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Biking to work increasingly popular in Boston, census shows

Hubway bike stations are located around the city, including at this Post Office Square location.
Hubway bike stations are located around the city, including at this Post Office Square location.Jonathan Wiggs/Globe Staff

The number of Boston residents who regularly commute by bicycle has more than tripled in a decade, according to data from the US Census Bureau.

An estimated 8,100 workers routinely pedaled themselves to their jobs last year, up from 2,300 in 2005, according to the bureau’s American Community Survey, which was released last month.

The percentage of Bostonians traveling to work by bike also more than doubled, from 0.9 percent to 2.4 percent during that 10-year span.

The popularity of biking to work has risen significantly for both men and women, but the estimates show it remains more popular among men, with 3.6 percent of them cycling to work compared with 1.2 percent of women.

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The census report does not provide a complete snapshot of how many people ride bikes in Boston. For example, it does not account for those riding for reasons other than work, or people who live outside Boston but ride in the city. The estimates are based on a survey question that asks how the respondent usually got to work during the preceding week.

Still, the figures are considered an indication of the explosion of cycling’s popularity in Boston.

The census data were noted by the city earlier this month, when it announced results of an informal annual survey of cyclists it conducts.

“More and more people are choosing to bike in Boston,” the city’s Boston Bikes program said in an e-newsletter.

Similar to the Census, the city’s survey has found a surge in the number of cyclists in Boston in recent years and biking has been more popular among men. It has also found that most cyclists wear helmets.

The Census data also show more people are commuting by public transit and walking and more are working from home. One category has dipped: the number of people driving themselves to work.


Matt Rocheleau can be reached at matthew.rocheleau@ globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @mrochele