Our friends at People For Bikes “an industry coalition of bicycling suppliers and retailers”; who also happen to be our Colorado neighbors to the north (based in Boulder) have released their 2019 Places for Bikes city ratings.
This year, the PlacesForBikes team scored 510 U.S. cities based on five key areas: Ridership (how many people ride bikes?), Safety (how safe is it to ride bikes?), Network (how easy is it for people to get where they need to go?), Acceleration (how fast is the bike network expanding?) and Reach (how well does the network serve all neighborhoods in the community?).
The top 20 cities (overall ranking) are listed below:
Out of the 510 U.S Cities, Colorado is clearly well represented, with our neighbors to the north Boulder and Fort Collins taking the 1st and 2nd spots respectively. Our home city ranks 14th above our states’ capital, Denver ranked 18th, rounding out Colorado cities in the top 20
LINK TO FULL REPORT BELOW
There are many systems out there used to judge cities on how accepting they are bicycles. While many different publications rate cities, most of these ratings are based on the analysis done by People for Bikes and The League of American Bicyclists which is the organization responsible for granting bicycle friendly status for Communities, Businesses, and Universities. This is the case for the last years rating that Colorado Springs received from Bicycling Magazine (moving up from 66th in 2016 to 28th in 2018)
While the League has been around since the advent of bicycles, People for Bikes is a newcomer and the organization we will be focusing on in this article. Over the last few years People For Bikes has invested significantly in capabilities to process data in order to better analyze the bike-ability of cities throughout the United States.
The PlacesForBikes City Ratings are driven by a combination of nationally available data and locally gathered information. The goal of this approach is to qualitatively identify the best U.S. towns for bicycling, rewarding those that are improving the fastest.
These ratings are based on five factors:
Ridership – Safety – Network – Reach – Acceleration
Aside from publicly available data such as the American Community Survey and the US Census, P4B uses data gathered from their own sources. One of those sources is the City Snapshot. This is a survey done by city staff helping P4B understand progress each city is making on improving bicycle infrastructure and encouraging people to ride.
You may remember us sharing a link to the Community Survey this fall. This survey conducted by People For Bikes allows residents to add their local knowledge regarding how safe biking feels, whether it’s getting better, and about your favorite places to ride. This is one of the other factors that plays into the city ratings.
PlacesForBikes Bike Network Analysis
Another People For Bikes propritary tool that impacts the P4B ratings in the Bike Network Analysis (BNA). This is the tool they use to determine how bikeable a city is. The accuracy of the BNA is dependent on the information about roads, bike facilities and key destinations, and People for bikes relies on OpenStreetMap (OSM) for this data. P4B updated their BNA data in February, their most recent analysis of our bike network is available below.
2018 Bicycle Network Analysis
2019 Bicycle Network Analysis
OSM is an open source mapping service that anyone can update. Help ensure that Colorado Springs BNA is accurate by contributing to OpenStreetMap. Here is a link to two sources provided by People For Bikes that will give you guidance on updating and editing OpenStreetMaps.
Feel free to update OSM on your own, or if you’d like to be involved but need help please fill out our Contact Form and we will plan a BCS OpenStreetMap learning session.