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 two national nonprofit organizations as is the case for the recent rating Colorado Springs received from Bicycling Magazine (moving up from 66th in 2016 to 28th in 2018)
the first organization in the US advocating for bicyclist’s rights which included being the first organization to advocate for paved roads.
The League is also the organization responsible for granting bicycle friendly status for Communities, Businesses, and Universities. They are the group that granted Colorado Springs a Silver Bicycle friendly rating in 2017 – View the COS BFB Score Card here
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.
While some of data below may look sobering, it’s important to note that People For Bikes updates this information every year. The more our infrastructure improves and the more that the is data is updated to truly reflect our environment, the more our rating will improve.
Below are two ways that you can help improve the ratings by adding your local knowledge and opinions
How Can you Help?
This is an easy way that almost anybody can improve these city ratings. Add your local knowledge regarding how safe biking feels, whether it’s getting better, and about your favorite places to ride. Click the link below to take the 5 minute survey.
PlacesForBikes Bike Network Analysis
This is another way you can make an impact on the P4B ratings while improving data quality. Now, this is where the nerdier, more map focused, among us may have their interest piqued. 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.
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.