KC leaps out of last place for bike commuting!

The League of America Bicyclists just released 2009 Census estimates for bicycle commuting, and I’m delighted to say Kansas City has jumped several spots above last place. Back in 2005 we received quite a bit of notoriety for ranking last for bike commuting among the 50 biggest cites. We were so notorious that BBC Radio came here to produce a special report on our lameness.

Four years later we have jumped up to 39th place.  Slowly but surely the city’s efforts are starting to pay off.  Trails continue to be built, bike parking is increasing, traffic enforcement is getting attention, bike education classes have been introduced, Bike Week continues to grow, and even a few bike lanes are being included in new street projects.

Overall our rate of bicycle commuting is now 0.34% of all commuters, almost triple the rate of 0.12% in 2000.  The national rate is 0.55%, so we we still have a ways to go just to get up to average. Even more noteworthy is that bike commuting has increased 91% since gas prices fell from their peak in 2008.  Many of the people who tried bike commuting in when gas prices spiked have stuck with it.

Note: The League’s ranking puts us at #54 out of the 70 most populous cities.  For comparison with 2005, we looked at the 50 biggest cities, where we are #39.

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