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Bike use continues to grow—fastest among communities of color

Published May 30, 2013

WASHINGTON, D.C. (BRAIN) — A first-of-its-kind report titled “The New Majority: Pedaling Towards Equity” shows that more women, youth, and minorities are getting on their bikes. The study released by the League of American Bicyclists and the Sierra Club also reports that people of color are playing a key role in shifting transportation demand toward safer, more equitable and more accessible bicycling in their communities.

The study reported that despite significant barriers such as safe cycling infrastructure and a historic lack of inclusion within traditional advocacy organizations, more people in communities of color are traveling by bike. Between 2001 and 2009, the number of trips by bike taken by African-Americans doubled, followed by an 80 percent growth in Asian communities, 50 percent among the Hispanic population and 22 percent among Caucasians. 

“More Americans are getting on their bikes, and communities of color are leading the charge,” said Michael Marx, a Sierra Club campaign director. “This new face of biking is also the frontier of transportation justice — we must prioritize safe biking infrastructure like bike lanes, protected bike trails and calm traffic streets in communities that are typically underserved.”

Other key findings include:

  • More than 85 percent of people of color (African-American, Hispanic, Asian, Native American and mixed race) have a positive view of bicyclists and 71 percent say their community would be a better place to live if bicycling were safer and more comfortable 
  • More than 25 percent of people of color say they would like to ride more but safety is a concern; 60 percent say that more bike lanes would encourage them to ride
  • The poorest families spend a high percentage of their income getting to work, with more than 40 percent of their pay going to their commute. The average cost of owning a bike is $308, compared with $8,220 for the average car. 

The report findings also highlight local efforts working to open up communities often overlooked by city transportation planners and cycling advocates to make biking a more accessible means of transportation for all residents who want to ride. 


Topics associated with this article: Advocacy/Non-profits

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