Sightline Institute researcher Eric de Place crunched recent bike commute data to discover who rides bicycles in the United States.
I’ve long suspected that the “invisible cyclists” — lower income who ride bikes — are what wonks call “overrepresented” for their demographic. Le Place’s analysis shows that the poorest 25% of the American population make 31% of bike trips. Assuming he’s using personal (vs household) income, that’s anybody who makes less than about $15K annually.
Most of that “overrepresentation” chunk comes out of the second poorest 25% (roughly $15K to $28K), likely because of the perception that bicycles are for the poor and the upwardly mobile must own a car.
Personally interesting: 23% of bike trips are made by the richest 25% of Americans (anybody who makes more than $50K per year personal income).
According to Le Place’s analysis, whites are over represented. While Non-Hispanic Whites make up 65% of the U.S. population, 79% of cyclists are white. Hispanics make up 16% of the population but only 8% of cyclists. African Americans, who are 13% of the population, are 10% of cyclists, while Asian American make up 4.6% of Americans but only 3% of cyclists. Le Place didn’t look at Native American, Pacific Islander or Non-Hispanic mixed race numbers.
Income pie chart from Sightline. Crosswalk cyclist photo by Richard Masoner.