Paul Kline/Flickr

The city’s rate of cycle commuting is the highest it’s ever been.

Judging from its glut of bike blogs alone—among them Bike Portland, Urban Adventure League, Portlandize, Bicycle Kitty, Portland Pedal Power, The Simplicity of Vintage Cycles, The Sprocket Podcast, and, er, Bike Smut (NSFW-ish)—one might suspect Oregon’s weirdest city has a thing for cycling.

New numbers from the U.S. Census back up that notion. In 2014, Portland led the nation for the rate of people biking to work in major cities,* according to American Community Survey data released yesterday. Slightly more than 7 percent of the city’s commuters chose to pedal—that’s about 23,350 people, a leap of 27 percent over 2013’s estimate of roughly 18,300 commuters.

The survey indicates that last year about 904,500 people cycled to their jobs throughout the U.S. (Nearly 111 million drove a car alone.) Locals probably won’t be surprised they’re kicking butt at pedaling, as last year the Census announced Portland had the highest bike-commute rate among large cities from 2008 to 2012.

Portland’s transpo department crows of the latest honorific in a press release:

“Two of the greatest threats we face are climate disruption and rising health care costs,” said Commissioner Steve Novick, who oversees the Portland Bureau of Transportation. “Bicycles are potent weapons against both threats, because when you're riding a bike, you're getting healthier and you're not emitting greenhouse gases. Many people understand that, but assume that only a tiny fraction of people will ever ride a bike. But that's not true. The numbers can grow—and now we know that they are growing.”

“Portlanders should be proud that we continue to use bikes at the highest rate of any major city in the nation,” said Portland Transportation Director Leah Treat. “Today’s record rate of bike commuting is a result of decades of investment in projects that make it safer for people to use bikes and programs that encourage people to try biking. When we make it safer for people to bike, we all benefit with cleaner air, lower carbon emissions and a healthier community.”

In 2013, Portland had a bike commute rate of 5.9 percent and in 2004 the rate was 2.8 percent.

*Correction: While Portland has the highest bike-to-work rates for major U.S. cities, several smaller cities have higher rates, such as Davis, California, and Boulder, Colorado.

the largest major city

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. A photo of a police officer in El Paso, Texas.
    Equity

    What New Research Says About Race and Police Shootings

    Two new studies have revived the long-running debate over how police respond to white criminal suspects versus African Americans.

  2. Transportation

    Why New York City Stopped Building Subways

    Nearly 80 years ago, a construction standstill derailed the subway’s progress, leading to its present crisis. This is the story, decade by decade.

  3. Environment

    A 13,235-Mile Road Trip for 70-Degree Weather Every Day

    This year-long journey across the U.S. keeps you at consistent high temperatures.

  4. A woman stands in front of a house.
    Life

    How Housing Wealth Transferred From Families to Corporations

    The Great Housing Reset has led to growing numbers of single-family homes shifting from owner-occupied housing to investment vehicles for large corporations.

  5. a photo of bikes on a bridge in Amsterdam
    Transportation

    Street by Street, Amsterdam Is Cutting Cars Out of the Picture

    Armed with a street-design tool called the knip, the Dutch capital is slashing car access in the city center, and expanding public transit hours.

×