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Ready for Summer Riding? PeopleForBikes Drops Annual List of Bike-Friendly Cities

Long-term analysis shows that major American cities have made huge improvements for cyclists in recent years.

Provincetown, Massachusetts bikingA commercial street on a summer evening in Provincetown, Mass., rated the best small town for biking in the U.S.; (photo/Shutterstock)
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There’s no doubt most U.S. cities were built for cars — but that’s changing fast.

Many of the country’s largest cities have greatly expanded bike trails and improved safety on busy streets, according to an annual survey from the nonprofit PeopleForBikes. In “2023’s Best Places to Bike,” cities once regarded as concrete jungles have emerged as new playgrounds for cyclists seeking beautiful trails and safe commuting.

This year, the top-scoring small, medium, and large U.S. cities for bicycling were Provincetown, Mass.; Davis, Calif.; and Minneapolis. Minneapolis’ bikeability score rose 31 points from 2022 to 2023, landing at the number-one spot for large U.S. cities.

It’s no accident, either. A years-long commitment from city and regional planners resulted in the expansion of trail networks and protected bike lanes, MPR News reported.

“While cities may differ in their paths to becoming great places to bike, the six SPRINT factors are foundational to building safe, connected, and comfortable bike networks,” Rebecca Davies, PeopleForBikes’ City Ratings program director, said in a news release.

“Every city needs more protected bike lanes, safer intersection crossings, and a modernized approach to street design that works better for everyone, no matter how they choose to travel.”

racing in Minneapolis, the #1 bike-friendly city for 2023
In Minneapolis in 2018, Nicole Mertz leads teammate Ash Duban during the Fulton Thunderdome fixed-gear crit. The city has rapidly improved for bikers of all kinds; (photo/Shutterstock)

PeopleForBikes: New 2023 Tools to Measure Bike-Friendly Cities

In its seventh annual analysis, PeopleForBikes looked at 1,484 cities across the U.S., as well as 249 international locations across Europe, Canada, and the U.K.

If a city receives a score of at least 50, that means it’s “becoming a great place to bike,” the nonprofit said. Researchers look at six factors captured in the acronym SPRINT: safe speeds, protected bike lanes, reallocated space for biking and walking, intersection treatments, network connections, and trusted data.


New to the City Ratings website for 2023, a city comparison tool allows users to directly compare scores between two cities as well as compare a city’s score over time. Here’s the list of the most bike-friendly cities with large populations:

Most Bike-Friendly Cities, Large U.S. Cities (>300,000 population)

  1. Minneapolis, Minn.: 68
  2. San Francisco, Calif.: 63
  3. Seattle, Wash.: 62
  4. Philadelphia, Penn.: 57
  5. Portland, Ore.: 56
  6. New York City, N.Y.: 55
  7. St. Paul, Minn.: 51
  8. Washington, D.C.: 45
  9. Milwaukee, Wisc.: 45
  10. Detroit, Mich.: 42

Do you live in a bike-friendly city? Just look it up on the PeopleForBikes website to get a detailed analysis of what it offers cyclists.

More broadly, PeopleForBikes hopes its City Ratings program will establish best practices for improving cities’ bike networks for years to come.

“In 2019, only 35 U.S. cities scored above a 50. This year, 97 U.S. cities were rated as great places to bike,” Jenn Dice, president and CEO of PeopleForBikes, said in the news release.

“By providing local leadership with the tools to increase their City Ratings score through better bike infrastructure, we can continue this momentum and create even more great places to ride across the country.”

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