Jul 7, 2023 - News

Atlanta scores a solid "meh" in U.S. bike rankings

Illustration of a pattern of bicycles.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Atlanta's patchy network of bike lanes and roads designed for speeding cars leaves plenty of room for improvement, according to PeopleForBikes' "Best Places to Bike" report.

How it works: The organization rated 1,484 U.S. cities on a scale of 0 to 100, using factors like protected bike lanes, safe crossings, speed limits and connections throughout the city. A score of 50 or higher represents "a great place to bike."

  • Atlanta scored a 25 — 546th-best overall, ranking it 35th out of 69 large cities.

State of play: City leaders are focusing on connecting neighborhoods along easy-to-bike routes, in addition to building out off-street paths like the Beltline trails.

Reality check: Atlanta has a large and passionate bicycling community that regularly packs the roads for rides.

Yes, but: The lack of infrastructure for bicyclists puts people at greater risk of injury or worse and slows progress in persuading people to get out of their cars (and traffic).

Zoom out: Minneapolis, San Francisco and Seattle claimed the top three spots among large cities (those with populations of more than 300,000).

  • Among our large city rivals, Atlanta fell short of Austin (23rd) and Charlotte (31st) but beat Nashville (37th) and Miami (40th).

The big picture: Bicycle infrastructure has improved nationwide as the pandemic-era cycling boom seems to have staying power.

  • The nine highest-rated large cities improved their scores year over year, including three that crossed the threshold of 50.
  • Those improvements have come via concerted efforts to increase bike safety and accessibility: Philly installed its first-ever curb-protected bike lanes, New York added and improved lanes amid increasing ridership, and St. Paul added five miles of lanes.

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