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New Orleans, Honolulu Rocket Up the Bike Commute Charts

Cycling held its own against other modes of transportation in 2009 despite decreasing gas prices, according to Census numbers crunched by the League of American Bicyclists.

The league released its annual Bike Commuter Rates report for the 70 largest U.S. cities yesterday. Established leaders in the cycling movement hold many of the top spaces, including Portland (#1) and Minneapolis (#2). But the list held some surprises too. Oakland jumped a few places to number five, with more than 2.5 percent of commute trips by bike. New Orleans recorded a dramatic 174 percent increase in cycling to reach number 6 overall. Honolulu also rocketed up the chart to number seven.

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On the LAB's Blog, analyst Darren Flusche notes that in the past year, cities not known for cycling amenities saw the biggest increases in bike commute rates:

Despite predictions that the number of Americans biking to work would fall after gas prices returned to ‘normal’ in 2009, the percentage has held steady at 0.55 percent. The Bicycle Friendly Communities (BFC) among the 70 largest cities also held steady with a 1 percent increase, while non-BFCs increased their commuter share by 26 percent. BFC cities still have on average about twice the percentage of commuters as non-BFC cities.

The league's list is based on data from the Census's bi-annual American Community Survey, which come with several caveats that Flusche points out. You can see the results of the league's bike commuting report in this PDF.

Elsewhere on the Network today: Urban STL reports that officials in St. Charles County, Missouri have opted against a partial bike ban, but not without some disparaging words for cyclists. Reinventing Parking laments that a region in India has joined parts of China and Vietnam in considering price controls on private sector parking fees. And Gary Rides Bikes hypothesizes as to why motorists often engage in risky behavior in order to pass cyclists.

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