#1 Kid Biking City In The US

  • Published on October 8th, 2015
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It is month #6 of an 8-month evaluation and inquiry set on naming the best US city for “everyday biking.” This past month focused on choosing the “#1 kid biking city.”

PeopleForBikes is defining “everyday biking” as “casual, utilitarian trips around town.” According to the official results, agreement (on the name) was overwhelming:

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Included as part of this survey is identifying the most active urban areas for youth bicycling — kids on bikes. PeopleForBikes explains the survey process: “Each month, bicycle advocates in cities across the country pick an intersection and from 4:30–5:30 pm.” They count the total number of bicycles as well as distinct categories of bikes or bike riders. This month, that particular group was kids.

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“According to our US Bicycling Participation Study, last year, 57% of American youth ages 3–17 rode a bicycle.” The results:

Despite a rainy start to the afternoon commute, Denver had a pretty solid count. A total of 115 bikes passed by our counter at City Park, 31 of them carrying or being ridden by kids. While some cities had really huge numbers, Portland suffered from location choice. As Carl Larson, Engagement Manager for the Bicycle Transportation Alliance explains, “we stuck with the same location every month and this month we paid for it. Williams is a busy commuter corridor but not a very popular route for families. We counted 462 bikes. Only two of them had kids.” Here’s how the cities stack up when we compare the total number of bikes with kids.

Tucson really blew away the competition in that category, counting 73 kids on bikes in just one hour. Of course, the total number of kids on bikes isn’t the only measurement we look at. We also rank the cities based on the percentage of kids on bikes out of the total number of bikes observed. While Portland still came out on the bottom, it’s worth noting that they observed 462 total bikes in one hour on a one-way street. That’s a lot of bikes! Here’s how they compared to the rest of the cities.

And finally, we come to the deciding statistic. We took our two metrics (number and proportion) and graded each one on a curve. The top-scoring city in each category got 100 points and other cities got points in proportion to their own relative scores. Then we averaged the two equally-weighted scores. This is how we came up with this month’s winner:

Just like in previous months, Memphis and Tucson were neck and neck, with the former coming out on top by less than half a point. That’s two wins in a row for Memphis!

More about kids’ bicycling habits can be found on this back-to-school infographic.

Stay tuned over the next three months on PeopleForBikes and here for more along these lines. Perhaps other cities will win a category, and have chances at the title of best US city for everyday biking.

Along the line of kid biking, though, take the time to watch this delightful video of a children’s traffic garden, and enjoy cultivating a similar spot in your town for children to enjoy and learn in:

Don’t forget to review and study safety rules with your children as they grow and become avid bicyclists. Enjoying the freedom of gliding along on a bike with knowledge-based skills is ideal. This post has a collection of easy-to-watch videos practicing necessary safety rules.

Related Story: Why Planning for Children Can Make Cities Better for Everyone

Photo via Bike SLO County / Foter / CC BY


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