There are more cyclists on the streets of New York City today than at any other moment in human history.
In case you missed it, a Times report on Sunday spelled out in numerical terms what residents have long suspected: the proliferation of cycling in the Big Apple has far outpaced both population and employment growth over the past 12 years.
In 2005, New Yorkers averaged around 170,000 daily trips by bike. These days that number has climbed to 450,000, an increase of 265%. In one day alone in late July, Citi Bike logged over 70,200 rides – that’s the most anywhere in the Western Hemisphere outside of Paris, where modern bike sharing first took root.
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And it’s not just commuters contributing to the rising tide of urban cyclists, either. According to Spinlister, tourism-related bike rentals in New York have been growing exponentially over the past five years. In fact, more single and multi-day bike rentals were booked through the platform between June and July of this year than in all of 2013 combined.
So what accounts for this spike in pedal-powered propulsion? Well, it’s likely a result of several factors. As we reported back in July, traffic both above and below ground has worsened in New York City thanks in part to a surge in ride-sharing vehicles and an aging subway system. The situation has gotten so bad, in fact, that Governor Andrew Cuomo declared a State of Emergency for the Mass Transit Authority (MTA) on June 29.
On the other end of the spectrum, there are also simply more places for city cyclists to ride. According to Crain Communications, New York now houses a whopping 1,133 miles of bike lanes, more than tripling the amount found in Portland, Oregon (America’s bicycle commuting capital).
Whatever the cause, cycling has established itself in no uncertain terms as New York’s fastest growing form of transportation. And with plans underway to add even more infrastructure in response to cyclists’ resounding demand, the trend doesn’t show any signs of slowing down in the near future.
Perhaps it’s time to think about changing the name back to New Amsterdam after all.