WASHINGTON, D.C.—The League of American Bicyclists estimates that about one million people in cities across the country will commute to work on two wheels today, May 20, designated as National Bike to Work Day.
“The number is an estimate, and very conservative, based off of the American Community Survey (ACS),” said Meghan Cahill, the League’s director of communications. “Their numbers said that in 2009, .55 percent of the U.S. population road their bike every day to work. The population in 2009 was 307,006,550, so 1,688,536 people road their bike to work every day. We would really like to think at least all of these people participate.”
According to the League, national bike commuter data provided by the ACS shows that more Americans are biking to work. It points to a nationwide increase of 44 percent over the past decade. Some communities, like Portland, Oregon, and Boulder, Colorado, have seen even bigger increases.
“We've been celebrating Bike to Work Day for more than 50 years," said Andy Clarke, president of the League of American Bicyclists, "and there's never been a better time for people to try this commuting option. More and more cities are putting in bike lanes, trails and parking for bikes, and as gas prices go up and congestion gets worse, biking looks like an increasingly attractive choice."
Many cities are hosting Bike to Work Day events. Washington, D.C. is holding a Bike to Work Day celebration across the DC Metro area, complete with 49 pit stops and a festival at D.C.’s Freedom Plaza. About 10,000 are expected to participate. The U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu and Federal Transit Administration Peter Rogoff are both speaking and riding their bikes to the event.
In New York City, local advocacy group Transportation Alternatives is hosting eight rest stop locations including one on the Brooklyn Bridge and the Staten Island Ferry Terminal.
Hundreds are expected to take part in bike to work day in Boise, Idaho, and its after-work events including a recumbent rally and a bike-in movie.
The city of Auburn, Alabama, is hosting a bike to school competition for children in grades 1 through 5.
In Portland, Oregon, community leaders and businesses will meet up downtown at the Bicycle Transportation Alliance’s “Bikes Mean Business” event to talk about the economic benefits of cycling for employers, workers and customers. Bicycle-related industry in the Portland Metro region accounts for nearly $90 million and is growing. Among the speakers will be Chris DiStefano of Chris King Precision Components.