There has been a lot of great news in the bicycle industry recently - one of the most notable is the big uptake in ridership that emerged during the COVID-19 pandemic. The sport attracted millions of new riders, and existing riders starting riding even more - all fantastic for the bike community.
Dallas ranks 50th out of 50 large cities for bicycling
All those new riders need safe places to ride, however, and we recently received some unpleasant data - Dallas, Texas (our hometown) scored 50th - the worst possible score - on a list of 50 American cities, rated by bike friendliness. Yikes. That wasn't pleasant reading.
Dallas does have some great opportunities for riding. Our offices are near to the well-known Katy Trail, for example. Overall, though, Dallas lacks a wide network of bicycle infrastructure, and also has significantly fewer bike shops per-capita than other cities on the list.
What are the most bicycle-friendly cities?
Some of the top-rated cities are predictable and have repeatedly made lists of the top places to ride - think Portland, Oregon; Minneapolis, Minnesota, both communities that have made heavy investments in bicycle infrastructure and have strong ridership. Others might not be what you expect. I was surprised to see Sacramento in the top ten, for example, but it shows that cities who commit to improving bicycling can quickly make progress.
The rankings include factors like how bikeable the streets are, the percentage of workers commuting by bike, number of bike shops, and the amount of bicycle trails in town. Joining Dallas on the"worst" list are Birmingham, Alabama and Atlanta, Georgia.
The top 10 bike-friendly large cities are:
- San Francisco
- San Jose
- Washington DC
- Salt Lake City
New York, New York, which has made significant improvements and investments in bicycle programs, including city-wide bike share programs, comes in at 11.
At Bike.com, we know that having safe, accessible places to ride is key to allowing new riders to get started, and we're disappointed at the ranking of Dallas (as well as other Texas cities like Houston and San Antonio) on this list.
What can be done at a local level?
You don't have to be a professional advocate for your actions to have an impact:
- Let your local elected officials know that bicycle infrastructure is important to you. We've reached out to a connection on the Dallas bike and pedestrian team, for example, to ask how we can change things.
- Mentor new riders - show them the best routes for riding, how to care for their bikes, and how to meet others who ride.
- The most simple thing you can do? Keep riding.
Something simple we can do at Bike.com is to faciliate local group rides. We'd love to show you some of the best places to ride in Dallas and meet local riders - watch this space for info on our rides coming soon.