Pennsylvania’s rural communities offer back country roads with low vehicular traffic, making them the perfect areas for residents to commute to work on a bicycle.
Biking is a commuting option that can significantly reduce your commuting costs and be part of a program for better health and fitness.
It is estimated that 27,303 residents commute to work by bicycle in Pennsylvania, according to the Center for Rural Pennsylvania. The organization ranked the top 10 municipalities in the state with the highest rate of bicycle commuting using data from the US Census Bureau and the American Community Survey Five-Year Average between 2017 and 2021.
1. Chapman Township, Snyder County
Chapman Township topped the list with 15.9% of its residents commuting to work via bicycle. The township has a total area of 13.3 square miles of land. The township’s total population is under 2,000.
According to the Center for Rural Pennsylvania, small towns and rural areas like Chapman Township consist mostly of rural back roads that are low speed and low traffic volume.
Also, in Snyder County, there is a fairly large population of old order Mennonite, which doesn’t allow for motorized vehicles but does allow for the riding of bicycles.
2. Eagles Mere Borough, Sullivan County
Eagles Mere Borough is a small community in the endless mountain region of the northeastern part of the state. With a total population of 120 full-time residents, the borough in Sullivan County came in second on the list with 14.8% of its population commuting by bicycle to work.
Eagles Mere is historically a summer get-away for visitors from Philadelphia, Harrisburg, and Baltimore. Its population swells to over 3,000 in the summertime, according to the borough’s website. The community retains its recreation focus in the summer, so while most bicycle trips in the municipality might be recreational in nature, it helps create a bike-friendly environment that encourages others to bike for practical purposes such as a commute to work.
3. Union Township, Snyder County
Union Township is a small municipality in Snyder County with a population just under 1,500. The township came in third, with 9.7% of its residents commuting by bicycle to work.
This rural municipality is another area consisting mainly of rural back roads that are low speed and low traffic volume, and a countryside populated by a large number of plain sect farms. A typical bicycle work commute might consist of biking to work to off-farm jobs in the area.
4. West Buffalo Township, Union County
West Buffalo Township ranked fourth on the list with 8.2% of its 2,865 residents commuting to work via bicycle. In Union County, the Buffalo Valley Rail Trail is a key feature of the area that helps to support a well-maintained bicycle infrastructure, thus making the small township a very bikeable area.
5. Lewisburg Borough, Union County
Lewisburg Borough is a general farming region with a population of 5,158 where 6.9% of its residents commute to work via bicycle.
The small borough is doing a number of things to foster a culture of cycling, like hosting community bike rides every week. The municipality is also doing small infrastructure projects to make it safer and more convenient to bicycle in the borough, such as installing a public bicycle pump and painting ‘Share The Road’ chevrons on key streets throughout the borough.
6. Woodbury Township, Bedford County
Woodbury Township has a population of 1,181 people and 6.9% of them commute to work on a bicycle.
This municipality in Bedford County is another example of a small, rural area that has many roads and streets that have relatively low vehicular traffic volumes making it an appealing place to bike for short trips.
7. Earl Township, Lancaster County
Earl Township has a population of just over 7,000, and 6% of those residents bicycle to work. Lancaster County has plenty of low traffic, back country roads, and a high concentration of plain sect farms, so it’s understandable why so many of the population in Earl Township use two wheels to get around.
8. Wharton Township, Potter County
Wharton Township has a population of 119 and 5.7% of those residents bike to work. This small municipality is another rural community with country roads that don’t see much vehicle traffic making it perfect for bicyclists.
9. South Newton Township, Cumberland County
South Newton Township has a population just under 1,500 and 5.7% of them bike to work. This municipality is not only rural with numerous back country roads, but it also boasts numerous plain sect farms which would account for the large percentage of bicycle commuters.
10. West Earl Township, Lancaster County
West Earl Township has a population of just over 8,500 and 5.2% of them bike to work. Just like Earl Township, this municipality in Lancaster County has plenty of low traffic, back country roads, and a high concentration of plain sect farms.
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