Quantcast

Bike to Work Day: Is Your City Cycle-Friendly?

Adventure
Bike to Work Day Summer 2017. City of Fort Collins / John Robson / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Today is Bike to Work Day, and while that sounds deceivingly simple—you know, hop on a bike and ride to work—your city might not be the best place to make that commute. For instance, how safe is it? Are there designated lanes? Does your town support bike culture?

Luckily, there's a way to find out if you should leave your car keys or metro card at home today. The nonprofit PeopleForBikes launched a new database that rates the bike-ability of 480 cities in the U.S.


The rating system is based on five factors, as PeopleForBikes's website details:

  • The "Ridership" score reflects how many people in the community ride bikes for both recreation or transportation.
  • The "Safety" score considers fatalities and injuries of people on bikes as well as those walking and driving. Perceptions of safety are also given weight.
  • The "Network" score evaluates the quality of the bike network, in how completely it connects people to each other and local destinations using comfortable routes.
  • The "Reach" score determines how well a community's low-stress network serves all members of the community. It uses demographic data to understand differences in access and connectivity for traditionally underserved populations compared to the whole city.
  • Finally, the "Acceleration" score assesses how quickly a community is improving its biking infrastructure and how successful its encouragement programs are at getting people to ride.

That last factor is important. As PeopleForBikes staff writer Michael Andersen noted in a blog post, while there are already many "best bike cities" lists out there, this new system lets communities identify their strengths and weaknesses so they can make positive changes that encourage more cycling.

"What gets measured gets done," PeopleForBikes research director Jennifer Boldry, Ph.D., who spent three years developing the rating system, said in the blog post. "I would love if this were a tool for cities to measure where they are and track their progress."

Here are the top 10 cities in the system:

Fort Collins, Colorado—which features hundreds of miles of bike lanes, more bikes than cars in its Downtown, a bike share program and many bicycling non-profit organizations—topped the rankings.

"This is a great honor and one that shows how important cycling is to our community," Mayor Wade Troxell said in a statement to the Coloradoan. "Our amazing cyclists and cycling infrastructure helps to make Fort Collins a wonderful place to enjoy and safely travel by bicycle."

PeopleForBikes also revealed the top five most bike-friendly cities by size.

That said, even though today is Bike to Work Day, it's always a great idea to bust out that bike whenever you can.

"When people ride bikes, great things happen: they get happier, healthier, richer, more equal and more connected to their communities," Andersen pointed out.

"Great things happen to those communities, too, even for people who never bike: less pollution, higher-capacity roadways, better mass transit, lower health care premiums, and local economies that have more money to invest in themselves."

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Natural Resources Defense Council

By Emily Deanne

Shower shoes? Check. Extra-long sheets? Yep. Energy efficiency checklist? No worries — we've got you covered there. If you're one of the nation's 12.1 million full-time undergraduate college students, you no doubt have a lot to keep in mind as you head off to school. If you're reading this, climate change is probably one of them, and with one-third of students choosing to live on campus, dorm life can have a big impact on the health of our planet. In fact, the annual energy use of one typical dormitory room can generate as much greenhouse gas pollution as the tailpipe emissions of a car driven more than 156,000 miles.

Read More Show Less
Kokia drynarioides, commonly known as Hawaiian tree cotton, is a critically endangered species of flowering plant that is endemic to the Big Island of Hawaii. David Eickhoff / Wikipedia

By Lorraine Chow

Kokia drynarioides is a small but significant flowering tree endemic to Hawaii's dry forests. Native Hawaiians used its large, scarlet flowers to make lei. Its sap was used as dye for ropes and nets. Its bark was used medicinally to treat thrush.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Frederick Bass / Getty Images

States that invest heavily in renewable energy will generate billions of dollars in health benefits in the next decade instead of spending billions to take care of people getting sick from air pollution caused by burning fossil fuels, according to a new study from MIT and reported on by The Verge.

Read More Show Less
Aerial view of lava flows from the eruption of volcano Kilauea on Hawaii, May 2018. Frizi / iStock / Getty Images

Hawaii's Kilauea volcano could be gearing up for an eruption after a pond of water was discovered inside its summit crater for the first time in recorded history, according to the AP.

Read More Show Less
A couple works in their organic garden. kupicoo / E+ / Getty Images

By Kristin Ohlson

From where I stand inside the South Dakota cornfield I was visiting with entomologist and former USDA scientist Jonathan Lundgren, all the human-inflicted traumas to Earth seem far away. It isn't just that the corn is as high as an elephant's eye — are people singing that song again? — but that the field burgeons and buzzes and chirps with all sorts of other life, too.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
A competitor in action during the Drambuie World Ice Golf Championships in Uummannaq, Greenland on April 9, 2001. Michael Steele / Allsport / Getty Images

Greenland is open for business, but it's not for sale, Greenland's foreign minister Ane Lone Bagger told Reuters after hearing that President Donald Trump asked his advisers about the feasibility of buying the world's largest island.

Read More Show Less
AFP / Getty Images / S. Platt

Humanity faced its hottest month in at least 140 years in July, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said on Thursday. The finding confirms similar analysis provided by its EU counterparts.

Read More Show Less
Newly established oil palm plantation in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia. Rhett A. Butler / Mongabay

By Hans Nicholas Jong

Indonesia's president has made permanent a temporary moratorium on forest-clearing permits for plantations and logging.

It's a policy the government says has proven effective in curtailing deforestation, but whose apparent gains have been criticized by environmental activists as mere "propaganda."

Read More Show Less