Seattle rose to the number two spot among major US cities in terms of the number of people commuting to work by bike in 2010. The percentage of people using a bicycle as their primary mode of getting to work in Seattle increased 22 percent between 2009 and 2010, according to the annual American Communities Survey conducted by the US Census.
This data confirms the city’s 2010 downtown bike commute count, which measured an increase of 21.4 percent in the same time period.
Between 2005 and 2010, the percentage of people commuting by bike in Seattle increased 57 percent. Between 2000 and 2010, it increased 93 percent.
Of the 70 largest US cities, only Portland was higher on the list. One silly but fun way to cherry pick the data is to say things like, “Of the 25 largest US cities, Seattle has the largest share of people commuting by bicycle.” (Portland is the 29th largest city)
Speaking of Portland, that city and Seattle had an almost identical bike commute mode shares in 2000 (both has just under 2 percent). Now Portland sits at 6 percent.
Though bicycling to work was up among most major cities, the national average actually went down slightly from 0.55 percent to 0.53 percent. Other oddities in the numbers include Minneapolis, which supposedly saw it’s bike commuting population decrease from 3.9 percent to 3.5 (hard to believe, given the creation of a successful bike share system there). Minneapolis’s drop has left the city searching for answers, which range from blaming their blip in bad weather to chalking it up to statistical margin of error.
Washington DC, which also created a successful bike share system last year, saw a 44 percent increase in bike commuting and rose to the number 5 spot on the list. In fact, there is a pretty strong correlation between bike commuting and density … if you remove Seattle and New York from the list. Biking Bis has more on the ACS data.
So, good work everyone! But don’t get too comfortable. Given the fluctuation of the statistics and the hard work going on down in San Francisco and Minneapolis, we are going to have to work hard to stay in the number two spot.
But just imagine what would happen to those numbers if we complete the Burke-Gilman missing link, the Ship Canal Trail and install protected bikeways downtown all by next summer. Add to that all the good work we are doing in our neighborhoods — like working for neighborhood greenways and Safe Routes to School — and you’ve got a recipe for some truly fast growth in people riding bikes.