Burque Bike Commuters: Me and 2,382 of my Very Estimated Closest Friends

Annual American Community Survey (ACS) responses are now available for 2017, and both the League of American Bicyclists and Seattle Bike Blog do a good job of digging into the numbers.

While the usefulness of findings from the single question on the ACS, “How did this person get to work LAST WEEK?,” is stuffed with validity concerns (e.g., weather and “LAST WEEK”) and taking each one year snapshot of results is far less wise than taking into account trends over many years, it must be said the 2017 figures are disheartening for anyone wishing/working toward raising numbers of bike commuters. This is particularly true for numbers of female cycling commuters, as Seattle Bike Blog points out.

Here in Albuquerque, .9% of “LAST WEEK” commutes were by bicycle, according to ACS. For the metro area, that means the following in terms of “actual” numbers:

commuters 2383.jpg
No, 2383 isn’t .9% of 558,558, but remember, not everyone commutes/works

The 2017 ABQ figures are down quite a bit from 2016. What does it all mean? Hard to say and unintelligent to guess. Still, these won’t be the numbers cycling advocates use when sending emails and knocking on doors of local/state roadway infrastructure decision-makers. One could, of course, argue that failure to implement sufficient improvements fast enough are the biggest reason for the numbers of those commuting by bike going down.

Best to wait for future one-year snapshots, focus on longer multi-year views, or, better yet, to have better data collection methods than what is offered in the American Community Survey. Unfortunately, lacking other data collection means, we’re often stuck with varying levels of garbage in and garbage out when it comes to roadway advocacy and public policy.




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