- Boulder, CO is the best city in America for biking, according to PlacesForBikes, a nationwide ranking from advocacy group PeopleForBikes.
- Cities' scores are based on five key areas: ridership, safety, network (how easy it is for people to get to their destination), acceleration (how quickly the bike network is expanding) and reach (how well the bike network serves all neighborhoods). The ratings are designed to give cities insight into the types of investments that should be made to build complete, connected bike networks.
- Boulder bumped last year's winner, Fort Collins, CO, to the number two spot. The rest of the top 10 cities are Eugene, OR; Manhattan, NY; Arlington, VA; Lawrence, KS; Brooklyn, NY; Portland, OR; Madison, WI; and Minneapolis. PeopleForBikes evaluated more than 500 cities for the ranking.
PlacesForBikes takes a data-driven approach to examining each city's bike network. The bicycling advocacy group uses open-source maps, city planning information and community surveys to gather data, and it performs 184 calculations per city to devise individual scores and those for each category.
Boulder's highest individual category score is 4.1 in the network category and lowest in the reach category, at 2.9. Its overall score is 3.7, closely followed by Fort Collins at 3.6 and Eugene at 3.4. The ratings are on a five-point scale. Last year, only 13 cities scored a 3 or higher, compared with 28 this year. While this could signal improvement in cities' bike networks, it also could be due to the larger sample size of more than 510 cities this year compared with 480 last year.
The categorical breakdown of the ratings is a good way for cities to identify and target specific areas for bike network improvements. Solid bike infrastructure is becoming more important as cities' bike-share programs expand, as recently announced in Philadelphia, Chicago, New York and Minneapolis.
Improving bike infrastructure also could entice more people to bike, which helps cities' push to get more people out of personal vehicles and instead using low- or no-emissions forms of transportation.