconsin

5.1% of all commuter trips

6,793 regular cycling commuters

Has second largest bike-share program in a city with a population of less than 250,000.

#3. Minneapolis

4.1% of all commuter trips

8,334 regular cycling commuters

Has fourth largest bike-share program.

#4. Boise, Idaho

3.7% of all commuter trips

3,860 regualr cycling commuters

Aims to be the “Bicycle Capital of America” in five years.

#5. San Francisco, California

3.4% of all commuter trips

14,883 regualr cycling commuters

But 2nd in California in raw numbers to Los Angeles (17,244).

#6. Seattle, Washington

3.4% of all commuter trips

11,790 regular cycling commuters

Only starting its much-delayed bike-share program this fall.

#7. Washington, D.C.

3.1% of all commuter trips

9,347 regular cycling commuters

Has second largest bike-share program after New York.

The data is drawn from the latest available 5-year series of the U.S. Census’ American Community Survey, which covers 2008-12, and is for the 111 cities in the U.S. with a population of at least 200,000. There are higher cycle commuting rates in small cities. Davis, Calif, for example, has a bicycle commuting rate of 18.6%, though nearby Sacramento’s rate is 2.5%.. For more detail see our Interactive Graphic.

Interactive graphic: cycle commuting


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