Bicycle Commuting Trends

The League of American Bicyclists report, American Community Survey – Bicycle Commuting Trends, 2000 to 2008, is an excellent source for bicycle commuting statistics. LAB used data from the Census Bureau’s ongoing American Community Survey to create their report.

Here are a few highlights:

  • 0.55 percent of Americans use a bicycle as their primary means of getting to work. This is up 14 percent from 2007, 36 percent from 2005, and 43 percent from 2000.
  • The 70 largest cities in the U.S. had higher bicycle commuter levels and larger increases than the national average.
  • The average bicycle commuter share for the largest 70 U.S. cities grew by nearly 50 percent since 2000 (to 0.93 percent).
  • On average, larger increases in state spending on bicycle and pedestrian projects are correlated with larger increases in bicycle commuting levels.

Overall, even though our numbers are still low, the picture for the future is looking pretty good if this trend continues.

Bicycle Commuting Trends, 2000 to 2008 [PDF] →

12 Responses to “Bicycle Commuting Trends”

  • Fritz says:

    Oh c’mon Alan, you don’t even mention that Sacramento now has a higher bike share than San Francisco does. It’s your city, brag about it! In my discussion about the ACS that’s precisely what I do with San Jose’s fantastic 206% increase from 2005 to 2008.

  • Alan says:


    But I’m a citizen of the world, Fritz… ;-)

    You’re right; it’s worth noting that my hometown of Sacramento is placed well up the list, coming in just ahead of bike-friendly San Francisco. I have to imagine that our beautiful American River Parkway is one of the reasons, along with the large number of State employees who commute in from the Platinum-Level Bike Friendly Community of Davis, just to our west.

    It’s great to see such encouraging numbers coming in from all over the country.


  • Fritz says:

    Indeed, I like the improving numbers.

    Is Davis included in the Sac count? Note that the ACS counts only residents, not those who commute in. It also doesn’t count Sacramento residents like Paul Dorn, who use public transportation for part of their trip. Anybody who rides Amtrak, light rail or a bus for the majority of their miles is counted as a transit user, not a cyclist.

  • Lovely Bicycle! says:

    I think in a country like the US – with enormous rural areas where a 40-mile one way work commute is not abnormal – the national average is less informative than the urban/suburban average. Either way though, the numbers are obviously increasing. In the Boston area, the increase of cyclists over the past 2-3 years is clearly visible. It is encouraging to see so many people riding their bicycles on the streets now, especially in the winter.

  • News Cycle: More on Mark Weir’s home, SF Bike Plan, Bike commuting trends & more « Bike Intelligencer says:

    […] has a report on the League of American Bicyclists’ study of “Bicycle Commuting Trends, 2000 to […]

  • Darren says:

    A new source of trip data has just been released. While the ACS is useful because the sample size is large enough to tell us about individual cities, it is limited because it only tells about regular commuters. As Fritz points out, it excludes people who ride less than half the days of the week before they were interviewed and most people who ride to transit (unless the bike portion is farther than the transit portion). And the ACS doesn’t tell us anything about non-work trips.

    The new source is called the National Household Travel Survey. It is a national survey (sorry Lovely Bicycle!) and the sample is not large enough to tell us anything about individual communities. But, it asked respondents about all of their travel — not just commuting. So it gets closer to an accurate picture of bicycling’s true mode share. It also has good demographic info, including if the household is in an urban or rural area. In 2009, bicycling made up 1 percent of all trips.

    Here are some of the preliminary numbers:

    I’m digging deeper into the results now. Hope to post something more in depth on the blog soon.

  • Alan says:

    Thanks, Darren!


  • shelly Mossey says:

    Commuting for 30 years in NYC. Meet lots of NYC Bicycle Commuters at The Urban Mobility Project.
    Shelly Mossey-NYC/GRR

  • Phyllis Orrick says:

    You might be interested in a paper we just did on BOD, bicycle-oriented design, about buildings that have showers, secure parking, etc.

  • Phyllis Orrick says:

    And be sure to check out our new blog. We’re looking for videos, photos, resources, links on pedestrian and bicycle safety in California. It’s a project funded by the California Office of Traffic Safety.

  • Richard Masoner says:

    @Phyllis – link please to your paper? I’d like to read it.

  • Alan says:


    “@Phyllis – link please to your paper? I’d like to read it.”

    You beat me to it… :-)

© 2011 EcoVelo™