Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Most Bikeable Cities in the US

In a recent post about DC, where I will be going on a date next weekend, I mentioned how the city's new bike-share program is the first of its kind in the country. Well, now I discover New York City is striping 200 miles of on-street bike lanes by 2009. Which left me with this thought - if you can bike safely in Manhattan, you can make any city bikeable. (Safely, however, is the operative word.)

According to the League of American Bicyclists, here are the top five bike-friendly cities in the US currently:

Portland, Oregon
Davis, California
Tucson, Arizona
Madison, Wisconsin
Boulder, Colorado

Notice how two of my Top 15 Geographical Crushes appear on this list? I did too. Portland and Boulder have just earned some bonus points.

Perhaps the best example of bike-friendliness, Portland has long been the trailblazer (pardon the pun) in this arena. Lance Armstrong says in the aforementioned article, "More people would be riding to work in this country, but access and safety are still a problem." He lauds Portland because "they build a mile of bike lane for every mile of road."

He might be right. According to Newsweek, Portland has over 270 miles of bike lanes, 40 bike shops and over 150 bike-related businesses. What's more, 16% of Portland residents commute on two wheels instead of four, and bike traffic over the city's four main bridges has increased 21% since 2006. All sounds great, right? Well, unfortunately, the surge in biking has also produced "pedal versus metal" road rage. Read the Newsweek article for a full account of recent altercations between drivers and bikers. I personally love the assault case where a bike lock was used as a weapon.

Next weekend, I hope to bike DC's beautiful C&O Canal trail. We'll see just how easy it is to rent my bike, not to mention get to the trail without bodily injury!


Robert J Miller said...

In my opinion, Fort Collins is more bike friendly than Boulder. Further, Fort Collins has a lower cost of living than Boulder. If you need more reasons to check out Fort Collins then see all of the fun I am having hiking and biking:

kris said...

not a fan of DC at all, but you can also rent those segway/people mover things there!