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Missoula Measures - Bicycling


Why this topic?

Regular physical activity is crucial to quality of life, regardless of your age. Buying a health club membership, or setting aside "exercise" time can be challenging. However, bicycling to work, or to do errands is a great form of physical activity that can be productive as well. While purchasing a bicycle may be a significant initial expenditure, it can provide countless hours of physical activity for very little annual outlay, and can also reduce gasoline consumption and air pollution.

Missoula is a bicycle town. We have a higher per capita rate of bicycling to work than other counties in the state, and other northern counties in the nation. This may be due to our high University student population, or the overall progressive attitude of the community. Even on snowy, cold winter days, you will see people riding bicycles to work or school.

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How are we doing?

Challenges to bicycling in Missoula:

On the other hand:

University of Montana:


The majority of workers, 70% - 80%, still drive alone to work. 

graph journey to work, 6 Montana counties, US Census,

US Census Bureau - 2008-2012, 5-year estimates

In 2010, the top 10 metropolitan areas for commuting by bicycle were Corvallis and Eugene, Oregon;  Fort Collins and Boulder, Colorado; Missoula, Montana (5%); Santa Barbara, Chico and Maria-Goleta, California; Gainsville, Florida; Logan, Utah; and Bellingham, Washington.  Their rates ranged from 3-10%.

US Census Bureau 2010

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Related data

Montana bicycle crash statistics

Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan

Missoula In Motion statistics



Bicycle helmets are 85% effective in protecting your head and brain in the event of a crash. AAA Traffic Safety  Adults are good role models for encouraging helmet use by kids.

The Youth Risk Behavior Survey, conducted by the Dept. of Health and Human Services reports:

graph, percent of hi school students who never or rarely wear a bike helmet, 2013, US, Montana, Missoula 

Costs of transportation

Missoula bicycle laws summarized

Community designs that encourage bicycling

Healthy People 2010 Target (Guidelines for 2020 have not yet been developed.)

  • 2% of adults bicycle to do errands if the distance is less than 5 miles
  • 5% of children bike to school if the distance is less than 2 miles

Related Measures

Missoula Urban Environment



Related websites

Active Kids - information on physical activity and healthy eating, for your own health, and regarding the health of Missoula.

Missoula Institute for Sustainable Transportation (MIST)

University Of Montana - Transportation

International Bicycle Fund

Missoula's Bicycle / Pedestrian Program

National Center for Injury Prevention and Control

Montana Traffic Safety Bureau Programs

Healthy People 2020


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