When it comes to riding your bike enjoyably, some states and cities are far more conducive to biking than others. While there are many bike-friendly cities in the US, there are also many that you might decide you never want to ride in.
Check out this list of the top 10 bike-friendly cities in the US!
- San Francisco, California
San Francisco can be sunny and warm. This means you can ride your bike almost any time of year and not have to worry too much about the weather making it hard. While they do have some chilly nights and warm days, the temperatures primarily sit within 30-80 degrees all year.
This city has bike lanes and riding laws that are friendly for bikers. Biking is becoming more popular to get around the city; approximately 4% of commuters choose to ride their bike to and from work.
Like San Francisco, Oakland is also a great fit for bikers. The weather is almost always nice, so you could potentially ride your bike almost every day if you wanted to. They don’t have quite as many bikers commuting daily, but around 3% of workers choose to ride their bikes.
They do have bike lanes and state bike laws that are helpful for biking needs.
Portland must be doing something right – of all of the cities reviewed, they have the highest number of commuters that ride to work. In Portland, slightly over 5% of commuters ride their bikes. This is the highest percentage across the US.
This is an interesting perspective because Portland is actually known for having a lot of rainy days. Bikers must just pack up and rely on their ponchos or timing to keep them dry!
Portland also has a variety of bike lanes throughout the city, as well as several trails and other fun places to ride.
Denver – and other parts of Colorado – can be really fun for biking. Denver offers tourists and citizens an extensive pathway of bike lanes, with more than 9 miles of bike lanes scattered throughout the city.
Unfortunately, despite the bike lanes, Denver does tend to have a fairly high number of fatalities, with an average of about 2 each year. Denver can get quite a bit of snow and may be cold in the winter months but the bike lanes are helpful. Around 2.5% of commuters ride their bikes.
Boston almost encourages bike riding. While they sometimes do have bad weather, the city is set up in a way that biking around can be a lot of fun. The state of Massachusetts has a reputation for being one of the most bike-friendly states. They have biking laws and plenty of lanes in place.
If you’re lucky, you might even be able to find some interesting bike events in the city at different times throughout the year. Only about 2.5% of commuters in Boston bike to work, primarily because of drivers in the city.
When the weather is nice, Minneapolis is a great place for biking. This city has a massive biking setup, with more than 42 miles of protected bicycle lanes to keep the cyclists as safe as possible.
The downfall is that the winter months can be too cold and snowy for riding. However, outside of that timeframe, people really enjoy riding in the area. There are also plenty of trails to enjoy. Minneapolis has about 4% of commuters who ride their bikes to work.
This one might surprise you. Seattle is yet another city known for its rainfall averages. They get rain a good portion of the year, so bikers just have to time their rides or dress for the weather.
However, what really sets Seattle apart is that they have around 12 miles of protected bike lanes in the city, providing plenty of safety for those who do choose to ride.
St. Paul is one of the smaller cities on our list. Minnesota is very encouraging to the biking industry and they take a lot of action to make the streets welcoming to bikers. Considering the size, St. Paul has a whopping 9+ miles of bike lanes to enjoy.
That’s not even covering the trails and parks that you can enjoy. St. Paul has one of the lower cyclist accident rates compared to other cities. However, they can face cold weather in the wintertime that might affect biking.
Irvine is another California city. Clearly, California knows a little something about welcoming cyclists in the state. Of course, their awesome weather probably also has a little something to do with that!
Irvine gets very few days of rain or bad weather so people can potentially ride almost all year long. Sadly, they do have about 2 cycling fatalities each year, which does hurt their ranking just a bit.
Finally, Washington, DC has both good and bad points when it comes to bicycling. On one hand, they have a lot of biking space and a high number of commuters who choose to ride to work. On the downside, they do have 1-2 fatalities for bikers each year, which is on the high side.
DC offers about 12 miles of biking lanes throughout the city; it’s just that not all drivers are mindful. Nearly 4% of commuters choose to bike to work.
When you look at all the details, you will notice that a number of the cities mentioned fall in the Western part of the US. For some of these, it’s because they have gorgeous weather all of the time. For others, it’s because they clearly made the effort to bring their cyclists biking lanes.
Even some of the rainy cities fall high on the list, which is primarily because of the miles of biking lanes that they have available. This really does set them apart.
Overall, more cities really need to jump on board with adding in a greater number of biking lanes. There are many pros to commuting on a bike, but it’s much safer with biking routes and lanes to take advantage of.
If you’re wondering why NYC didn’t make our top 10 list, it’s because they have a high number of fatalities for cyclists. The city has 125+ biking miles, but the traffic doesn’t always respect biking lanes and laws when you look at the fatality numbers.
If you’re wondering just how we selected these top 10 cities, most of the choices were based on how many commuters ride their bikes, but we also took into account the miles of biking lanes and the number of biking fatalities.
Here are some of the data points we reviewed:
- How many people bike to work? This is a good indicator of whether or not the city is set up for cyclists.
- How many miles of biking lanes does the city have for cyclists?
- What is the weather like? Does the weather prevent people from riding?
- Are there a high number of biking fatalities within the city?
We took all of these points and combined them together to make our final decisions.
You can ride your bike anywhere that you like. Most cities have some form of biking trails that you can enjoy, and you can find cycling events all throughout the US. If you’re looking for cities that have the best setup for cycling, these are our top 10 picks for bike-friendly cities in the US.