Published on February 27th, 2013 | by Cynthia Shahan


36 U.S. Cities Ranked On Their Bikeability

February 27th, 2013 by  

This article was originally published on Bikocity:

bike-trail-florida-nokomisI get lost in a time warp playing with this bike score map. What a pleasant diversion and a bit of fun after being outside on my bike for hours this evening. The map is interesting and useful. Especially diverse and informative are the comments at the side of the scoring of a city. Those comments vary as we bikers vary, so many different styles — one person happy, another not so much, with more complaints and needs not yet met.

Yes, we have some great winners in the Walk Score rankings of the “Bikeability of Every Address in 36 Cities.” I expected much of what I found; however, let’s really applaud those Minneapolis bikers for leading the country. Like our Danish role models, cold does not change their passion for biking, and the rest of us are trailing behind.

Minneapolis top bicycle city.

Walk Score published it bikeability rankings last spring, but they were only at the citywide level. You can also plug in your address, and come up with a custom rating for your own address with Walk Score. By using an algorithm that takes into account factors such as bike infrastructure, topography, and the number of cyclists on the streets, Walk Score has released “Bike Scores” for addresses in 25 American cities and 11 Canadian cities.

Walk Score’s first 25 bike-scored U.S. cities include the top 10 vote-getters, the top 10 most bikeable cities they had scored this spring, and five others selected for mysterious reasons.

The full list is:

  • Cincinnati = Bike Score 37
  • Austin = Bike Score 45
  • Pittsburgh = Bike Score 39
  • Philadelphia = Bike Score 68
  • Miami = Bike Score 57
  • Oakland = Bike Score 57
  • Houston = Bike Score 49
  • Los Angeles = Bike Score 54
  • Eugene = Bike Score 75
  • San Diego = Bike Score 48
  • Ann Arbor =Bike Score 76
  • Boulder = Bike Score 86
  • Fort Collins = Bike Score 78
  • Tempe = Bike Score 75
  • Tyler = Bike Score 38
  • Minneapolis = Bike Score 79
  • Portland = Bike Score 70
  • San Francisco = Bike Score 70
  • Boston = Bike Score 68
  • Madison = Bike Score 67
  • Washington, DC = Bike Score 65
  • Seattle = Bike Score 64
  • Tucson = Bike Score 64
  • New York = Bike Score 62
  • Chicago = Bike Score 62

Here are some major landmarks for some extra fun: the US Capitol got a Bike Score of 89, Philadelphia’s Liberty Bell got a Bike Score of 96, and UCLA got a Bike Score of 55.

Image Credits: Minneapolis bicyclists by ibikempls (some rights reserved); Liberty bike trail in Florida by Cynthia Shahan

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About the Author

is a Mother, an Organic Farmer, Licensed Acupuncturist, Anthropology Studies, and mother of four unconditionally loving spirits, teachers, and environmentally conscious beings who have lit the way for me for decades.

  • susannaschick

    that’s ridiculous!!! What does a walk score org even know about cycling? the League of American Bicyclists has completely different answers… My only complaint with their rankings is they don’t differentiate by population. It’s a lot easier to make a small town bicycle friendly than a major metropolis. Some of the towns in the top 10 have fewer inhabitants than my apartment building!

  • Otis11

    IDK that those scores are that accurate – Austin is MUCH more bike-able that Houston if they’re talking about the Texas cities…

    • Yikes, just noticed that. How the heck could Houston rank above Austin? Well, really, how is Austin’s rank so low is the real question? Does it just have a nice center or university area and then sprawl out uncontrollably like the rest of the South?

      • Otis11

        Ah, I mean most of the city itself is VERY bike-able, especially downtown, the University area and even North. If you look at google maps – everywhere from the river through downtown and up to, say 40th or 50th street and west of I35 is highly bike-able, I’ve never tried to bike much further than that though purely because I’ve never had a need so maybe that’s where it ends? Would be surprised though.

        As for Houston – West Houston suburbs are also HIGHLY bike-able, but I would NEVER even consider biking downtown in the city itself… unless it has changed drastically in the last 3 years (which is possible).

        Even North/East Dallas is more bikeable than Houston – while I wouldn’t hold it up as an example to look at, it’s definitely bike-able. I never once felt unsafe biking it, but it did have limited options.(They are working on that though)

        Looking at the list more in detail, I see even more that surprises me – Los Angeles at 54? I biked in LA once before I determined I was never doing it again. Except on the paths along Venice Beach – those are gorgeous! Unfortunately they only make up a very limited path.

        • Interesting info. This all makes me very interested in digging into Walk Score’s parameters again, or even chatting with someone there.

          Regarding LA: i have heard some people say it’s actually far more bikeable than assumed. but, again, imagine it depends on where you bike. also, i know the Mayor there has been working hard to improve bikeability in the city — if i recall correctly, he had a near-death experience biking, and has made it a core focus of his work there. his work has likely had a significant influence on the score.

          • Otis11

            Yeah, my experiences have been in limited areas of each city (where I lived), so maybe my perception is skewed, but I’m still very surprised about some of the list. And things could have changed, been 2 years since I lived in LA… so who knows.

            One that I’m not surprised about in the least though – Tempe. Very bike-able from my experience, and rated as such. And with my limited experience with Boulder and Seattle I’d also have to agree with those scores.

            I’d also be interested to see where Indianapolis ranked. I didn’t try riding a bike, but given how incredibly walkable it was, it would be shocked if it wasn’t among the top of the list.

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