All posts in “bike share”

Minneapolis Tops San Francisco, Portland as Most Bikeable City of 2015

Bike Score Now Available for More Than 150 U.S. Cities

Minneapolis is the most bikeable city in the U.S. in 2015. With a Bike Score of 81.3, Minneapolis has a strong lead over San Francisco (75.1) and Portland (72.0).

In celebration of National Bike Month, we’ve updated and expanded our Bike Score ranking to a total of 154 U.S. cities and more than 10,000 neighborhoods. Below we rank the 20 most bikeable cities with populations of 300,000 or more.

Bike Score Ranking of Large U.S. Cities

Rank City Bike Score
1 Minneapolis, MN 81.3
2 San Francisco, CA 75.1
3 Portland, OR 72.0
4 Denver, CO 71.3
5 Boston, MA 70.3
6 Chicago, IL 70.2
7 Washington, D.C. 69.5
8 Sacramento, CA 68.9
9 Tucson, AZ 67.9
10 Philadelphia, PA 67.5
11 Long Beach, CA 66.4
12 New York, NY 65.1
13 Seattle, WA 63.0
14 Oakland, CA 60.9
15 Aurora, CO 60.8
16 New Orleans, LA 60.1
17 Miami, FL 59.7
18 Albuquerque, NM 59.6
19 Mesa, AZ 58.5
20 Santa Ana, CA 57.1

“Biking is central to the healthy Minneapolis lifestyle and to a lot of people’s decisions about where to live in and around the city,” said James Garry, a Redfin agent and avid biker in Minneapolis. “In the past year, several of my clients have chosen to buy smaller houses in South Minneapolis rather than larger, similarly priced ones in the suburbs, simply so they could bike to work during the week and around Lake Harriet on weekends.”

Most Bikeable Cities of 2015

More Bike Scores!

A handful of smaller cities didn’t make the list but deserve recognition. All college towns, they boast some of the country’s highest Bike Scores:

Bike Score’s expansion means people now will be able to search for bikeable places to live (and visit) in more than 30 new cities, including Providence, RI (66.9), Baltimore (56.1), Detroit (55.0) and Fort Lauderdale (53.6). Many thanks to the local government officials in the newly added cities for providing the data used to compute the scores.

Better Infrastructure, Better Bike Scores

Thanks to investments in infrastructure such as protected bike lanes and networks of bike paths, several cities saw big increases in their Bike Scores since the 2013 ranking. On average, cities that ranked in the top 20 saw an increase of more than two Bike Score points. Chicago’s Bike Score increased by almost nine full points, from 61.5 in 2013 to 70.2 today. In the past two years, the Chicago Department of Transportation has launched and grown the Divvy bike share system and expanded its on-street bike network to include more than 225 miles of bike lanes and routes. Expect the city’s score to climb in the next five years as Mayor Emanuel’s Chicago Streets for Cycling Plan 2020 includes completion of a 645-mile network of on-street bikeways by 2020. Many Chicagoans are already considering bike-friendliness when choosing a place to live.

“Many of my clients don’t own cars,” said Clayton Jirak, a Redfin agent and cycling proponent in Chicago. “They search for condo buildings with dedicated, secure bike rooms in proximity to bike lanes and major trails around Chicago. Our diverse transportation options have made Chicagoans less auto-centric and created a more bike-friendly city.”

In San Francisco too, cyclists have seen more protected bike lanes added over the past couple years, reflected in a five-point Bike Score increase from 70.0 in 2013 to 75.1 today. And there are more to come, as the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) last month announced its commitment to start construction on more than 24 miles of bike infrastructure improvements.

Looking for a good place to ride a bike? Click here for our complete ranking of more than 150 cities and 10,000 neighborhoods. If you’re looking to move to a more bikeable place, Redfin offers Bike Score information about homes for sale across the U.S. Renters can search apartments by commute time on Walk Score and find places to live within an easy bike ride to work.

Bike Score measures whether a location is good and safe for biking on a scale from 0 – 100 based on four equally weighted components:

  • Bike lanes
  • Hills
  • Destinations and road connectivity
  • Share of local workers’ commutes traveled by bicycle

Bike Share System Tips

Guest post by Duncan Hurd, managing editor of Momentum Mag

We hadn’t planned on biking that morning in Montreal, QC. As my partner and I were walking to meet friends we couldn’t help but notice BIXI bike share stations along the way. At the first station, we used the poster-sized map to make sure we were walking in the right direction. At the second station, we paused to read the instructions and take a closer look at the 3-speed, boomerang-shaped bicycles. Once we reached a third station we decided to swipe a credit card, release two bicycles and pedal away.

Bike Share photo by Kathleen WilkerThere are currently more than 300 bicycle share systems in operation around the world. New York City plans to launch North America’s largest system—with 7,000 bikes spread across 400+ stations—in March 2013. Los Angeles is also developing bike shares.

Each city’s bike share system may vary by pricing and membership rules, but most are intended for users to make short trips between stations. Swipe a credit card or membership key and bike share systems provide quick and convenient transportation for trips that may otherwise require a longer walk, transit or taxicab.

Ever used a bike share system before? Unsure if the one in your city is right for you? Here are four tips to get the most out of bike shares:

1. Commute Partly or Fully by Bike Share

Bike share systems are often intended for commuters and you’ll find stations conveniently located at or near transit hubs. This means you can use bike share to get to public transit as well as get from a transit station to within a short walk of your destination. Often, cities offer bike share memberships at discounted rates to transit pass holders. By making all or part of your commute by bike share you can get to your destination faster and save money.

2. Explore a New City by Bike Share

There’s no better way to get to know a city than by bicycle. Many bike share systems offer short-term memberships of 24-72 hours that are perfect for tourists. You can use the maps provided by most systems to plan your route from station to station and dock your bike when you’ve found a place you’d like to explore on foot. Note: Keeping a bike out of a dock for longer than 30 minutes may mean increased user fees, so plan for short trips between stations and not a meandering route around the city in one go.

3. Do One-Way Trips Quickly

Does the forecast call for rain later in the day? Are you heading out to an event where you intend to drink? Since bike share systems allow you to return a bicycle to any station, you can get to your destination by bike and then choose to take transit or a taxi home. I’ll often use bike share for one-way errands including riding to the shop where my day-to-day bicycle is being repaired.

4. Work Out by Bike Share

While I’ve read of competitors bringing bike share bicycles to triathlons and cyclo-cross events, these rides aren’t intended for intense physical work-outs. However, by making more of your trips by bike—even short ones—you can start to see some improvements to your health over time. Bike share can also help you mix up your regular work-out routine. Take bike share to a gym location further away or dock your bike in a different neighborhood and jog home. Most bike shares also have baskets allowing you to carry your gym clothes.

New: Bike Shares Now on Walk Score

As of December 18, 2012, Walk Score mapped nearly 1,600 locations of bike shares across North America. Search for any address in these cities and find bike share locations listed as one of the main categories: Boston, Denver, Minneapolis, New York, Houston, Washington, D.C., Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, Broward, Charlotte, Des Moines, Kailua, Kansas City, Madison, Nashville, Omaha, San Antonio and Spartanburg.

Duncan Hurd is managing editor of Momentum Mag, an independent media company that promotes, encourages and inspires “Smart Living by Bike.” He lives in Toronto, Canada and believes that every ride is a group ride, even if those around him don’t know it yet. Subscribe to Momentum Mag’s free newsletter.


Photo: Kathleen Wilker