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Objective: The present study examined correlates of bicycle ownership and bicycling frequency, and projected increases in cycling if perceived safety from cars was improved. Methods: Participants were 1780 adults aged 20–65 recruited from the Seattle, Washington and Baltimore, Maryland regions (48% female; 25% ethnic/racial minority) and studied in 2002–2005. Bicycling outcomes were assessed by survey. Multivariable models were conducted to examine demographic and built environment correlates of bicycling outcomes. Results: About 71% of the sample owned bicycles, but 60% of those did not report cycling. Among bicycle owners, frequency of riding was greater among young, male, White, educated, and lean subgroups. Neighborhood walkability measures within 1 km were not consistently related to bicycling. For the whole sample, bicycling at least once per week was projected to increase from 9% to 39% if bicycling was safe from cars. Ethnic-racial minority groups and those in the least safe neighborhoods for bicycling had greater projected increases in cycling if safety from traffic was improved. Conclusion: Implementing measures to improve bicyclists' safety from cars would primarily benefit racial-ethnic groups who cycle less but have higher rates of chronic diseases, as well as those who currently feel least safe bicycling.


Institute for Health and Ageing

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Journal Article

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