People who love traveling with their bikes, or those who prefer to explore new places afoot rather than driving or on a tour bus, may be interested in some of the cities that have been designated as safest for cyclists and pedestrians.
Some of the criteria used for this list included:
- How many people in town ride bikes?
- How safe is biking?
- How easy can people get around on foot or a bike?
- How extensive is the network of footpaths and bike trails, and is it growing?
- How effectively can pedestrians and cyclists access different neighborhoods in the community?
Accidents can still happen even if you’re walking or biking through a “safe” city. Pay attention to your surroundings, wear a helmet on a bike or scooter, and if you get hurt in a collision, always call 911 and seek representation from a reliable personal injury lawyer.
1. Boulder, CO
Boulder is a college town and centers around healthy living, including whole foods, green living, and of course, biking and walking. Boulder has more than 300 miles of designated bike lanes and even more connectivity on dirt trails and roads.
The city also rents “cruisers” for people without bikes and has vending machines placed throughout the city for people to purchase biking accessories.
2. Fort Collins, CO
This city held the #1 spot for the most bike-friendly town in 2018 and is still a popular biking destination for tourists. A local advocacy group, Bike Fort Collins, has been pushing for more efforts to make the town more bike-friendly, including introducing a city bike-share program. It also sponsors a popular bike-to-work day.
3. Eugene, OR
Eugene combines the beauty of shady dirt biking trails and country roads with many dedicated bike lanes along the city streets.
The Greater Eugene Area Riders is a non-profit bicycling agency that advocates for more programs to increase cyclist safety. This includes a Safe Route to School program for younger riders, and Vision Zero, which helps protect cyclists and pedestrians from accidents with public transportation vehicles.
4. Manhattan, NY
With traffic as heavy as Manhattan, it’s surprising that this city is one of the safest for bikers. However, the NYC Department of Transportation has built more than 330 miles of on-street bike routes in the last five years, including 82 separate miles of bike lanes on regular roadways for the city’s estimated 1.6 million bike riders.
5. Arlington, VA
As one of the suburbs of Washington, D.C., Arlington is a city with plenty of non-driving commute alternatives. The city has automated counters that track how many people ride bikes or walk, which gives city planners more accurate data for planning even more pedestrian and bicycle routes.
According to city data, the bike trails in Arlington have more than 500,000 bike trips each year. Furthermore, many people choose to bike to work rather than drive to avoid the traffic deadlock.
6. Lawrence, KS
Lawrence is a college town, home to a large campus of the University of Kansas. It has a large and growing network of multi-use bike-friendly streets and bike paths, plus the citywide infrastructure to support cyclists and pedestrians. It’s one of the cities with significant growth in biking infrastructure and support.
Biking and Walking Safely (Even in Safe Cities)
If you’re planning a trip to one of these bike-friendly cities, or if you live in one of them and want to reduce your carbon footprint by cycling or walking instead of driving, it’s essential to understand how to bike safely.
Each municipality has different laws and road regulations regarding cyclist responsibility, but for the most part, cyclists and pedestrians are expected to respect traffic signals the same way drivers are to prevent accidents. Ensure that you’re complying with all of these for safety.