Fewer Americans bike to work despite new trails, lanes and bicycle share programs

Nationally, the percentage of people who say they use a bike to get to work fell by 3.2 percent from 2016 to 2017, to an average of 836,569 commuters,  according to the bureau’s latest American Community Survey, which regularly asks a group of Americans about their habits. That’s down from a high of 904,463  in 2014, when it peaked after four straight years of increases.

In some cities, the decline was far more drastic. In Tampa, Florida, and Cleveland, cycling to work dropped by at least 50 percent, although in some cities, cycling to work was up just as dramatically.

Experts offered several explanations for the nationwide decrease that has unfolded even as cities spent millions trying to become more bike-friendly.

Most obviously, lower gasoline prices and a stronger economy contributed to strong auto sales and less interest in cheaper alternatives, such as mass transit and bikes. The rise of ride-hailing services such as Uber and Lyft and electric scooters cut into bike commuting, said Dave Snyder, executive director of the California Bicycle Coalition.