Bicycles have been around for hundreds of years. Until recently, they were primarily used for leisure and exercise activities. New developments in technology, mass desire to help the environment, and concerns about personal health have helped to make bicycles more popular than ever before. Each year, more and more drivers are ditching their cars to ride a bike. This trend does not appear to be temporary. Many experts believe that bicycles will become a primary mode of transportation for many Americans in the coming years. At People Powered Movement, we are doing everything we can to make this a reality.

Cities Across the Nation Are Embracing Bike Infrastructure

Bikes are becoming more popular. Back in 2012, 51 million Americans reported that they rode a bike. By 2017, there were 66 million self-identified bicyclists in the country.  In turn, cities across America are giving bicyclists what they need: dedicated bike infrastructure. Some cities are testing out bike infrastructure by instituting temporary measures. These pilot programs gauge interest and also assess how bike lanes and infrastructure will affect overall travel in the city. Other cities are diving right in and funding more permanent measures, including isolated bike lanes, additional parking, and new signage and traffic lights.

Bike Sales Have Increased In Recent Years

More bicyclists is a great thing for the bicycle industry. The number of vehicles sold each year in the United States has been steadily declining for decades. However, the number of bicycles sold in the country has only increased. In fact, reports show that twice as many bicycles than cars are sold every year. Sales don’t lie. Americans are actively opting to choose alternative modes of transportation. If these trends continue, bikes will dethrone cars as the primary mode of travel in many parts of the country.

Bicycle Rideshare Programs Are On the Rise

Not everyone is buying a new bicycle. Why? Bicycle rideshare programs allow biking to increase in popularity without requiring cyclists to invest in their own equipment. What is a rideshare program and how does it work? Rideshare programs simply offer short-term public bike rentals. Download an app, pay, and choose a bike from a rideshare station. Use the bike to navigate around your city. When you’re done, simply return the bike to any rideshare station.

Rideshare programs have helped cities to combat debilitating traffic issues. More bicyclists mean less vehicular traffic. Studies have shown that rideshare programs contribute to reduced travel times, fewer car accidents, and increased public health. The rising popularity of bike rideshare programs has moved many cities, including New York, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C., to add thousands of new bikes to their fleets. Even companies like Lyft, which have helped to disrupt the car industry, have taken a shine to rideshare programs.

Developments in Biking Technology Allow Bikes to Rival Efficiency of Cars

The bicycle looks much different today than it did years ago. Recent developments in technology have helped to make the bicycle a real threat to the traditional car. Electric bicycles, which can be operated by pedals and/or an electric battery, have certainly played a large role in the vehicle’s transformation. With an electric bicycle, riders are really given the opportunity to travel long distances without having to commit to a full-size vehicle. Pedaling encourages a healthy lifestyle, while the battery offers a safety net and assistance when needed. Since these bikes are electric, they are a much more sensible choice for the environmentally-conscious commuter.

Sales of electric bikes in the United States indicate that many drivers are shifting their allegiances from the traditional car. Many electric bike companies report that they have a difficult time keeping up with demand. Waiting lists for electric bikes, which cost a fraction of a car, are extremely long. Continuing developments in electric bike technology will only serve to make the alternative choice of biking more popular in years to come.

For more information, see our benchmarking report and more information on past benchmarking reports.