Bike Commuting Is Even Bigger in Smaller U.S. Cities

Illustration for article titled Bike Commuting Is Even Bigger in Smaller U.S. Cities

If you've been to NYC, Washington, D.C., or San Francisco lately, you've likely noticed a proliferation of people commuting via bicycle. Indeed, bike commuting has more than tripled in America's biggest cities since 1990. But the places where people are pedaling to work in largest proportion aren't the big cities: it's the smaller burgs where the largest percentage of commuters are cyclists.


The Atlantic Cities dug into the data to find the U.S. cities where cycling is most popular among commuters. The far-and-away winner is Davis, CA, population 66,000, where nearly 20 percent of commuters get to work by pedal power. Boulder, CO comes in second with just over 12 percent of its commuters cycling, and Palo Alto, CA comes in third at 9.5 percent per cyclist.


Compare that to Portland, OR, the most bike-oriented among big U.S. cities—it charts a mere 6 percent of commuters riding bicycles to work.

This may be a little surprising given the attention paid to city bike shares and cyclist-friendly infrastructure changes—it seems like the bicycle battlegrounds are all big cities. But the shorter distances and easier traffic of smaller cities seems to counteract that.

Ride on, small cities of America. You're doing the heavy pedaling to make bike commuting a safer, more popular choice for people everywhere. [The Atlantic Cities]


Image: Shutterstock / Rolf_52

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Well it's only natural. Smaller cities are .. well .. smaller so if you really commute it may be say 30 minutes by bike half way across town (or hell all the way across town). Try biking half way across town in LA. You'll need to be in amazing shape to do it. Also smaller cities have less traffic. One of the main reasons I don't commute by bike in LA is because I'm not suicidal.

I would gladly ride a bike if it was up to 20-25 minutes each way, on a not very hilly road, with way fewer cars threatening to side swipe me into another set of parked cars. Would LOVE to do that. Not remotely possible in my current situation.

Small cities have their perks too.