Can Biking Be for Everyone?

Most bikers are white and have a college degree. A recent article examines the Baltimore Bike Experience as an example of the types of programs that could expand the use of biking into other parts of the city, among other benefits.
March 29, 2014, 1pm PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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“Of the few workers in Baltimore who commute by bike, a disproportionate share -- about 87 percent -- are white, according to aggregated five-year estimates by the Census,” reports J.B. Wogan. Moreover, “[more] than three-quarters have a bachelor's degree or higher. In contrast, the overall population of city workers is 39 percent white and about one-third have a bachelor's degree.”

Wogan uses the imbalance in bike use to examine cases like Baltimore Bike Experience, a non-profit that uses bicycles as a youth education tool, but which also have the potential to expand the use of bikes into neighborhoods and populations that haven’t yet embraced the alternative more of transportation. Says Wogan, “Youth bike programs could lead to a higher percentage of city bike commuters, but to achieve large-scale change, the clubs would likely need to expand biking to demographic groups that historically haven't embraced biking.”

Groups like Baltimore Bike Experience could also be attractive to policymakers, according to Wogan, for their job training benefits. “'Bicycle repairer' ranks among the top 85 growing occupations in the next 10 years, according to a 2013 analysis by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The nation will add about 2,700 bike mechanics by 2022, an increase of about 25.1 percent from 2012, the bureau predicted.”

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Published on Monday, March 24, 2014 in Governing
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