Skip to Content
Streetsblog New York City home
Streetsblog New York City home
Log In
Bicycling

A New Way to Rank America’s Best Cities for Bicycling

A new ranking of America's top cities for bicycling, courtesy of the bike industry-funded advocacy organization PeopleForBikes, has a slightly different take on the usual suspects.

Fort Collins, Colorado, gets the top spot in the new ranking, while Portland scored the highest among large cities. No surprises there.

But Tucson and San Diego landed in the top five among large cities, ranking ahead of Minneapolis, Seattle, and San Francisco, which is a bit of a curveball.

And PeopleForBikes stresses that even America's best bicycling cities leave a lot to be desired. Nowhere ranked higher than a three on the organization's five-point scale.

People for Bikes new ranking of top biking cities gives Fort Collins, Colorado, the top honors.
false

The new PeopleForBikes rating system attempts to ground the results in hard metrics. It's based on several spatial and quantitative factors, including the availability of high-quality bike infrastructure, traffic injury rates, and how much people bike.

Because the ratings also take recent public investments in cycling into account, PeopleForBikes expects them to be volatile.

"It rewards cities not just for what they did 20 years ago, but also what they’re doing right now," Michael Andersen writes at the PeopleForBikes' blog. "As a result, these ratings will change. Cities will move both up and down."

top-5-by-city-size
false

The ranking formula also assesses cycling levels by looking at how much people bike within concentric zones emanating from the city center. That helps to control for city size, meaning cities with a large geographic area like Austin won't be inherently disadvantaged versus cities with tighter boundaries.

While the rankings only include American cities, they're also intended to hold the U.S. up against the world's best places for biking. No city received more than three stars out of a potential five-star rating.

"As much as it might hurt not to have any superstars, that’s honest," PeopleForBikes President Tim Blumenthal told Andersen.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog New York City

New York City Roadway Dining at Risk of Dramatic Decline As Deadline Looms

Fewer than two dozen restaurants are in the pipeline for roadside seating, according to public records.

July 12, 2024

Opinion: Congestion Pricing Is A Compromise

Alternatives paths to cut congestion and pollution and fund the MTA make congestion tolls look like a cheap parlor trick.

July 12, 2024

Friday’s Headlines: Department of Victim Blaming Edition

Traffic deaths in the city are on pace to reach their highest number since at least 2013 — and DOT is reportedly blaming "jaywalking." Plus more news.

July 12, 2024

‘Suburban’ Queens Stalwarts Take Hard Line Against Housing — To Rest of City’s Detriment

“That's what they bought in the suburbs for, that's why they raised their family in the suburbs," said Council Member Joann Ariola, whose district contains 14 subway stations.

July 11, 2024

DOT Seeks New Camera Enforcement Contract to Better Catch Obscured License Plates

The city's current contractor has let hundreds of thousands of reckless drivers off the hook.

July 11, 2024
See all posts