If you read much of our content, you will know that we LOVE cycling. Whether it is chewing-up the gravel roads, cruising along on a road bike, or tackling tougher terrain with a fat bike or mountain bike, we just enjoy the idea that you can explore so much ground on a bike. This fascination causes us to pay attention to biking or cycling statistics when we see them.
We love how it makes us feel, too. Great cardio work without the pounding on the knees.
Here are a few cycling and biking statistics you might find interesting.
Biking and Cycling Statistics
Cycling Demographic Statistics
- Over 51 million Americans ride a bicycle each year, making it the 3rd most popular outdoor activity in the US. Of course, some of these folks only took a handful of rides, but others put hundreds of miles on. In case you are curious, the 1st and 2nd most popular outdoor activities are running and fishing. (Source: Statista)
- The global cycling market is expected to reach $62 billion by 2027. This includes products such as bikes themselves and parts, and other apparel and gear. To put it in perspective, this puts the cycling industry just behind the beauty industry and the wearables market in terms of value. (Source: Fortune Business Insights)
- In the Covid years of 2020 and 2021, U.S. bike sales increased by 25% to 30% from 2019 levels. The Covid spike in bike sales caused supply chain backlogs for all types of bikes and bike equipment. While bike sales began to level off in 2022 as restrictions were lifted, they are still higher than they were before the pandemic. (Source: World Economic Forum)
- We like our bikes! The average American household owns 2.6 bicycles. In some cases, there is a bike for every person in the family. But avid cyclists may own two to four bikes – perhaps a road bike and a fat bike for different conditions. This statistic highlights the significant role that cycling plays in American households and communities. (Source: Bicycle Retailer and Industry News)
- Americans enjoy going for rides. More than half of American adults (51%) report that they rode a bicycle in the past year. Compare this with just 15% of the population that runs. Note, however, there are many more casual, non-competitive cyclists than runners. (Source: Statista)
- The Netherlands has the highest percentage of daily bicycle riders in the world, with 43% of trips made by bike and 58% of people using a bike for transportation at least twice a week. (Source: Cycling Embassy of Denmark)
- Other countries with avid cycling commuters include Germany (36%), India (36%), Sweden (31%), and Finland (30%). (Source, Statista)
- European countries dominate in the number of Tour de France wins, the legendary road cycling race. Top countries with wins are France (36), Belgium (18), Spain (12), and Italy (10).
Bike Commuting Facts
- In 2020, bicycle commuting increased by 21% in the United States, but decreased a bit from that figure in 2021. Still, less than 1% of the commutes in the US are done via bike. The average bike commute in the US is rather short, about 3-4 miles. (Source: US Census Bureau.)
- The number of people biking to work in the US has gone up by 43% since 2000. It is likely due to improved health focus, and more bike trails that can be safely ridden. (Source: League of American Bicyclists)
- Ebikes are the fastest-growing segment of cycling, with the Ebike market growing by more than 200% per year during 2019, 2020, and 2021. This level of growth is making the Ebike category a heavy-hitter, even larger than road bikes. The global electric bicycle market is expected to reach $21.1 billion by 2025. (Source: Grand View Research and NPD)
- E-bikes can travel up to 28 miles per hour in the United States. (Source: Consumer Reports)
Bike Safety Facts
- There are typically between 700 and 900 cycling-related deaths in the US each year, with 891 and 846 in 2020 and 2019 respectively (numbers will be updated as they are published). The number of cyclists killed in the United States increased by 43% from 2010 to 2020, no doubt in part to the increase in total cyclists. (Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)
- More than 60% of bicycle fatalities occur on urban roadways and cyclists are 3 times more likely to be killed in a traffic crash than occupants of a vehicle. This underscores the need for bicycle safety, and for taking bike safety measures, especially when road biking. (Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)
- Bicycle helmets reduce the risk of head injury by 85%. Be sure your helmet is well-fitting, as a poorly-fitting helmet may be flung out of place during impact. (Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- Evening crashes are the most common for bike fatalities. The window with the highest number of fatal bike crashes is 6pm to 10pm, with early morning (6am to 8am) being next. These times map to both common commute times as well as low-light conditions. If you must ride at dusk or dawn, we recommend using bike lights. (Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)
- Mountain bikers are not immune from accidents, but their tend to be less-fatal than road bikers. The injury rate is highest for downhill mountain bikers (trail riding down mountains or in ski areas) at up to 43 injuries per 1,000 hours ridden. (Source: Idaho Sports Medicine Institute)
- A notorious mountain biking injury is the broken collarbone. It is often caused by falling over the handlebars, or on to an outstretched hand with too much force for the body to handle. Collarbones are the most common serious injury for mountain bikers, behind only milder injuries like skin abrasions, back pain, or carpal tunnel syndrome. (Source, ISMI)
Cycling and Your Health
- Longer bike rides are often done in heart rate Zone 2, which is extremely valuable for your heart. Zone 2 is at about 56% to 75% of your functional threshold, and provides excellent aerobic and endurance work for your heart.
- Cycling is associated with a 41% lower risk of premature death, and regular cycling can reduce the risk of developing heart disease by up to 50%. (Source: British Heart Foundation)
- Other studies have found that regular cycling, for workouts or for commuting, can lower your risk of cardiovascular disease by 46%, and lowers your odds of developing Type II Diabetes as well. It stands to reason – cycling helps keep weight off, and weight is a key driver of diabetes. (Source: Medical News Today).
Gravel Biking Statistics
- Growth in popularity: Gravel biking has exploded in popularity in recent years, with more and more cyclists seeking out new and challenging off-road routes. According to the NPD Group, a market research company, gravel bike sales in the United States increased by 60% in 2020. Gravel biking has been growing quickly, not quite as fast Ebiking but still considerable.
- Gravel biking events have growth too. Gravel biking has seen a surge in popularity in the racing community. The Dirty Kanza, a popular gravel race held in Kansas, started with just 34 participants in 2006, but has since grown to attract thousands of riders from around the world. The Gravel Worlds event in Lincoln, Nebraska has grown from just 40 participants in 2010 to over 1,000 participants in 2021.
- Gravel biking can be traced back to over 100 years, because back then people rode gravel out of necessity. You can still see this legacy in many of the European bike races that intentionally have part of the course on dirt or unpaved road. (Source: Durango Herald)
Obscure Cycling Statistics
- Bikes can actually balance on their own, as long as they are moving. The speed they need is roughly 8mph or so. Below that, and they will start wobbling and eventually lose balance. But a bike coasting at 8mph or above actually doesn’t need a rider!
- There is a bike parking garage in the Netherlands (Utrecht) that can hold more than 12,000 bikes.
- Bike helmets were not common until relatively recently. The first one was manufactured in 1975, about 300 years after bikes became popular.
There you have it, a quick roundup of some cycling statistics. If you have others that are scientifically validated and worth publishing, send them our way and we will vet them!
Jim is an accomplished triathlete and endurance cyclist, and has raced in more than 3 dozen USAT-certified races. He is also an avid trail runner and gravel bike rider.
His areas of expertise are in endurance training, cycling, triathlon technique, race direction, and training plans. In addition to writing extensively about the endurance world, he has managed gyms and fitness centers in the US. Jim is a longtime writer for Complete Tri, Compression Design, and his work can be found on the resource pages of many triathlon and cycling clubs in North America.