When I first started out as a city planner and told my colleagues I couldn’t ride a bike, you would have thought I told them Jane Jacobs was a fraud. (I have since learned, but remain a hack on two wheels.) For many American cities, building out cycle-oriented infrastructure has become tantamount to progress itself. Bikes are quiet, clean, small, sustainable, make riders fitter, and connect cities in ways that can feel like teleportation. It’s no wonder cities are knitting bike lanes into their fabric like never before.
New York has built an average of 54 miles of bike lanes every year since 2007, while Chicago has added 27 miles per year since 2011. As more bikes hit the streets, more are arriving safely. According to a 2016 report from the National Association of City Transportation Officials, Chicago, Minneapolis, New York, Philadelphia, and Portland saw “the absolute number of cyclists killed or severely injured [decline] from 2007 to 2014, even as cycling rates soared.”
To identify the best biking cities in the country, we drew from a trio of rankings: The League of American Bicyclists award database, Bicycling Magazine’s annual 50 Best Bike Cities rankings, and People for Bikes' “Bike Network Analysis” (BNA) score. It’s never been a better time to be a cyclist in America -- and these cities are a big reason why.