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10 Best Places for Cyclists in the USA

Posted by Dina Llabore on

10 Best Places for Cyclists in the USA
Article Courtesy of Oyama Electric Bikes

Everyone likes a list—especially when they’re on it and it’s a “good” list to be on. Two southern California cities recently found themselves on such a list—San Diego and Santa Monica—and the list in question is the “City Rating” from, a searchable ranking of the best places for bicycle riding in the country.

Santa Monica came in at #7 and San Diego came in at #9, out of more than 480 communities that were surveyed. Communities ranked ranged from large cities such as New York (population 8.46 million) and Los Angeles (population 3.9 million), to small towns such as Boulder Junction, Wisconsin (population 750) and Winthrop, Washington (population 385).

10 Best Places for Cyclists in the USA, the USA’s largest bike advocacy organization, developed the “PlacesForBikes City Ratings” system to define and measure great places for biking each year. They look at areas such as safe routes, cycling culture, number of accidents, community biking infrastructure, and more.

Surprisingly, the smaller cities weren’t necessarily the safer or better places for riding, as you might expect. Often, the smaller venues lacked the network of biking trails or biking culture found in larger communities.

The Criteria

People for Bikes’ scored all cities on a five-star system based on a global standard. Each of the five categories was weighted equally (20%) towards a city’s rating:
  • The RIDERSHIP score reflected how many people in a community ride bikes, either recreationally or for transportation.
  • The SAFETY score weighed fatalities and injuries of people on bikes, as well as those walking and driving. Perceptions of safety were also considered.
  • The NETWORK score evaluated the quality of the biking network and how completely it connects people to each other and local destinations using comfortable routes.
  • The REACH score determined how well a community’s low-stress network serves all members of the community, assessing differences in access and connectivity for traditionally underserved populations compared to the whole city.
  • The ACCELERATION score assessed how quickly a community is improving its biking infrastructure and how successful its encouragement programs are at getting people to ride.

10 Best Places for Cyclists in the USA

The Top Ten

Here are “People for Bikes 2018 Top 10 Best Places for Riding,” with scores (based on a five-star rating system) in parentheses. Of note, as pointed out in the article Surprises Among 2018 Most Bike-Friendly Cities is that not one city in the United States scored over 3.5 out of 5 stars, which shows the US cities still have a long way to go to become more bike-friendly when compared to other cities around the globe that scored closer to 5 stars.

  1. Fort Collins, Colorado (3.5)
  2. Wausau, Wisconsin (3.5)
  3. Boulder, Colorado (3.4)
  4. Portland, Oregon (3.3)
  5. Tucson, Arizona (3.3)
  6. Madison, Wisconsin (3.2)
  7. Santa Monica, California (3.2)
  8. Washington, D.C. (3.2)
  9. San Diego, California (3.2)
  10. New Orleans, Louisiana (3.1)

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