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10 Fastest Growing Biking Cities in America (You'll Be Surprised Who Made the List)

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10 Fastest Growing Biking Cities in America (You'll Be Surprised Who Made the List)

The League of American Bicyclists recently published its third edition of Where We Ride: An Analysis of Bicycling in American Cities, which is based on new data from the Census Bureau's American Community Survey and looks at the growth of bicycle commuting around the country.

Bike commuting is now the fastest growing mode of transportation and in big cities that suffer from serious traffic jams, it's often faster to get around by bike than by car.

In the report, the league looks at:

  • how all 50 states rank according to bicycle commuters as a share of all commuters
  • how cities with a high percentage of bicycle commuters compare to other cities in their regions
  • how cities compare based upon multimodal commuters, looking beyond just bikes to other forms of transportation that involve more physical activity, including walking and transit

Unsurprisingly, for bike enthusiasts at least, Davis and Berkeley, California, along with Boulder, Colorado and Portland, Oregon all have high levels of ridership. But one really interesting ranking is the top 50 large cities where bike commuting is growing the fastest. Several cities on the list are probably not what most people would expect.

Here's the top 10 (go here for the full ranking):

  1. Detroit, MI
  2. Pittsburgh, PA
  3. Cincinnati, OH
  4. Portland, OR
  5. St. Louis, MO
  6. Chicago, IL
  7. Cleveland, OH
  8. Washington, DC
  9. Milwaukee, WI
  10. Oakland, CA

At least half of the top 10 cities are Rust Belt cities with harsh winters like Detroit. And yet Detroit saw a 400 percent increase in the number of bike commuters from 2000 to 2014. Now, bikers still only make up 0.8 percent of total commuters there (It's no Copenhagen, at least for now). Still, more bike lanes, especially more protected bike lanes, and programs like Slow Roll Detroit help to explain why biking is taking off in the nation's car capital.

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A plume of smoke from wildfires burning in the Angeles National Forest is seen from downtown Los Angeles on Aug. 29, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images

California is bracing for rare January wildfires this week amid damaging Santa Ana winds coupled with unusually hot and dry winter weather.

High winds, gusting up to 80- to 90 miles per hour in some parts of the state, are expected to last through Wednesday evening. Nearly the entire state has been in a drought for months, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, which, alongside summerlike temperatures, has left vegetation dry and flammable.

Utilities Southern California Edison and PG&E, which serves the central and northern portions of the state, warned it may preemptively shut off power to hundreds of thousands of customers to reduce the risk of electrical fires sparked by trees and branches falling on live power lines. The rare January fire conditions come on the heels of the worst wildfire season ever recorded in California, as climate change exacerbates the factors causing fires to be more frequent and severe.

California is also experiencing the most severe surge of COVID-19 cases since the beginning of the pandemic, with hospitals and ICUs over capacity and a stay-at-home order in place. Wildfire smoke can increase the risk of adverse health effects due to COVID, and evacuations forcing people to crowd into shelters could further spread the virus.

As reported by AccuWeather:

In the atmosphere, air flows from high to low pressure. The setup into Wednesday is like having two giant atmospheric fans working as a team with one pulling and the other pushing the air in the same direction.
Normally, mountains to the north and east of Los Angeles would protect the downtown which sits in a basin. However, with the assistance of the offshore storm, there will be areas of gusty winds even in the L.A. Basin. The winds may get strong enough in parts of the basin to break tree limbs and lead to sporadic power outages and sparks that could ignite fires.
"Typically, Santa Ana winds stay out of downtown Los Angeles and the L.A. Basin, but this time, conditions may set up just right to bring 30- to 40-mph wind gusts even in those typically calm condition areas," said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Mike Doll.

For a deeper dive:

AP, LA Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Washington Post, Weather Channel, AccuWeather, New York Times, Slideshow: New York Times; Climate Signals Background: Wildfires, 2020 Western wildfire season

For more climate change and clean energy news, you can follow Climate Nexus on Twitter and Facebook, sign up for daily Hot News, and visit their news site, Nexus Media News.

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