Tag Archives: Bicycle safety

Bicycling in the Rust Belt

Angie and Kate have posted about the Great Lakes Urban Exchange’s “I Will Stay If …” campaign a few times here; and as I was leafing through some of their photos recently, I noticed a number of references to bicycle unfriendliness of some of the Rust Belt cities.

With the Census Bureau’s 2008 American Community Survey data now available, I took a look at what the numbers look like throughout the Rust Belt. I should note that I used only core-city geography data, so the comparisons are not completely fair, given the arbitrary nature of political boundaries, but I think they are reasonable enough for this sake of this comparison.


The purple bars show the proportion of commuters who cite a bicycle as their primary source of commuting. The green bars show the number of bicyclists divided by the squared area (excluding water) of the city. Although similar, they give a little different perspective.

The best place for a bicyclist in the Rust Belt is probably Philadelphia. Having biked in Philly over the summer, I can speak from experience that they have done a good job promoting cycling. Erie has a slightly higher proportion of cyclists than Philly, but a smaller total number. On the other end of the spectrum, Detroit, Toledo, Akron, Dayton and Cincinnati all have pretty dismal numbers. I haven’t biked in any of those places, so hopefully someone who has can comment on whether the numbers reflect the reality.

9-08-commuter-amy-greeneNevertheless, even the best cities in the Rust Belt have a long way to go to catch up to the best overall bicycling cities in America (which have a long way to go to catch up to the best bicycling cities in Europe, but I digress). Rust Belt bicyclists might feel a little more at home in a place like Portland (6.0% / 130), Seattle (2.9% /117), Minneapolis (4.3% /150), or Washington, DC (2.3%/113). Unless, of course, we can keep working to make our own cities better for cyclists.

-Rob Pitingolo


Filed under Featured, Public Transportation

No Charges Filed in Hit-and-Run Death of 22-year-old Cyclist in Cleveland

22-year-old Sylvia Bingham was killed yesterday after she was run over by a truck while rising her bike to work from Ohio City in Cleveland.

The driver, who didn’t stop, was identified by witnesses and questioned by police but no charges have been filed.

Here’s a Plain Dealer article with all the details.

This woman was part of Americorps and working for an organization called Hard Hatted Women, where she helped women learn trades.

What a sad way for a promising life to end.

Is it really possible to run over and kill an adult riding on a bicycle without realizing it? If this woman were in a car or walking, would the situation be different? I don’t understand this. How could there not be any charges?



Filed under Public Transportation