Denver bicylists pedaling to work in greater numbers, city trying to keep up
Editor's note: This is the first in a series of reports about biking and bike safety in Denver and beyond.
Denver has dramatically increased its spending on bike lanes and other bike-related projects over the last six years, and for good reason. The advocacy group BikeDenver reports a major increase in commuters biking to work.
"The ridership numbers in Denver are exploding right now," says Piep van Heuven, executive director of BikeDenver. "The number of people who are biking in Denver has risen significantly [in recent years]."
Downtown Denver Partnership
The group's most recent report, which takes numbers from the U.S. Census American Community Survey, reveals that since 2005, there has been a 57 percent rise in Denver commuters biking to work. That's a 132 percent increase over the last twelve years.
While that increase is clearly very rapid, don't get too excited by the numbers. The group reports that only 2.2 percent of Denver commuters bike to work. That is, however, a major jump over the last several years, and nationally, bikers make up only .5 percent of commuters. That means Denver cyclists are riding to work at a rate four times the national average.
"More and more people are choosing to bike out of convenience," van Heuven says. "Biking is something that enhances all of our communities."
The Downtown Denver Partnership also has some useful localized statistics on increased cycling in the city. According to the June 2012 trends report from the organization, approximately 6 percent of employees working downtown bike to work. Their average one-way commute is 3.57 miles.
These figures come from a Downtown Denver Commuter Survey from 2011, which estimates that around 7,000 employees ride bikes to downtown everyday.
These trends are visibly obvious to the average pedestrian or motorist, who can see the increase in cyclists everyday on the road -- especially during the summer.
Page down to see what the city is doing to increase its bike infrastructure.