The Most Bike-Friendly Cities In The U.S.
For many people across the country, including many ARRIS employees, biking isn’t only a great way to exercise; it’s also a fun activity and a smart way to get around. Here at ARRIS, we’re all about bikes every day, both in our personal and professional time (the team recently celebrated Bike-To-Work Day on June 3, a national event we look forward to each year). We also work with bike brands, helping to level up bicycles in many ways, from lightweighting to performance to sustainability.
As the bicycle and cycling industry continues to evolve, we wanted to find out which cities are the best for biking in the United States. Using several factors, including air quality and bicyclist fatality rates, we conducted a weighted analysis to determine America’s most bike-friendly cities. We also surveyed more than 1,000 people to learn more about their biking habits and the top qualities they look for in a bike.
Most & Least Bike-Friendly Cities
The number one city in the country for biking is… San Francisco! Whether you’re taking a ride across the Golden Gate Bridge or heading to work, you’re likely to see others enjoying the California weather on two wheels. It’s no surprise as another West Coast city comes in at number two: Sacramento (and how cool is that because our headquarters is nestled right in between these two bikeable places). Rounding out the top five cities are Tucson, Boston, and El Paso. When it comes to the worst cities for biking, Houston takes the top spot. Indianapolis comes in second, followed by Louisville, Atlanta, and Memphis.
Best Biking Cities Ranked
To find the best biking cities across the country, we analyzed cities with a population of more than 500,000 that have a bike sharing system like Chicago’s Divvy bikes or Lime bikes. We then used the following factors to conduct a weighted analysis: air quality, bicyclist fatality rates, bicyclist commuter statistics, average rainfall, and average sunshine.
San Francisco earned perfect scores in every category except for average sunshine. Sacramento followed thanks to its good air quality, high bicyclist commuter rates, and low average rainfall. Tucson ranked third among the cities with a high commuter rate and average sunshine.
Among those at the bottom of the list, Houston ranked worst due to poor air quality and bicyclist safety. Additionally, Indianapolis’ lack of commuter cyclists and low sunshine landed it in 29th place. Louisville came in at third worst for biking due to its lack of commuters, high rainfall, poor air quality, and low sunshine.
Biking Habits Across America + Top Bike Qualities
Biking is a growing industry, and 41% of Americans say they bike outdoors at least once every two weeks. In fact, 16% of people report biking multiple times a week. When it comes to what kind of rides Americans are taking, the top answer was a leisurely ride (78%), followed by 1 in 10 who say they use biking as transportation to commute or go to other places. Other answers included mountain biking and long-distance bike rides. Like with any activity or sport, safety is a concern, and only 50% of Americans say they wear a helmet when biking.
Before buying or even renting a bike, many people look for certain qualities. The top qualities people look for in outdoor bikes are a comfortable seat (71%), a lightweight bicycle (67%), and a good color scheme (28%).
Nearly 1 in 10 (9%) say they bought an outdoor bike since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020 and 14% say they plan on buying a bike in the next year.
Methodology + Media: In order to be included in the analysis the cities needed to have a population of more than 500,000 and have a bike sharing system in place. To determine our ranking, we compared the 30 cities across five key metrics: average monthly air quality index, bicyclist fatalities per 100,000 people, bike to work percentage per 100,000 people, average annual rainfall in inches, and average annual possible sunshine. We graded each metric on a 100-point scale. To determine an overall score, each city’s weighted average was calculated across all metrics. San Jose, CA was included in the initial analysis, but due to lack of NOAA weather data, the city was taken out of the rankings.
Sources: U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration… We also conducted a survey of 1,057 people from across the U.S. The average age was 37 years old with 48% identifying as male, 49% as female, and 3% as non-binary or transgender.
Fair Use: When using this data and research, please attribute by linking to this study and citing ARRIS Composites (arriscomposites.com).
Recent Q&A: Check out our frequently asked questions about Additive Molding for bikes (read FAQ blog post).
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