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Madison tops Midwestern cities for bicycle commuters, ranks 7th in nation

Madison tops Midwestern cities for bicycle commuters, ranks 7th in nation

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Rush of Color -- M.P. King (copy)

A cyclist rushes through a palette of bright colors during a ride through the UW-Madison Arboretum.

Madison came in first among large Midwestern cities and seventh in the nation overall in a U.S. Census Bureau analysis of cities with the highest percentage of bicycle commuters.

About 5.3 percent of Madison workers bicycle to their jobs, according to data from the 2014 American Community survey re-released for national Bike to Work Week (May 16-20).

With about 140,000 workers aged 16 and over in the city, that means about 7,380 people bike to work.

Cycling Commuters infographic

Infographic provided by the U.S. Census Bureau ranks cities with 100,000 population or higher by the percentage that bike commutes to work.

Madison's bicycle-commuting percentage is higher than that of fellow Midwestern cities Ann Arbor, Michigan (5 percent), and Minneapolis (4.6 percent) in the top 10, but is below six other cities -- mostly in western states, according to the Census.

The analysis compared cities with populations of more than 100,000 people. 

Madison achieved the League of American Bicyclists' platinum-level status in the groups Bicycle Friendly Communities program in November, one of only five cities in the nation to do so at the time.

National Bike to Work Day is this Friday. The Wisconsin Bike Fed will hold "Wisconsin Bike to Work Day" on Wednesday.

Here's the top 10 ranking of bike-commuting cities from the Census:

  1. Berkeley, California: 9.7%
  2. Boulder, Colorado: 8.9%
  3. Cambridge, Massachusetts: 7.4%
  4. Portland, Oregon: 7.2%
  5. Eugene, Oregon: 6.8%
  6. Fort Collins, Colorado: 6.2%
  7. Madison: 5.3%
  8. Ann Arbor, Michigan: 5.0%
  9. Minneapolis: 4.6%
  10. San Francisco: 4.4%

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Nick Heynen was the online editor for the Wisconsin State Journal and managed the newspaper's social media accounts until 2018. A Maryland native transplanted to Wisconsin, he joined the paper in 2007 as data reporter.

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