What Can We Learn About Bicycle Trends?

What Can We Learn About Bicycle Trends?

For the past few years, bikes have been coming back to style. Cycling has been a growing and dying trend for the past 100 years. The increase of biking was usually associated with bad economy and a result of growing gas prices. This time it seems like other factors are also coming into play. Bikes aren’t only used by poor students but also by wealthy businessmen. Bicycles are hot because they don’t pollute, because they don’t get stuck in traffic, because they are easy to park and yes, because it’s a lot cheaper to own a bicycle than a car. But apart from that, they keep us healthy, they are fun and they are trendy!

I’ve been looking through pages and pages of statistics and studies and I came up with this infographic (I’ll explain these stats in detail a little further):


There is no need to comment on the age groups; it’s obvious that older people are getting on the bikes and children are getting off the bikes.

The second graphic shows us the number of bicycle trips in the USA. If in 1977 only 0.6% of trips were made by bicycle, in 2009 this number grew to 1% and it’s safe to assume that in 2013 we’re going to be way passed that!

I really like the third graphic because I am always curious where the bikes are parked. The study from New York City reveals that people leave their bikes at different locations; city racks, sign posts, parking meters, street lamps… To clear things up a little; if you add the percentages from this graph you will get 255% . It is because this NYC study allowed people to give more than one answer and as you see most people chose more than one single location as their favorite parking spot.

The last graph shows us how many kilometers of bike paths are existent in North America’s bike friendliest cities. Unfortunately this data is from 2008 and most cities added many more bike lanes; Montreal alone has presumably spent over $10 Million in 2011-2012 to make biking easier (adding more bike paths, more bike parking) and there is no doubt the other cities are going in the same direction. New York is planning  to have almost 3,000 km of bike paths by 2030, Chicago is planning to pass 1,000 km of bike paths by 2020 with its Chicago Streets for Cycling Plan 2020.

– In the U.S., 24% of all bicycle trips are made by women and 76% are made by men.
U.S. Department of Transportation, 2010

Commuter bike traffic increased 125% between 2007 and 2010 in Knoxville, Tennesee.
Hunt, N., 2010

A survey of Portland, Oregon businesses found that cycling is the fastest-growing mode of transport for downtown employees’ work commutes.
Maus, J., 2010

More than 200,000 people bike every day in New York City. Cycling has increased 26% between 2008 and 2009
Hughes, T., 2010

In Salt Lake City, bicycling increased 27 percent from 2010 to 2011, thanks in part to a 50-mile bikeway expansion.
Office of the Mayor, Salt Lake City, 2011

From 2006-2011, bicycling in San Francisco increased 71 percent. From 2010-2011, it increased 7 percent, making up 3.5 % of all trips in the city.
San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, 2012

40,000 users of North Americas’s biggest bike share program (BIXI, Montreal) made 4 174 917 trips in 2011, that’s 25% more than in 2010 (3 344 747 trips).

It’s rather obvious that cycling isn’t simply a trend but a life style for many. Health, wealth and environment are very important but these statistics show the growth of biking interest and use around cities such as Chicago, Toronto, Montreal, Portland, New York City and many others is directly related to the amount of money these cities are investing in developing a bike friendly metropolis. Personally I have noticed an incredibly growing number if cyclists in Montreal in the past few years, have you noticed the same thing in your area?


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