Bicycling magazine has released their rating of the 50 most bicycle friendly cities (with a population of at least 100,000) in the country.
The magazine considered these factors in the ranking:
- segregated bike lanes
- municipal bike racks
- bike boulevards
- having the ear of the local government
- a vibrant and diverse bike culture
- smart, savvy bike shops
Minneapolis edged out Portland (#2) and won most bicycle friendly city.
Washington, DC, where I cut my teeth on a bicycle, was ranked number 13. I wrote about DC biking culture and infrastructure for Momentum magazine last year, but even in a year, a lot of dramatic improvements have been made.
When I was researching the story for Momentum, I organized a happy hour to get the feel of what average riders and advocates wanted to see changed to make the city better. The top four recommendations kept surfacing again and again:
- Impose a congestion/commuter tax on those who drive into the city from Virginia and Maryland. Since the population of Washington nearly doubles to a million during the work week, it is logical that those drivers who benefit from our roads ought to pay for them.
- Install cycle tracks (bike lanes) on all arterials and on all future construction.
- Initiate a widespread education campaign about the rules of the road, sharing, and how to be both a safe driver and rider; delivered through PSAs, driver education programs and public schools
- Complete the trails that are unfinished, repair those in disrepair, and begin construction on all others.
What elements do you consider important in your decision to ride, or to not ride, your bike?