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Portland sets bike commuting record, new numbers show

New U.S. Census figures released Thursday reveal that Portland set a record for bike commuting in 2014, with 7.2 percent of commuters choosing to bike to work.

An estimated 23,347 Portlanders commuted to work by bike in 2014, an increase of 27 percent, or 5,010 commuters from the year before.

City leaders touted the numbers as great for climate change and the city.

"Two of the greatest threats we face are climate disruption and rising health care costs," said Commissioner Steve Novick, who oversees the Portland Bureau of Transportation. "Bicycles are potent weapons against both threats, because when you're riding a bike, you're getting healthier and you're not emitting greenhouse gases. Many people understand that, but assume that only a tiny fraction of people will ever ride a bike. But that's not true. The numbers can grow — and now we know that they are growing."

In 2013, Portland had a bike commute rate of 5.9 percent. In 2004 the rate was 2.8 percent.

“Portlanders should be proud that we continue to use bikes at the highest rate of any major city in the nation,” said PBOT Director Leah Treat.

“Today’s record rate of bike commuting is a result of decades of investment in projects that make it safer for people to use bikes and programs that encourage people to try biking. When we make it safer for people to bike, we all benefit with cleaner air, lower carbon emissions and a healthier community.”

The figures come from the Census Bureau’s 2014 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimate.

The 5,010 increase in bike commuters exceeds the margin of error by 2,050.

For more: .portlandoregon.gov/transportation/59969.