One key aspect of creating smarter, more liveable cities is to create more complete streets that are friendlier to bikers. A pretty good indicator of how well cities are doing at this is how many people are willing to brave a commute on their bikes. This infographic shows, by state, what percent of commuters use bikes, and then breaks down the 10 most popular bike cities.
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The darker the state, the larger percent of bike commuters it has. The larger the red square, the larger the total number (we apologize for the incredible difficulty of comparing different sized areas). The most compelling information on the graphic—which was designed by Kory Northrop, a master’s student in the Environmental Studies program at the University of Oregon—is the share of women bikers. Why women? It turns out women are an "indicator species" for bike commuting: As biking gets safer, more women bike. A state with a high percentage of female bike commuters is doing a good job. Here are the top 10 cities with biking commuters and how many women they're attracting to their bike lanes:
The ones with the most bike commuters, you'll note, tend to have the higher percentages of women. A slightly disturbing piece of information is hidden at the bottom: Despite a massive increase in both total and per capita spending on bike lanes between 2008 and 2009, bike commuting actually decreased over that year:
The good sign is that the number of women bikers has been on the rise since 2004, which hopefully means that bike-infrastructure spending is working. As more people bike, cities will be forced to develop the infrastructure to support them, and thus create more liveable and commutable cities.
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[Hat tip: Streetsblog]
[Photo from Flickr user gwhalin]