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Report Finds Emerging Cycling Population That Looks Like America

2:30 PM CDT on May 29, 2013

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A promising new report says cycling is booming across the United States, with the biggest gains coming from young people, women, and people of color getting on bikes.

A project of the League of American Bicyclists and the Sierra Club, “The New Majority: Pedaling Towards Equity” [PDF] finds that the number of bike trips in the U.S. doubled from 1.7 billion in 2001 to more than four billion in 2009. The study is based on data from U.S. DOT, the Census Bureau, academic studies and other sources.

From the Bike League Blog:

According to the report, the fastest growth in bicycling over the last decade is among the Hispanic, African American and Asian American populations, which grew from 16% of all bike trips in 2001 to 23% in 2009.

According to a national poll, more than 85% of people of color (African American, Hispanic, Asian, Native American and mixed race) have a positive view of bicyclists and 71% say their community would be a better place to live if bicycling were safer and more comfortable.

That support is true among the next generation, as well: 89% of young adults -- aged 18-29 -- have a positive view of bicyclists at and 75% agree that their community would be a better place to live if biking and walking were safer and more comfortable.

The report profiles efforts to bring safer streets to areas where more people are riding, or where there is potential for growth, but bike infrastructure is inadequate. In Los Angeles, for example, neighborhoods with the highest percentages of people of color had less cycling infrastructure, and areas with the lowest median household income suffered the highest number of cyclist and pedestrian crashes, according to the report.

"The U.S. Department of Transportation, local and state transportation planners, and advocates at all levels have a responsibility to ensure that our transportation is safe, accessible, and equitable for everyone," writes League fellow Hamzat Sani. "This report shows that the future of transportation is changing, and in many ways is already here."

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