According to the 2005 US Census, only 0.4 percent of Americans bike to work, compared with 77 percent who drive. However, that statistic is dating rapidly as more and more Americans commute by bike.
In Portland, Oregon, 6 percent of people bike daily. Since 1991, counts of cyclists in the city have jumped 400 percent.
In New York, cycle use has doubled since 2002 and in 2007-8 the rate of increase accelerated, with numbers up by 35 percent.
Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan said:
"This unprecedented increase shows we are well on the way toward our goal of doubling the number of bike commuters. As these numbers rise, cyclists should take all safety precautions, while drivers must be vigilant when sharing our streets with this growing population."
The Department of Transportation has been conducting counts of cyclists annually since 1984.
While not every commuter cyclist in New York is counted, the count locations are high usage areas where trends are easily spotted. The screenline count looks at cyclists crossing the four East River bridges, those entering and exiting the Staten Island Ferry's Whitehall terminal, as well as cyclists crossing 50th Street on each avenue and the Hudson River Greenway.
The Department of Transportation added 140 miles of new bicycle routes to the on-street bicycle network in 2007 and 2008.