Bike commuting has been growing exponentially across the United States since 2000, especially in bicycle friendly communities. These tend to be bike-friendly urban areas where the majority of bike commuters reside.
These cities and more get graded each year in the City Ratings report put together by the bicycle advocacy group People for Bikes. Together with Bicycle Magazine, The League of American Bicyclists and publicly available data, they rate cities upon how friendly they are for biking.
2018’s report was just released and includes an interactive and searchable list that includes 484 communities. Using a criteria of the factors of Ridership, Safety, Network, Reach and Acceleration, the following 10 cities are what they found to be the friendliest to biking in the U.S.
There are certainly a few surprises on the list, as well as notable omissions like New York City (11), San Francisco (61), Minneapolis (16) and Chicago (79) — all cities typically known for their bike communities.
The methodology People for Bikes used was based those five categories of criteria, which they explain as such:
– Ridership: The Ridership score reflects how many people in the community ride bikes.
– Safety: The Safety score considers fatalities and injuries of people on bikes as well as those walking and driving. Perceptions of safety are also given weight.
– The Network: The Network score evaluates the quality of the bike network – how completely it connects people to each other and local destinations using comfortable routes.
– The Reach: The Reach score determines how well a community’s low-stress network serves all members of the community.
– Acceleration: The Acceleration score assesses how quickly a community is improving its biking infrastructure and how successful its encouragement programs are at getting people to ride (using data sources City Snapshot and Community Survey).
When you take all that into consideration, it makes a little more sense that somewhere like Fort Collins, Colorado would come out on top. Or why two towns in Wisconsin made the top 10.
It is also interesting to note that not a single community scored above a 3.5 (out of 5). Meaning that while towns are seeing an influx in bike ridership it doesn’t necessarily mean that the towns are adapting to it quickly enough.
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