2015's Best Cities for Bikers


Bike CommutersFriday is National Bike to Work Day, an effort to get people out of their cars and on to 2 wheels. Assuming the weather cooperates, the day is a great opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors, get some exercise, and also ease roadway traffic.

However, depending on where you live, biking to work can be a major challenge. Indeed, part of the point of National Bike to Work Day is to raise awareness about the need for drivers to share roadways with cyclists, and the need for cities and towns to create bike lines and other safety measures to help cyclists.

An October report by the Governors Highway Safety Association found cyclist fatalities increased by 16% between 2010 and 2012, from 621 deaths to 722 deaths. The association found that the problem is particularly prevalent in urban settings.

The good news is that more communities are becoming “bicycle friendly.” The League of American Bicyclists, which awards a “Bicycle Friendly Community” designation to communities that meet certain cycling safety and accessibility benchmarks, found the number of people regularly commuting to work rose 105% in large cities with the “Bicycle Friendly” designation between 2000 and 2013.

Bicycle friendliness has also become a factor in real estate, as many workers seek to shorten their commutes when they buy a house. While cycling doesn’t necessarily shorten commuting time, it can significantly reduce stress, but only if the path to work is safe.

The real estate website Redfin has just released its 2015 rankings of the “Most Bikeable Cities” in the US. The site looked at 154 cities and more than 10,000 neighborhoods. The list is based on cities with populations of 300,000 or more.

“Many of my clients don’t own cars,” said Clayton Jirak, a Redfin agent in Chicago. “They search for condo buildings with dedicated, secure bike rooms in proximity to bike lanes and major trails around Chicago.”

Redfin’s ranking includes 4 components: bike lanes, hills, destinations and road connectivity, and the share of local commuters who get to work by bike. Those factors translate into a scale of 0-100, with 100 being the most bike-friendly.

Below are the Top 10 cities on Redfin’s list. Included with each city are the score (out of 100) it received from Redfin, the city’s population, and the percentage of commuters in the city who bike to work. The latter are based on American Community Survey data compiled by the League of American Bicyclists.
 


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