Number of People Bicycling to Work Declining
ATLANTA, GA. – An opinion piece online at bostonglobe.com examines the decline of people biking to work in Atlanta, Georgia, and across the United States. The vehicle that previously seemed like the future of transportation is now waning in public participation.*
Seattle is often thought of as the most biking friendly city in the country. The city has invested significant money in bicycle infrastructure to encourage more bicycling and protect cyclists while they travel about the urban area. But even in the friendliest city, the number of people choosing bicycles over other transportation is declining.
In 2015, 4 percent of people in Seattle reported using their bicycles to commute to work. In 2016, the figure dropped to 3.5 percent, and in 2017, it dropped to 2.8 percent. At the peak of cycling in the city, about 16,000 people were riding bicycles to work. By latest numbers, about 12,000 are now.
The same trend is happening in other major cities, too, like Atlanta. Between 2016 and 2017, bicycling declined in Atlanta by 13.7 percent. Cycling has declined in other cities by 12 to 24 percent in the same amount of time. What are some explanation for this decline?
One might be that gas prices are cheaper now, which makes it more affordable to drive to work than before. Another might be that more people are working from home now and do not need to commute anywhere. In addition, the housing crisis might have something to do with it. As the price of a rental home or apartment balloons in major cities, people are having to move farther away, making it impractical to ride bicycles to their jobs.
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