Denver Bike Share Membership Almost 90% White

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A Denver bike share station (RTD photo)

Denver's bike share users are overwhelmingly white.

"Our demographic profile is nothing to be proud of , and we know that," said Parry Burnap, executive director of Denver's bike share program.

Speaking Thursday at the Designing Cities conference, Burnap displayed the results of a self-reported survey that found 89.9 percent of users are Caucasian, 4.7 percent are Hispanic, and 0.7 percent are African American.  According to Census statistics, 53 percent of Denver County residents are white non-Hispanic.

"We are mostly male, mostly white, mostly wealthy, mostly well educated,” she said. “Still, it's not a surprising early adopter profile."

Denver's findings are consistent with bike share programs in other cities. Earlier this year, a study found that whites are overrepresented in D.C.'s Capital Bikeshare.

Burnap said Denver's bike share program had yet to expand to lower income, more diverse neighborhoods, which are "separated from downtown by a river, a highway, and an industrial corridor."  Denver plans to install stations in more far-flung neighborhoods in order to reach more users.

Kate Fillin-Yeh, the director of New York's bike share program, said the city was taking steps to make sure its system reaches more users.

"We're working very closely with the [NYC] Housing Authority to find good locations on NYCHA campuses," she said, " and then using that as a way to start a conversation about creating a discount membership for NYCHA residents."

Under New York's plan, NYCHA residents would pay $60 for an annual membership. The undiscounted price is $95.