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A Snapshot of Our Philadelphia Cycling Community

many cyclists riding on the street

In major cities all over the country, cycling is emerging as a popular, healthy, and environmentally-conscious way of getting around. In Philadelphia in particular, cycling has grown by leaps and bounds and is considered to be one of the nation's best bicycling cities. Below, we take a closer look at the people who make up this Philadelphia community, how they compare to the rest of the country, and how they are changing Philadelphia transit for the better.

How many cyclists are there in Philadelphia?

2012 Census data shows that Philadelphia has the highest percentage of commuting cyclists among our country’s 10 biggest cities; in fact, 2.3 percent of the Philadelphia population is commuting by cycling. In 2015, the League of American Bicyclists also found that from 2000 to 2013, bicycle commuting grew an amazing 296 percent. The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia found a similar 260 percent growth between 2005 and 2013.

How does this compare to the rest of the country?

The same 2012 Census found that 1.6 percent of Chicagoans commuted on bicycles and only 1 percent of all New Yorkers did. When it comes to bike commuting growth, Philadelphia has seen some of the highest growth numbers in the country (at 296 percent). According to the League of American Bicyclists, Minneapolis cycling grew 130 percent from 2000 to 2013 and in Boston, there was 122 percent growth. In other cities, however, growth was higher: San Francisco bike commuting has grown 301 percent and in Portland, a whopping 408 percent (impressive!)

Who is the Philadelphia cyclist?

There isn't a lot of concrete demographic data specific to our city, but on a national level, we do know that cyclists tend to be younger. The U.S. Census found that from 2006 to 2013, cycling commuters ages 16-24 grew from 0.8 to 1.1 percent nationwide (and tended to consolidate around universities).

There is, however, one Philadelphia-specific demographic we do know: we have a percentage of female cyclists that is well above the national average! The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia found that 33 percent of our city's cyclists were women. The national average is only 24 percent. Go Ladies!

Why is cycling growing so fast?

Philadelphia's commitment to creating a high-quality bicycle infrastructure has been key to encourage more bicycle commuters to reach for their helmets in the morning. While scenic, outdoor lanes and trails have boosted recreational cycling, it is the sheer volume of protected bike lanes installed throughout the city that has made workday commuting a possibility. At the beginning of 2015, Boston (also considered a great bicycling city) had 90 miles of bike lanes. Philadelphia had 435 miles.

How is growth affecting bicyclist behavior?

Because there has been a focused effort to welcome and protect cyclists in Philadelphia and safely incorporate them into our traffic system, they have responded in kind by following traffic rules. The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia has found that, between 2005 and 2013, there was an 80 percent decrease in sidewalk riding and a 63 percent decrease in wrong-way riding. There has also been dramatic 95 percent increase in helmet use. Clearly, however we still see some cyclists ignoring traffic signals.

As you can see, our cycling community only continues to grow and thrive here in Philadelphia. As we transition into a premier cycling city, however, accidents will happen and our cyclists remain most vulnerable against a vehicle class.

At Piscitello Law, our Philadelphia bicycle accident lawyer is not only well-acquainted with these legal challenges but is an active cyclist and cycling advocate. If you or a loved one have been hurt by a motorist, then we invite you to contact us. We have handled thousands of injury cases in Philadelphia and know what it takes to secure our clients the relief they deserve.

We're ready to stand with you during this difficult time. Contact us today.

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