The number of Utahns commuting by bike up 65% in 7 years

Published November 22, 2013 2:56 pm

State ranks ninth nationally, although overall numbers are still small at less than 1%.
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The number of Utahns who bicycle to work increased by 65 percent since 2005, although the numbers remain tiny. Still, that puts Utah in the top 10 among the states for bicycling commuters by percentage.

Utah's percentage increased from 0.6 percent in 2005 to 0.99 in 2012, according to a new study by the League of American Bicyclists using data from the U.S. Census Bureau's annual American Community Survey.

That percentage now ranks Utah as No. 9 among the states. Oregon has the highest percentage of bicycle commuters at 2.5 percent, and Arkansas has the lowest at 0.08.

The study also says Provo now cracks the top 25 cities (with at least 60,000 population) with the highest share of bike commuters. It ranked No. 24 nationally at 4 percent. The highest in the nation was another university town, Davis, Calif., at 19.1 percent.

The report said 3.5 percent of commuters rode bicycles in Salt Lake City, and 0.19 percent do in West Valley City.

Rep. Johnny Anderson, R-Taylorsville — House chairman of the Legislature's Interim Transportation Committee, an avid biker and sponsor of numerous bills about bicycling — sees several reasons why bicycling is growing in popularity in Utah.

"The reason I ride is for health reasons and to help with air quality," he said. Anderson adds that more people are riding "because we are getting more and more trails and bicycle lanes, and it's getting a little safer."

He is also not surprised that Provo ranks high nationally. "They've got a great bicycle trail system for people who commute. That's encouraged riders."