America’s Best & Worst Bike-Friendly Cities

Bike to Work Day is May 16th this year, which may be easier for some of you than others. We dug around to uncover the the countries best and worst cities for bikers. How did yours fare?

Bicycling.com is known for their top lists on biking cities, and they look at a range of things in order to come up with their rankings. At the top of their scouting pecking order? Segregated bike lanes, municipal bike racks and bike boulevards. You’ve got to have a vibrant and diverse bike culture and smart, savvy bike shops. They look only at cities with populations of 100,000 or more (you’ve got to narrow it down somehow!) but strive for geographical diversity (otherwise half of the list might be California).

BEST

Here is Bicycling.com’s top 50 list:

1 Minneapolis 26 Boston
2 Portland, OR 27 Philadelphia
3 Boulder, CO 28 Pittsburgh
4 Seattle 29 Charleston, SC
5 Eugene, OR 30 Arlington, VA
6 San Francisco 31 Sioux Falls, SD
7 Madison, WI 32 Boise, ID
8 New York City 33 Kansas City, MO
9 Tucson, AZ 34 Columbus, OH
10 Chicago 35 Tulsa, OK
11 Austin, TX 36 Grand Rapids, MI
12 Denver 37 Billings, MT
13 Washington, DC 38 St. Louis
14 Ann Arbor, MI 39 Cleveland
15 Phoenix/Tempe, AZ 40 Greensboro, NC
16 Gainesville, FL 41 Lexington/Fayette, KY
17 Albuquerque, NM 42 Omaha, NE
18 Colorado Springs, CO 43 Salt Lake City
19 Salem, OR 44 Miami
20 Scottsdale, AZ 45 Indianapolis
21 Louisville, KY 46 Fargo, ND
22 Chattanooga, TN 47 Anchorage, AK
23 Long Beach, CA 48 Baltimore
24 Cary, NC 49 Little Rock, AR
25 Milwaukee 50 Rochester, NY

Now let’s look at the top five.

1. Minneapolis

Despite their cold winters, Minneapolis has a great biking community. According to Biking.com, the city has 120 miles of on- and off-street bicycle facilities AND access to indoor bike parking.

2. Portland

Even beginner cyclists in Portland can feel safe with their designated bike-only areas at traffic signals. Portland also boasts other innovative programs like free bike lights.

3. Boulder

Boulder is surrounded by 120 miles of trails called the greenbelt. According to Bicycling.com, 95% of Boulder’s urban streets are bike-friendly, and the city is home to many top pro racers.

4. Seattle

Seattle has invested time and money into their bikers. According to Bicycling.com, the city has a 10-year plan (costing $240 million) to encourage more biking and add 450 miles of bike paths.

5. San Francisco

San Francisco makes it easy to commute by bike — even if you travel outside of the city limits. Commuters can bring their bikes on board a commuter rail, and there is also a bike shuttle across the Bay Bridge during rush hour.

WORST

Just last year, our own Beth Buczynski counted down the ten worst cities for biking in the US.

According to Transportation for America, these are the 10 most dangerous metropolitan areas in the United States:

1. Orlando/Kissimmee, Florida
2. Tampa/St. Petersburg/Clearwater, Florida
3. Jacksonville, Florida
4. Miami/Fort Lauderdale/Pompano, Florida
5. Riverside/San Bernardino/Ontario, California
6. Las Vegas/Paradise, Nevada
7. Memphis, Tennessee
8. Phoenix/Mesa/Scottsdale, Arizona
9. Houston/Sugar Land/Baytown, Texas
10. Dallas/Fort Worth/Arlington, Texas

Bicycling.com agrees with this list, and picks Dallas (multilane highway heavy), Memphis (no bike lanes exist!) and Miami (ranks second in the nation in bike fatalities) as its top three.

Want another opinion? Check out Travel Channel’s top ten picks for best cities.

Tell us: How is YOUR city for biking? Do you like to bike for fun or commuting purposes? How do you think towns can improve their efficiency for bikers?

70 comments

Carrie-Anne Brown
Carrie-Anne Brownabout a year ago

thanks for sharing :)

Janice Thompson
Janice Thompson2 years ago

Safety is a personal thing. You MUST make your own.

Jack M.
Jack M.2 years ago

Google is an amazing device: http://www.bicycling.com/news/advocacy/america-s-most-improved-bike-city.

Jack M.
Jack M.2 years ago

Google is an amazing device: http://www.memphistn.gov/Government/ParksNeighborhoods/BikeRoutes.aspx and http://www.bicycling.com/news/advocacy/america-s-most-improved-bike-city

Jack M.
Jack M.2 years ago

Absolutely a false statement about Memphis. Do your research next time.

Camilla Vaga
Camilla Vaga2 years ago

thanks

Tanya W.
Tanya W.2 years ago

Noted thanks

Tanya W.
Tanya W.2 years ago

Noted thanks.

Kathy Henion
Kathy Henion2 years ago

San Francisco may be bike friendly but you're going to work your ass off biking in that town.