Cities with The Best Bike Scores? Head West


Clint Copulos

Like to bike to the office? The most bikeable markets for 2019 according to Walk Score:

  • Minneapolis — Bike Score 81.9
    A biker’s paradise, surrounded by many lakes and the banks of the Mississippi River. Its “Nice Ride” bike program offers more than 60 kiosks dedicated to bicycle sharing. The Chain of Lakes is connected by 34 miles of dedicated bike lanes, as well as running and walking paths. The city has a strong network of buses, and commuter and light rail, along with a highly educated population. Largest employers: the University of Minnesota, Target and Wells Fargo.
  • Portland — Bike Score 81.2
    Largely considered to be the most walking/biking/public-transit-friendly city on the West Coast. It’s a great place for tech and design startups, with a foodie-friendly restaurant scene. Most neighborhoods are intensely walkable, with food-cart pods, supermarkets, movie theatres and cafes.
  • Chicago — Bike Score 71.5
    A great American city with a great American, walkable downtown, connected by very dependable public transportation. Divvy, Chicago’s bike share program, is one of the largest and most successful in North America. The city’s mostly flat terrain makes it favorable for biking.
    Largest employers: Boeing, McDonalds (corporate headquarters), and Kraft Foods. It’s the third-largest American city after New York and Los Angeles.
  • Denver — Bike Score 71.3
    Also called the Mile-High City, it’s amazing environment makes bike riding an unforgettable experience. Also helping to keep the bike score high is the city’s flat landscape. The RTD light rail runs through the downtown, and there are several express lines to Denver International Airport.
  • San Francisco — Bike Score 70.7
    Stating the obvious: lots of hills! But easy to get around, and amazing views. Riding a bike here will easily help you burn calories and possibly give you the strongest legs in the nation. Silicon Valley is near enough that you can work there and still live in the city (in fact, it’s an easy commute via CalTrain). The city is a magnet for high-tech jobs. Airbnb, Craigslist, Twitter, Yelp and many others are headquartered here.

 

Walk Score uses four equally weighted criteria for evaluation:

  • Bike lanes: this is based on street infrastructure, which includes all on-and-off street bike lanes and paths but does not include bike parking and bike sharing.
  • Destinations and road connectivity: a modified version of Walk Score is used, which measures the network distances to a set of amenities. It then calculates connectivity metrics, such as average block length and intersection density.
  • Bike commuting mode share: basically, more bikers on the road mean “safety in numbers,” and that makes drivers more aware of them. Also, more drivers in these cities have the experience of biking as well as auto driving. The more people in the community who bike mean a stronger chance that you will bike too. Hence, the score.

 

Compare the scores here:

  • 90-100: Biker’s Paradise – Daily errands can be accomplished on a bike.
  • 70-89: Very Bikeable – Biking is convenient for most trips.
  • 50-69: Bikeable – Some bike infrastructure.
  • 0-49: Somewhat Bikeable – Minimal bike infrastructure.

 

Fun facts involving a strong biking community (source: Bikes Belong):

  • $10 is saved each day by bike commuting ten miles.
  • Bike riding reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke by 50 percent.
  • One pound of CO2 is saved for every mile pedaled.
  • It costs $8,000 a year to own a car.

 

Learn more about Walk Score here.

 

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Clint Copulos is a senior vice president and asset manager for KBS, responsible for managing over $2.4 million square feet in Seattle, Portland and Denver.