MAY 9, 2011. PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA. Philadelphia ranks among the most bicycled cities in the country, with twice as many bicycle commuters as any other big city in the United States. Over the past decade, eight of the nine counties in the Greater Philadelphia Region have also experienced growth in bicycle commuting rates.
Mode Shift: Philadelphia's Two-Wheeled Revolution in Progress uses Bicycle Coalition counts and US Census statistics to map and dissect bicycling in the city and region. Between 2000 and 2009, Philadelphia's rate of bicycle commuting rose 151%. Camden (147%) and Delaware (126%) Counties experienced similar increases. Chester County's bicycle commuting rate rose an astounding 488%. Only Gloucester County's rate decreased during this ten-year period.
Despite these increases, only Mercer County's bike commuter rate is above the national average. "Population density and demographics are major factors," said Research Director John Boyle. "But blown out intersections and a lack of bike lanes and legitimate bicycling parking means biking in the suburbs is relegated to the fearless and those who have no other means of transportation."
Regulatory hurdles also depress suburban bicycling rates. "In Pennsylvania, amending the Motor Vehicle Code to remove the unnecessarily-restrictive Bicycle Occupancy Permits will dramatically improve municipalities' ability and willingness to invest in bicycling facilities," said Executive Director Alex Doty.
Mode Shift is available as a pdf document on the Bicycle Coalition's website.