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Walking down, cycling up in commuter report

Published January 24, 2012

WASHINGTON, D.C. (BRAIN) Jan 24, 14:55 MT —Americans who bike to work are still a tiny minority — less than 1 percent of commuters — but the numbers are growing, according to the 2009 American Community Survey cited in the new Bicycling and Walking in the United State 2012 Benchmark Report.

The report was released this week by the Alliance for Biking & Walking. It's the alliance's third such benchmark report.

The report shows that between 2000 to 2009, the number of commuters who bicycle to work increased by 57 percent. Before you get too excited, realize that bike commutes rose from just 0.4 percent to 0.6 percent of all commutes.

At least it's going in the right direction. The report showed that commutes by walking declined over the same period, from 3.9 percent to 2.9 percent.

When considering all trips, not just commutes, biking and walking make a bigger mark. Americans rely on their feet alone for 10.5 percent of all trips. Bikes are used for 1 percent and public transportation for 1.9 percent. The rest of trips, almost 87 percent, are by private vehicle.

The report ranks major cities and states according to the percentage of commuters who bike or walk and by their bicycle and pedestrian fatality rates.

Alaska, Vermont and New York led the states in walking and biking levels, while Boston, Washington, D.C., and San Francisco led among the cities.

Vermont, Nebraska and Alaska had the lowest fatality rates among states, while Boston, Minneapolis and Omaha were the safest cities.

"This report comes at a critical moment, as Congress takes up the imminent passage of the next federal transportation bill, which dictates how billions of tax dollars will be spent over coming years," the Alliance said.

"The Benchmarking Report reveals that, in nearly every city and state, pedestrians and bicyclists are disproportionately at risk of being killed, and currently receive less than a fair share of transportation dollars. While 12 percent of trips in the U.S. are by bike or foot, 14 percent of traffic fatalities are bicyclists and pedestrians. Pedestrian and bicycle projects receive less than 2 percent of federal transportation dollars."

Topics associated with this article: Advocacy/Non-profits

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