PEOPLEFORBIKES: DC’s Bike Programs Have Seen Biking Leap for Every Major Demographic

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By Stefani Cox, BetterBikeShare.org, and Michael Andersen, PlacesForBikes:

“The U.S. capital city has an important role in the modern history of biking: In 2010, it launched the country’s first major bike-sharing service and one of the nation’s first efforts to build protected bike lanes.

Since then, bike counts have shown Washington, D.C., quickly become one of the nation’s leading cities for bike transportation. But in this ethnically and economically diverse town, an important question has remained: Have all residents benefited from these public investments?

A round of finely detailed, long-term Census estimates released this month offer a close look at that question. There’s good news and bad news.

The good news: Among white people, African-Americans and Latinos, D.C. bike commuting seems to be up by approximately one-half or more since the programs began — eight times the nationwide rate of change. The same is true among both U.S. natives and immigrants. It’s true among people in poverty, people on the edge of poverty and people well outside poverty.

After 10 years of investment, D.C. residents of every measurable demographic appear more likely to bike to work. (Unfortunately, the Census doesn’t track other sorts of bike trips.)

The bad news: Those investments haven’t been able to correct the city’s existing inequities. Though thousands of Washingtonians of color obviously do bike for fun or transportation, overall bike-commuting rates seem to remain far lower among Black people and Latinos than in other groups.”

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