PeopleForBikes Releases Benchmark Report

Reveals key trends in bicycling participation

Mar 3, 2015
Outside Magazine

According to People for Bikes, 34 percent of Americans over the age of 3 rode a bike at least once in the past year.    Robert Thomson/Flickr

PeopleForBikes, an advocacy group dedicated to making bicycle riding easier, safer, and more accessible, on Monday released the results of a two-month study designed to determine participation levels among commuter and recreational cyclists across the country. Filling out a 10-minute online survey, 16,193 respondents answered various questions describing how many days in the past 12 months they “rode a bicycle of any type outside for any reason.” The research is meant to reflect the bike-riding habits of Americans ages three and up.

Amid the ongoing resentment between drivers and riders across the country, an issue Outside wrote about in February, the study seeks to make the case that most Americans would like their hometowns to be more bike friendly.

While the report states that 54 percent of Americans believe bicycling is convenient, and 53 percent would like to would like to ride more often, large portions of the population say that infrastructural problems where they live make it difficult or unsafe. Fifty-two percent of respondents said they worry about being hit by a motor vehicle when riding in their neighborhood, and only 31 percent overall said they are satisfied with the number of bike lanes and paths that are available where they live.

In addition to arguing that more Americans would ride a bike if the infrastructure in their towns were improved, PeopleForBikes has released research linking cycling accommodations like bike paths to economic growth. Citing stories from Memphis, San Francisco, and Portland, the organization asserts that public health, real estate values, and retail sales all go up when a neighborhood is easy to navigate on two wheels.

“Throughout the report, and many of the blog posts here, we’ve included statistics and infographics showing that these aren’t isolated anomalies,” reads a statement on the PeopleForBikes website. “The fact that high-quality bike lanes help the economy is part of the new economic reality for American cities.”

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