How Bikeable Is Your Town?

Riding a bike instead of driving your car is healthier for you and for the planet, but depending on where you live, cycling could be….tricky…to say the least! How bikeable is your city?

Winter might seem like a less-than-ideal time to start riding, and in some places icy roads make it pretty tough to get on your bike. If the roads are clear, though, there’s no reason to skip the pedal power! Just bundle up. I’ve found that the most important gear for a winter ride are serious gloves and a scarf or face mask. When you’re pedaling, you’re basically creating wind, and that cold air can be brutal if you’re not covered. Bike Score has some more winter cycling tips that are definitely worth checking out!

Related Reading: 6 Tips to Go Car Free
Related Reading: 5 Bike Commuting Tips

The folks behind Walk Score are working on a new tool – Bike Score – and they’ve just expanded their list of cities with bike scores to include 25 major cities across the U.S. and 11 in Canada. It takes time to tally votes and compile these scores, so keep an eye on the site for more bike scores to come in 2013!

Up Next: Check out some urban cycling tips to get you going!

Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by gregwhalin

urban cycling tips

Urban Cycling Tips

If your town isn’t listed, you can put some pressure on your city planner to contact Walk Score about getting listed. In the meantime, here are some tips for cycling, even in places that aren’t super bike-friendly:

  • Know the rules. Laws about where you can and can’t ride vary from city to city. In some places, cyclists are supposed to ride in the road, just like a car, and in others they’re supposed to ride on the sidewalk. Know the bike laws in your town, so you can stay in the right and educate others.
  • Safety first. Even if you follow the rules of the road, you want to be prepared in case something goes wrong. That means wearing a helmet. All the knowledge in the world won’t help you if you hit a pot hole and bite it or a driver swerves and knocks you to the pavement. The chances are pretty slim, but why not protect yourself just in case?

Related Reading: 6 Tips to Go Car Free

  • Be visible. Are you riding on a foggy day or at night? Make sure drivers and pedestrians can see you! Choose bright colors and make sure that your bike has lights and reflectors.
  • Do a practice run. If you’re planning to ride your bike to work or school, start out with a trial ride, so you can see how long it’s going to take and plan to pack a change of clothes, if the ride leaves you too sweaty.
  • Use hand signals. Cars use their blinkers to tell you when they’re going to merge (in theory!), and when you’re on a bike you need to alert motorists and other cyclists when you’re going to make a move, too. I’ve found that not all motorists know the official hand signals, so just pointing where you’re planning to turn does the trick. Use your whole arm, so that your signal is extra visible.

Do you bike commute or otherwise use your bike for transportation? Share your urban cycling tips in the comments!

Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by Pug50


Jarmila Bernathova

my town, Bratislava not very bikeable ...but near is Austria so much people going there, much better there

Anna Jarczynska
Past Member 5 years ago

LONDON- do not ask.I have been cycling here everywhere for the last 10 years and I tell you someone up there must really like me- because I am still alive:-)))).

Anne G.
Anne G5 years ago

There are lots of bike lanes where I live and hefty tickets for not obeying the rules of the road, no helmet laws for adults but kids and lord help the pedestrian walking in a bike lane! I bike as much as I can, but call it quits until the snow and ice melt.

Bill K.
Bill K5 years ago

in my area they keep putting in bike trails that go nowhere instead of to useful places where bike riding could substitute driving. so now people drive to these bike trails with their bikes to ride for recreation while roads that lead to stores, businesses, or downtowns are too narrow and congested for bikes.

jeanette b.
Past Member 5 years ago

I live in a country town and we have a wonderful sealed bike track which starts at our town of Goolwa (in South Australia) and goes through two more towns. This track is completely separate to the roads and you have views of the beach the whole ride!!!!!

candice peters
candy peters5 years ago

stay safe and obey all traffic rules . wear a helmet.

Uddhab Khadka
Uddhab Khadka5 years ago

Thank you.

Roger M.
Past Member 5 years ago

London. Don't ask.

Ro H.
Ro H5 years ago

not enough

Jessica Sutton
Past Member 5 years ago

I wish the area I lived in was bike/pedestrian friendly...

I'm scared I would get hit by a car here... I live in a fairly rural part of Alabama and the roads that lead to the city are curvy, fairly narrow, you wouldn't be obviously visible to a driver, and most people speed through the curves.

When I lived in Birmingham, I walked everywhere. I loved it!