5 U.S. Cities Where Bike Commuting Is Booming - CityLab

A new report from the League of American Bicyclists traces how long-term planning and infrastructure investments allowed some cities to grow their share of bicycle commuters.

In 2019, just 0.5% of U.S. commuters rode a bike to work, the smallest share of any mode. But tiny shifts can make a big difference. Data-driven bike plans, safety improvements and supportive political leadership helped boost bike commute rates in several cities in recent years, according to a new report from the League of American Bicyclists.


In “Benchmarking Bike Networks,” the country’s largest bicycling advocacy organization takes stock of the best infrastructure and policy practices for getting more people pedaling. It spotlights Boston; Chicago; Austin, Texas; Oakland, California; and Missoula, Montana — cities of diverse size and geography where bike commute shares are more than twice the national average and have increased over the last decade. Ken McLeod, the League’s policy director, hopes they can serve as models for other communities.


“Benchmarking shows what really good communities are doing and what others can do so that we’re all pushing towards the same goal of safe bike networks that are accessible to everyone,” he said.

Five U.S. Cities That Boosted Biking to Work

Consistent across the five cities was how long local officials have been planning for better cycling facilities, updating their proposals regularly. In Oakland, a suite of improvements focused on a “ladder” of two parallel streets and seven connecting streets on either side of the MacArthur BART station, especially after a 2007 bike plan showed how many more residents lived a short bike ride away from the station versus a short walk. With a targeted approach, the number of bike lanes and dedicated bike lanes have soared across Oakland, often replacing shared lane markings — also known as sharrows — following best safety practices for high-traffic streets, McLeod said.


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