Urban Texans Lead Nation in Not Biking to Work

May 9, 2014 - 1:50 PM

Dallas freeway

(Wikimedia Commons photo)

(CNSNews.com) - Among large cities with 200,000 or more people, according to a report released this week by the Census Bureau, five communities in Texas led the nation in having the smallest percentage of workers commuting by bicycle.

In the border city of Laredo, Texas, in the five year period from 2008 through 2012, 0.0 percent of workers rode bikes to work. That topped all large cities for the smallest percentage of workers commuting by bike.

In Garland, Plano, Fort Worth and Dallas, only 0.1 percent biked to work. These Texas cities tied for next to last.

In four other Texas cities, only 0.2 percent rode bikes to work. These included Arlington, Irving, San Antonio and El Paso.

Cities Where People Don't Bike to Work

Fourteen additional cities—mostly in the South—joined these four Texas cities in an 18-way tie for sixth place for having the workers least likely to bike to work. In each of these cities, only 0.2 percent commuted by bike.

On a statewide basis, Texas did not have the lowest percentage of workers commuting by bike. “The five states with bicycle commuting rates lower than 0.2 percent are in the South, including Arkansas, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, and West Virginia,” said the Census Bureau report. (Data posted by the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey shows that in the single year of 2009, Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee each had 0.1 percent of its workers commuting by bicycle, while Texas and West Virginia had 0.2 percent.)

Birmingham, Ala., and Montgomery, Ala., were among the 18 cities tied for sixth place for the smallest percentage of workers (0.2 percent) who commuted by bike. Memphis, Tenn., also was part of that 18-way tie.

Cities Where People Bike to Work

At the other end of the spectrum, workers in Portland, Ore., were most likely to bike to work. In that city, 6.1 percent commuted on a bicycle.

Workers in Madison, Wis., were the second most likely to bike to work, with 5.1 percent doing so. That was followed by Minneapolis with 4.1 percent; Boise with 3.7 percent; Seattle with 3.4 percent; San Francisco with 3.4 percent; Washington, D.C. with 3.1 percent; Sacramento with 2.5 percent; Tucson with 2.4 percent; and Oakland with 2.4 percent.

The Census Bureau also discovered that poor people are more likely to ride a bike to work than wealthier people and that people who do not have a motor vehicle available are more likely to ride bikes than people who do vehicles available.

Poor People Are More Likely to Bicycle to Work

1.5 percent of the people with an annual household incomes of $10,000 or less rode a bike to work compared to only 0.5 percent of the people with an annual household incomes of $200,000 or more.

In fact, workers in every bracket above $49,999 in annual household income were less likely than the national average (0.6 percent) to ride to work on a bicycle.

2.8 percent of workers in households where no vehicles were available to them rode bikes to work. But only 0.8 percent of workers in households where one vehicle was available to them commuted by bike; while only 0.4 percent in households where two vehicles were available commuted by bike; and only 0.3 percent of workers in households where three or more vehicles were available commuted by bike.

Nationwide, workers with three or more vehicles available to them were nonetheless three times more likely (at 0.3 percent) to ride a bike to work than workers in Dallas and Fort Worth--where only 0.1 percent rode a bike to work.