Bike on! These are the best cities for bicyclists in 2021.
Over the past year, Americans have been biking at notably high levels. According to the BBC, the demand for bikes in 2020 skyrocketed, not just in the U.S., but internationally. Most gyms and fitness facilities shut down at the onset of the pandemic, and in turn, global bike sales surged as people sought out ways to exercise in a socially distant, COVID-safe manner.
Not only does biking provide health benefits such as increasing stamina and reducing chronic stress, but for many, it also has become a preferred mode of transportation. In cities where residents have been more reluctant to use public transit during the pandemic, bicycling is an increasingly popular transportation alternative. Environmentalists and seasoned cyclists alike are hopeful that this biking boom spells positive change for the future of biking in cities, including reduced carbon emissions from passenger vehicles and a higher precedent for citywide bicyclist safety regulations.
As the weather continues to warm, the number of bicyclists on the roads will rise. May is National Bike Month, and to honor it this year, the research team at Insurify selected the best city for bicyclists in each state. For bicyclists in these communities, their city’s dedication to cyclist safety and wellbeing is paramount to better, safer rides for all.
Selection Process for Insurify’s 2021 Best Biking Cities Awards
The data scientists at Insurify, a site to compare home insurance quotes, analyzed proprietary and public data to identify the most bike-friendly city in each state. Cities were ranked based on a composite score of factors such as overall bike friendliness, bike commuting prevalence, bike incidents (including crashes, theft, or other safety hazards), and DUI and passing violation rates.
Overall quality for bicyclists is from PeopleForBikes’ City Ratings index. PeopleForBikes, a nonprofit organization that works with federal, state, and local governments to enforce safe biking regulations, rated over 600 U.S. cities on a five-star scale for their commitment to the safety and wellbeing of the cyclist community. The percentage of commuters who bike in each city was gleaned from the U.S. Census Bureau.
The prevalence of bike incidents by city was gathered from Bikewise.org, a cyclist incident reporting site. Cities with lower rates of these incidents received a higher score.
Insurify’s data scientists referred to their database of over 4 million car insurance applications to determine citywide rates of DUIs and passing violations. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), vehicle non-occupants, including cyclists, make up 13% of DUI fatalities. Illegal passing additionally presents a danger for cyclists on the road, so cities with lower rates of these infractions scored higher in Insurify’s analysis.
States with insufficient municipal data (Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Hawaii, and West Virginia) were excluded from the analysis.
Best Bicycling Cities
As of 2021, these are the cities in each state that are the best for bicyclists. These cities have lower incidents and driving infraction rates involving bicyclists, higher volumes of cyclist commuters, and have been rated highly for overall bike-friendliness on a national scale.
Winners of Insurify’s 2021 Best Bicycling Cities Awards
Iowa: Iowa City
Minnesota: Maple Grove
Missouri: Lee’s Summit
Nebraska: Grand Island
Nevada: Las Vegas
New Hampshire: Nashua
New Jersey: Camden
New Mexico: Albuquerque
New York: Albany
North Carolina: Charlotte
North Dakota: Grand Forks
Oklahoma: Oklahoma City
Rhode Island: Cranston
South Carolina: Mount Pleasant
South Dakota: Rapid City
Wisconsin: La Crosse
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