Five Least Bike-Friendly Cities (and how to make them better)
There are some lists you just don't want to be on, and there are definitely some lists you don't want to stay on year after year. This is one of those lists.
Sources for cycling enthusiasts like Bicycling Magazine remain vigilant about finding the best and the worst cities for riders in the country. Their lists are based on safety, accessible bike lanes, traffic conditions, environmental concerns, number of cycling clubs, and much more.
Based on their list and those from a few other sources, it becomes pretty easy to nail down some of the worst biking cities in the country. Unfortunately, a few cities on the list have been on there for years. Here's how we see the five least bike-friendly cities in the U.S. (although at least one seems to be making improvements):
Hey, Dallas is a great town if you love football, art museums, sculpture gardens, Tex-Mex and the great Dirk Nowitzki. It's not all that great, though, if you enjoy cycling. The rapid expansion of the city and its surrounding suburbs (many of which are just about as close to Oklahoma as they are to downtown) has given rise to a sprawling city filled with criss-crossing highways, construction, and a face-full of exhaust for all the riders out there. The lack of bicycle lanes and even bike-accessible roads makes "Big D" that much more difficult to traverse on two wheels. Some people would suggest the drivers make things even more dangerous, but that's not an argument we're looking to get into here.
Birmingham runs into some of the same issues as Dallas. Growth has led to sprawl, but city planning has lagged behind in growth when it comes to bicycle and pedestrian safety. Again, a lack of bike lanes and useful paths across the city make it one of the least bike-friendly cities in the United States. Improvements might be on the horizon, but things have not moved as quickly as some cycling advocates would like.
Home of the Graceland, incredible blues music, and some of the greatest barbecue in the world-Memphis brings in visitors from all over the world. Unfortunately, it's not the best spot for attracting cyclists. Tough roads, more of that urban sprawl we've been talking about, and a seeming lack in improvement plans have led Memphis to make the list once again.
Florida doesn't fare well when it comes to biking and pedestrian safety. Multiple cities from the Sunshine State rank among the worst when it comes to safety for those who like to walk or pedal their way around town. Again, the reasons for this stem from rapid growth, which can be seen as a positive in many instances. The downside is that it has led to a lot of high-speed zones, heavy construction, and generally unsafe spots for anyone not in an automobile.
Bicycle Magazine sees Miami as moving in the right direction. They took the city off their Worst list and moved them to #44 on their Best list due to a range of improvements they've made to make the city safer for cyclists and pedestrians. However, there are still some spots in Miami considered to be some of the most dangerous in the country for riders and walkers.
Making Cities More Bike-Friendly
Miami has taken steps to improve their standing among cyclists out there, and it's a hope that some of the other cities on the list will follow suit:
"Miami has now adopted a Bicycle Master Plan—launching education initiatives, installing greenways and bike lanes, and even creating Bike Miami Days." (from Business Wire)
Donors in Dallas have pledged substantial amounts of money to make the city more bike-friendly, and bike lanes are on the way down there. These are just a few of the steps that can be taken to make things better on the roads for cyclists.
Until the changes come, be sure to check out Tips for Cycling in the 5 Least Bike-Friendly Cities.
Do you live in a bike-friendly area? What can be done to motivate a movement toward more bike- friendly cities?
SimplyLili is an environmental advocate and legal blogger. She helps manage over 20 attorney blogs. This article was written on behalf of Belt Law Firm: Personal injury attorneys with offices all across Alabama.
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