Reducing the number of cars on the road and encouraging commuting via bicycle or other environmentally friendly methods of transportation is important. Not only does cycling reduce the number of cars on the road—which in turn helps to conserve fossil fuels and reduce greenhouse gases—but it also encourages sound physical health for those cycling. Happily, Philadelphia and the state of Pennsylvania as a whole have seen a tremendous rise in the percentage of those who commute by bicycle.
The Cities With the Most Bicyclists
Commuting by bicycle is not only becoming more popular in Pennsylvania and Philadelphia; nationally, a surge has occurred. From 2004 to 2014, there was a 62 percent increase in the number of bicycle commuters, according to the League of American Bicyclists. In 2014, the U.S. Census Bureau reported a nationwide total of 904,463 bike commuters.
Philadelphia has an estimated total of 12,281 bike commuters, placing eighth on the list of “Cities with the Most Bicyclists in 2014”. New York City takes the lead, with 42,806 people riding their bikes to work on a regular basis. While New York City may have the highest number of bicyclists, Philadelphia has the highest percentage (1.9) of bike commuters in cities with a population over one million.
Rise in Number of Cyclists in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania as a state—not just Philadelphia—has seen an increase in the number of cyclists. In fact, from 2005 to 2014, the percentage of people who commute by bike increased by 70 to 100 percent, according to the League of American Bicyclists. In some states, including Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island, the increase in the number of cyclists between those years was greater than 100 percent.
Why the increase?
There are a lot of reasons why more people may be biking to work rather than driving. For example, concerns about health and fitness may motivate people to move more. Or, worries about the environmental implications of driving may also encourage people to commute sans car. One important factor that has likely played a role is the increase in the number of bike-friendly policies and protected bike lanes in many cities throughout the nation. For example, in Washington D.C., the increase in bike commuting is one of the nation’s most impressive, and came after the city implemented a bike share system and built protected bike lanes.
If you choose to bike to work or other places in Pennsylvania, make sure you are doing so as safely as possible. Always wear a helmet, follow traffic laws, and wear bright colors so that drivers of vehicles can see you well. For more tips, read our blog about bicycle safety.