Monday, September 30, 2013

Census Data Shows That Bicycle Commuting In Chicago Is Skyrocketing in Popularity

According to data collected by the U.S Census Bureau in its 2012 American Community Survey, the number of Chicago residents commuting to work by bicycle increased by 13.7% between 2011 and 2012. In 2012, 19,147 Chicago residents, comprising 1.6% of all commuters, relied upon bicycles as their primary mode of transportation to and from work. In 2011, only 1.4% of Chicago residents commuted to work via bicycle. This data was reported in an excellent story by Ted Cox of
The Census warned that its survey results may underestimate the number of Chicago bicyclists commuting to work due to the small sample size of the survey. In addition, bicyclists complained that the survey only allowed participants to check one mode of transportation for their commute, so individuals who bike to and from public transportation were recorded as mass transit commuters though they rely upon bicycling as a vital part of their commute.
City Transportation Commissioner Gabe Klein credits the Divvy bike-sharing program with increasing the number of bicycle commuters in the city. Commissioner Klein stated, "The bike-sharing program is really mainstreaming biking in Chicago. It changes the way cars, bikes, and pedestrians interact." While bicycle commuting is increasing, current numbers are nowhere near Commissioner Klein's goal of 5%. The continued completion of a 500 mile bikeway network under Mayor Rahm Emanuel's Bike 2015 Plan should result in additional increases in bicycle commuters, as the plan aims to install at least one bikeway within a half mile of every Chicago resident.
As we noted in our May 16, 2013 post, Chicago is currently the top ranking "bikeable" large Midwestern city and is the 10th most bikeable large city nationally. As Chicago becomes more bike-friendly, City officials have taken a number of steps to increase bicycling safety, including adding more protected bike lanes, installing stickers in rear cab windows warning against opening doors into bicycle traffic, and increasing the fines for dooring bicyclists. The Illinois Bicycle Attorneys at Keating Law Offices hope to see further increases in bicycle commuting as the City continues to make bicycling in Chicago more accessible, easier, and safer. As the numbers of bicyclists increa, it is important that not just bicyclists but motorist be educated about bicyclists' rights and the importance of all vehicles "sharing the road."
Keating Law Offices is the premiere law firm handling bicycle-related cases in Illinois. The firm is committed to the representation of bicyclists who have been injured as a result of the negligence of others. If you have any questions regarding this post or an issue involving Illinois personal injury law, please contact Illinois Bicycle Attorney Mike Keating at 312-208-7702 or 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All e-mails and phone calls are returned promptly. All initial consultations are confidential and free.