North America's best cities for bicycling share one thing
in common: they have implemented a wide range of measures
that have made bicycling safe, convenient, and comfortable.
They have realized that there is no simple or single answer
to this question.
The best cities for bicycling have significant regional rails linked
to a network of major streets with striped bike lanes and signed
bike routes. They have fixed up their streets to provide a safe
and comfortable ride, and they have installed secure bike parking
to ensure your bike is still there when you come back to it. They
may also have reduced vehicle speeds and flows to make residential
roads more conducive to riding, and they may require new office
buildings to incorporate parking, showers and changing facilities.
Most likely these communities are also trying new ways to improve
conditions for bicyclists by redesigning intersections to give cyclists
priority, experimenting with colored bike lanes, or installing traffic
lights with a special bicycle logo.
All of these activities fall under the general heading of designing
communities for bicyclists and there is now a wealth of information
available to help communities follow the lead of cities such as
Portland, Ore., Davis, Calif., Seattle, Wash., Gainesville, Fla.,
Tucson, Ariz., and Madison, Wis.
Don't forget, however, that these communities probably also publish
a bike map, promote bicycling through events, teach bicycle safety
in schools, integrate bicycles into the transit system, and enforce
traffic laws that affect bicyclist safety. Information on these
other critical elements to making a community bicycle-friendly are
available elsewhere on this web site. In the following sections,
you will learn about the specific designs of on- and off-street
facilities that can make communities more bicycle-friendly.
Cities for Bicycling
In November, 2001, Bicycling magazine rated the best
cities for bicycling in North America. For the first
time, they split the cities into three categories: those
with a population of 200,000 to 500,000, 500,000 to
1 million, and 1 million or more. In addition, they chose one city, regardless of population as an overall winner.
Best Overall City:
Cities with a population between 200,000 and 500,000:
Cities with a population between 500,000 and 1 million:
3. San Francisco
Cities with a population of
1 million or more:
3. San Diego