While Americans have not turned to the bicycle as a mode of transportation in the same numbers seen elsewhere in the world, some predict that soaring gas prices and increased infrastructure investments could change that.
"It's U.S. National Bike to Work Day on Friday and Americans are facing record high gasoline prices, but most commuters will stick to their cars. The combination of gas near $4 a gallon and the annual campaign to get people to pedal to work may prompt a few more people than usual to commute on two wheels.
But the majority won't consider the bicycle as a regular means of transport because they simply have too far to go and feel nervous about riding on traffic-choked streets, bicycling advocates and dedicated motorists say.
According to the National Sporting Goods Association, the number of Americans who bike 'frequently' -- 110 days a year or more -- fell almost 10 percent in 2007 to 3.7 million people.
Similarly, the number of people who ride bikes at least six times a year fell to 35.6 million in 2006, the lowest since the survey began in 1984, from 56.3 million in 1995.
Still, American bicycle advocates said there are signs the trend could be reversed, prompted most recently by gas prices, and by concerns over climate change, air pollution, energy security and personal health.
Some American cities including Portland, Oregon, and Washington have higher rates of bike use than the national average thanks to bike-friendly infrastructure."