Oct 20, 2023 - News

Tampa Bay gets more cycling-centric

Change in average daily bike trips per 1,000 people
Data: StreetLight Data; Map: Alice Feng/Axios

Tampa Bay is becoming more out-spoke-n.

State of play: The number of average daily bike trips per 1,000 people rose in Tampa-St. Petersburg, Lakeland and Sarasota between 2019 and 2022, Alex Fitzpatrick and Alice Feng report.

  • That's per a new report from mobility data firm StreetLight Data, which uses GPS and other location data to measure urban transportation patterns.

Zoom in: Sarasota had the biggest biking increase, going from 29 to 39 daily bike trips.

  • Tampa-St. Petersburg rose from 23 to 29 trips.
  • Lakeland went from 16 to 24 trips.

The big picture: At the national level, pandemic-era cycling fever appears to be lingering, with the number of average daily bike trips per 1,000 people increasing in almost every major U.S. metro area between 2019-2022.

By the numbers: The annual nationwide average for daily bike trips grew 37% between 2019-2022.

  • Most cycling activity is concentrated in and around big cities β€” the 100 largest metros accounted for 77% of bike activity nationwide in 2022, up from 72% in 2019.
  • Bike activity increased at least 25% between 2019-2022 in every metro area with about 5 million or more residents, StreetLight found.

Driving the news: Urban cycling took off during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic largely because people were looking for ways to get around or get exercise without potentially exposing themselves to infection.

  • Urban bike share programs, like Citi Bike (New York), Capital Bikeshare (Washington, D.C.) and Divvy (Chicago), exploded in popularity during the pandemic, making two-wheelers easier to access.
  • And many cities have been steadily improving their cycling infrastructure, though many are also dealing with a surge in e-bikes, which don't always mesh well with lanes meant for traditional bikes.

Reality check: Nationwide growth in bike activity flatlined between 2021-2022, at around 9 million total daily trips on average.

  • Still, even simply holding steady as a post-pandemic normality sets in is a win for bike advocates β€” and a sign that the COVID bike boom is likely here to stay.

The bottom line: "The flatline in 2022 is a warning that continued investment in safety-focused active transportation infrastructure β€” especially to support community connectivity, in addition to recreational access β€” will be critical to re-animating growth," per StreetLight's report.


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