Second Ward, Minneapolis

This is the public policy forum of Minneapolis Second Ward (Green) City Council Member Cam Gordon and his staff. We use this space to talk about some of what Cam’s working on, explain his positions, and share a little of what life in City Hall is like. Please feel free to comment on posts, within certain ground rules. See our disclaimer, including ground rules, here:

Friday, October 03, 2008

Minneapolis Closes Bike Gap

According to newly-released census information, Minneapolis is closing in on Portland in terms of bicycle mode share. Between '06 and '07, we moved from 2.5% to 3.8% bike commuter mode share (from 4,840 to 7,200 riders/day), a bigger increase in ridership than any other city. Portland, on the other hand, went from 4.2% to 3.9%.

You read that right: we're within .1% of being the number one large city in the country for bicycling.

But we're not going to rest on our laurels. There are a host of other, smaller cities with bicycle mode shares that make ours look pale in comparison, for instance Boulder, CO (8.9%), Eugene, OR (8.5%), Chico, CA (7.4%), Berkeley, CA (7.0%), and Cambridge, MA (6.0%). With our ongoing investments in both bike infrastructure and education - bike ambassadors, miles and miles of new lanes, next year's construction of the U of M trail, the Mayor's proposal to light up the Hiawatha LRT trail and dedicate $100,000 per year to bike infrastructure maintenance, among other things - I'm confident that we'll continue to improve on this number in the coming years.

You can read more about the census figures here, and read all about our ongoing initiatives to increase the percentage of people who bike to meet their daily needs here.

Lastly, this mode share increase is accompanied by a predictable, though tragic, increase in accidents involving cyclists. However, despite what you read in the media (like this inaptly-named article), there is safety in numbers. I have heard from staff that the evidence from other cities is that bicycle accidents increase at a slower rate than mode share. You can also see it in the data: between '06 and '07, crashes increased by less than 40% while the mode share increased by almost 50%. This leads to the somewhat paradoxical result that, while accidents involving bikes increase, each individual cyclist's chances of getting hit go down.


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