Madison is tied with Portland, Oregon for its share of commuters bicycling to work. According to 2010 numbers from the Census Bureau, in both places one in every 17 commuters, or six percent, used a bike to get to work. “Madison grew by 50 percent in the last five years, which is pretty striking,” said Eric Sundquist, managing director of the UW Madison based Smart Transportation Initiative. “Portland grew even faster. In certain cities around the country, it’s becoming a sort of mainstream way to get to work.”
While most of the top ten cities for bike commuting have milder climates, Seattle, Minneapolis and Denver were also on the top ten. Sundquist pointed out that while there are conflicts between bicyclists and drivers, every bike means one less car during rush hour. “Congestion is sort of determined on the margin. The first thousand cars on a road don’t have effect on congestion, but . . . if you have 15,000 and take a thousand out . . . that might be all the difference between getting stuck in traffic and not.” Madison has about 127,000 thousand daily commute trips, of which approximately 7600 are made by bike.