After rising for several years, the percentage of commuters using bikes to go to work declined for the third straight year according to the US Census Bureau. Nationally, the percentage of people who say they use a bike to get to work fell by 3.2% from 2016 to 2017 to an average of 836,569 commuters according to the Bureau’s latest American Community Survey which asks a group of Americans about their habits. This number is down from a high of 904,463 in 2014 when it peaked after four years of increases. In some cities, the decline was more drastic. In Tampa Florida and Cleveland, cycling to work dropped by 50% and in some cities cycling to work was up dramatically.
According to an article in USA Today – The Journal News on January 3, 2019 by Chris Woodyard entitled “Fewer American use bike lanes to commute to work”. Decline in using bike lanes experts offered several explanations for the nationwide decrease even as cities spend millions trying to become friendlier. Lower gas prices and a strong economy contributed to strong auto sales and less interest in cheaper alternatives, such as mass transit and bikes. Also the rise of ride hailing services such as Uber & Lyft and electric scooters cut into bike commuting per Dave Snyder, Executive Director of the California Bicycle Coalition. Another bike advocacy group, League of American Bicyclists, found a mix in bike trends in the 70 largest cities. Bike commuting was up sharply from 2016 to 2017. In one of the large cities, Portland Oregon, 6.3% of commuter’s bike to work. It was also up in the second and third most popular biking cities, Washington and Minneapolis. It was down a whopping 19.9% in fourth place, San Francisco was down 11/4% in fifth place, New Orleans down 20.5% in sixth place and Seattle over the same time last year.
Federal highway spending on bike and pedestrian related improvements total $915.8 million in 2018. According to Ken McLeod, a Bike League’s Policy Director “It shows that while we have made investments over the last 20 years in bicycle infrastructure, we are still far from having safe and connected networks that make people feel safe biking to work”. City officials around the County said they try to support bike commuting by spending money on new bike lanes and trails and many cities including White Plains, New Rochelle & Yonkers added bike sharing programs which gave cyclists the ability to rent a bike to ride point to point or for the day.
In Austin Texas there was a 24.1% drop in bike commuting from 2016 to 2017. The City officials said they have a strategy to increase ridership by concentrating on their biking infrastructure efforts on trips up to three miles. Long Beach California saw a 23.1% increase in bike commuting from 2016 to 2017. Over the past decade, Long Beach added bikes lanes throughout the city and dedicated routes separate from traffic throughout the city and their bike sharing program grew to 11,000 members.
For bike commuters, safety is a top consideration. In a push to make Los Angeles more bike friendly, they installed rules of protected bike laws and slowing streets to make them safer for bikers and pedestrians. In a city where car is king, a backlash from motorists drastically cut back as a result of Bicycling Magazine named Los Angeles the worst biking city in America.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a pedestrian or bicycle accident, contact Dominick J. Robustelli & Associates, PLLC at (914) 288-0800 or visit our web page at White Plains-Injury Lawyer.com or at RobustelliPersonal InjuryNY.com.