From riverside trails that stretch for dozens of miles to midtown streets, rolling hills in the shadow of the Sierras to the streets of Davis, the greater Sacramento is one of the most dynamic bicycling metropolitan areas in the U.S.
To pay tribute to our two-wheeled enthusiasts, we’re bringing you a two-part series that outlines all you need to know about the cycling lifestyle. In this blog, we’ll cover 30 facts and statistics about the cycling movement in the U.S. – and particularly about those who commute to work by bicycle. In part two, we’ll highlight Sacramento’s cycling culture, including the best places to take a spin and rules of the road so drivers and cyclists can coexist safely.
30 facts and statistics about the cycling movement in the U.S.:
1. In 2016, about 12.4% of Americans hopped on their bicycles and took a spin on a regular basis, adding up to about 59.67 million cyclists in the U.S.
2. Every year, Americans spend $8.1 billion on bicycles, gear, cycling clothing, events, and other related expenses. That includes approximately 17.4 million bicycles sold every year.
3. Overall, the cycling industry creates about 770,000 jobs and contributes $10 billion in taxes to the US economy.
4. Between 1990 and 2009, the number of bike trips we took more than doubled, from 1.8 billion to 4 billion every year!
5. Those trips are often commutes to work, pedals around the neighborhood, and other short rides, as 50% of all trips Americans make are 3 miles or less, and 28% are shorter than 1 mile.
6. The number of people who ride their bike to work has surged, with a 60% increase from 488,000 cyclists in 2000 to 786,000 by 2012.
7. While that still only accounts for 0.6% of all commuters, it marks a steady increase – particularly in major cities.
8. Growth has been astronomical in big cities like Washington DC (498%), Portland (408%), Chicago, (389%), San Francisco (301%), New Orleans (292%), Philadelphia (296%), and many others.
9. Portland, Ore., holds the crown as the major city with the highest rate of bicycle commuters, at 6.1%.
10. Over the last few decades, we've seen a siginifcant growth of bicycle friendly communities across the US. In fact, communities that welcome and accommodate for large-scale cycling have grown 62% nationally in that time.
11. The Western United States has the highest rates of biking to work, with 1.1% of the working population using a bicycle to get to their job. The Southern U.S. has the lowest rate, at only 0.3%.
12. One of the hot new trends in these major cities is the growing presence of e-bikes. In fact, projected worldwide sales of e-bikes are expected to climb to 40.3 million by the year 2023.
13. Almost all of the growth in bicycling in the U.S. over the last twenty years has come from men aged 25-64, not youth or women.
14. In fact, youth cyclists have declined steadily (gone are the halcyon days of our childhood when the whole neighborhood would be out on bikes until it got dark). But among young adults 18 to 24 years old, the number of cyclists rose by 5.7 million between 2008 and 2013.
15. Men are far more likely to be cyclists in the U.S., with 76% of all bike trips made by men compared to only 24% by women.
16. In the US, men are also more likely to commute to work on a bicycle at a rate almost 3-to-1 over women, as 0.8% of men bike to work compared to only 0.3% of women.
17. But in many European nations, women bike riders equal – or even surpass – men. For instance, in Germany, 49% of all bike trips are made by women, and in the Netherlands, 55% of all cyclists are women!
18. The average cyclists that commutes to work is a 39-year old professional white-collar male with an annual household income of more than $45,000, riding 10.6 months out of the year.
19. Interestingly, when it comes to cycling to work, those with a graduate, Ph.D., or professional degree lead all demographics with 0.9% rate of commuting via cycle, but the second-highest group is those with a high school diploma or less, at 0.7%.
20. Of course, these high rates are born out of necessity, as we can see when we look at the fact that 1.5% of people who make $10,000 or less commute to work on a bicycle, the highest rate of any income category.
21. Employees with flexible job schedules are more likely to commute to work on bikes than those who have set hours.
22. The median commute time for to get to work on a bicycle is 19.3 minutes.
23. What kind of bike do commuters ride?
30% mountain bike,
28% road bike,
18% hybrid, and
17% touring bike
24. The average cost of that bicycle used to commute to work is $687.
25. Additionally, 35% of all bicycle commuters have a second bike that they use in bad weather.
26. In order to frame the conversation about cycling to work, we should point out that, on average, Americans get in their car to make 4 trips a day, totaling 40 miles and 55 minutes. Only 15% of those trips are for work purposes.
27. What would make more Americans start cycling to work? Reportedly, when gas prices rise above $4, more people start seeking alternative transportation to work, including cycling (as well as carpooling and public transportation).
28. 47% of Americans – almost half – say that they want more bike paths, bike lanes, and trails for cycling in their cities and communities.
29. Increasing the number of bicycle commuters and riders is often as simple as adding bike lanes. During the summer of 2014, only 53 U.S. cities in 24 states had dedicated bike lanes. But by the start of 2015, that number had nearly quadrupled to 200 cities.
30. What might a bicycle-friendly society look like? We can take a cue from San Francisco during the annual Bike To Work Day when at least 75% of all traffic on major thoroughfares like Market Street were bicycles!