- New York City, where cycling is up 66% over the last two years
- Ft Collins, CO and their 37% jump in bike commuters.
- Philadelphia’s 83% increase from 2005 to 2008.
San Jose, California blows all of these out of the water with an astounding 206% increase in bike commuters from 2005 to 2008. From 2000 to 2008, the number of bike commuters doubled. From 2007 to 2008, the upward trend in San Jose continued with 80% more bike commuters.
The total bike share is still a paltry 1.23% in San Jose and 77.8% still drive to work alone, but that’s still over 11,000 cyclists riding to work in San Jose, and they are much more visible than in the past.
The statistics come from analysis by the League of American Bicyclists on U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey numbers that were released last summer. The American Community Survey and Census numbers undercount cyclists. Each person is asked for the principal transportation used for most days the previous week. I bike everyday, but I’m not counted because my principal transportation is public transportation. In San Jose, where 4.1% of commuters ride public transit, the bus bike racks and transit center bike parking are often fully utilized. 10% of Caltrain riders bring their bikes on board the train.
San Jose isn’t the only large city with dramatically larger increases resulting in noticeably more bikes on the street. The bike modal share in Kansas City, Missouri rocketed an astonishing 680% from 2005 to 2008. Still, the absolute numbers are pretty pitiful — fewer than 80 people in a population of nearly half a million people commute by bike. I see that many cyclists roll up to the Caltrain station in San Jose in a 5 minute period during the morning commute.
In spite of the national trend of more bike commuters, some cities slid back. Dallas, TX, and Newark, NJ each lost over 70% of their bike commuters in three years. Colorado Springs bike share dropped by 46% from 2005 to 2008. Some places like Virigina Beach lost and gained for a net zero change.
What do you think, South Bay cyclists? Almost all of the cyclists I talk to on my commute are brand new to it. They ride all kinds of bikes and wear all kinds of clothing.
What’s your impression? Do you see this increase in your area?