Bicycling Magazine Ranks San Francisco 6th Best Cycling City Nationally

Chiu_Shahum_Goebel.jpgStreetsblog Editor Bryan Goebel, Board of Supervisors President David Chiu, and SFBC’s Leah Shahum riding downtown on Bike to Work Day. Photo dustinj

San Francisco today was named the sixth best city in the nation for cycling by editors of Bicycling Magazine, the best ranking of any city in California. Bicycling editors chose San Francisco in part because of the huge growth in cycling over the past two years and despite the injunction that has prevented the city from substantially improving its bicycle infrastructure.

"San Francisco has one of the most vibrant bike cultures in the nation and in spite of the injunction ridership is way up," said Bicycling Editor-in-Chief Loren Mooney.

Mooney said she has been following the progress of the injunction and has been excited by the recent improvements to the city’s streets, such as the protected bicycle lane on Market Street. According to Mooney, San Francisco ranked as high as it did because of the city’s bicycle culture and community and because of the hard work of the bicycle advocates in the face of adversity.

Two years ago, when Bicycling did its last ranking, the magazine
segregated cities by size; San Francisco received an Honorable Mention behind Portland, Denver, and Seattle in the category of cities sized 500,000 to 1,000,000,

"Not only is San Francisco strong now, it will be great to see where they are in two years on our next list," said Mooney.

Mayor Gavin Newsom’s spokesperson Brian Purchia said they were pleased to be the highest rated city in Calfornia. "With street improvements under way and working closely with the cycling community, our ranking is sure to rise."

San Francisco Bicycle Coalition Executive Director Leah Shahum was thrilled with the news. "Despite some unexpected roadblocks in the past few years, we are still experiencing unprecedented growth in the numbers of people choosing bicycling for transportation," said Shahum. "Today 53 percent more people are riding compared to just three years ago."

Added Shahum, "One of the things I’m most proud of in San Francisco is that bicyclists are still on the cutting edge of re-imagining and pushing the envelope on how our city’s public space is valued. It’s not a coincidence that greater support for bicycling is connected to this larger, broader movement for more livable streets."

Bicycling editors based the rankings in cities with populations of at
least 100,000 and used factors such as cycling-friendly statistics
(numbers of bike lanes and routes, bike racks, city projects completed
and planned) and changes in these statistics and a city’s future plans
since the last survey. They also gave credence to a city’s bike culture,
such as the number of bike commuters, cycling clubs, cycling events,
and renowned bike shops. Editors also referenced the Bicycling and
Walking in the United States 2010 Benchmarking Report prepared by the
Alliance for Biking and Walking, the League of American Bicyclists’
Bicycle Friendly America project, and interviews with national and local
advocates, bike shops, and other experts.

  • Unexpected 1st: Minneapolis, MN

    I looked at the slideshow earlier, weird what they point out – all it says about SF is that commuter trains allow bikes and there’s a bay bridge bike shuttle.

  • Since they didn’t provide a handy list, here are the top 20 for reference:

    1. Minneapolis, MN
    2. Portland, OR
    3. Boulder, CO
    4. Seattle, WA
    5. Eugene, OR
    6. San Francisco, CA
    7. Madison, WI
    8. New York, NY
    9. Tucson, AZ
    10. Chicago, IL
    11. Austin, TX
    12. Denver, CO
    13. Washington, DC
    14. Ann Arbor, MI
    15. Phoenix/Tempe, AZ
    16. Gainesville, FL
    17. Albuquerque, NM
    18. Colorado Springs, CO
    19. Salem, Or
    20. Scottsdale, AZ

  • Nick

    There’s also this sense of a small-town friendliness among bicyclists in the city. It’s quite nice.

  • I LOVE SAN FRANCISCO. Market St commute today is better than anytime since I moved here in 95!

  • Clutch J

    Congrats to SF.

    Sacramento must need some PR help. Its mode share roughly equals SF’s and in at least one survey was in the nation’s top five, it has one of the best urban-suburban bike trails in the country, the city is steadily taking roadway space from cars and giving it to bikes, its advocates provide national policy leadership on complete streets, there’s a lively bike culture scene, excellent climate and topography…yet it’s nowhere to be found on the list.

  • Clutch J

    From Jamison’s list above:

    1. Minneapolis, MN
    2. Portland, OR
    4. Seattle, WA
    6. San Francisco, CA
    13. Washington, DC

    Now, of America’s large cities, the mode share rankings look like this:

    1. Portland, OR 5.96$
    2. Minneapolis, MN 4.27%
    3. Seattle, WA 2.94%
    4. Sacramento, CA
    4. San Francisco, CA (tied with 2.72%)
    6. Washington, DC 2.33%

    (courtesy of

    In other words, of the six large cities with the highest mode share, five make the top 13 of Bicycling’s top fifty bicycle-friendly communities list…and one (Sacramento) doesn’t even make the top fifty at all?!?!

  • Clutch J

    EDITOR, please add a space before the final parenthesis in the link above. It should read:

    Thank you.

  • tea

    This says more about the U.S. than about San Francisco… Point in case: I just finished taking the SFBC member survey. I have been riding in cities for most of my life. I commute to the East Bay every day. To the question, “How safe do you feel riding in SF”, I honestly had to reply “Not very safe”. Not one ride goes by without some event (close call, texting driver, someone parked in the bike lane, dooring etc) forcing me to go out of my comfort zone and engage in some sketchy maneuver. Again, I’m a good and experienced rider and I love riding. But, honestly, I don’t feel very safe riding my bike in SF.

  • Market street is more dangerous than ever because of bikes. Now I not only have to watch for muni buses running me down in the crosswalk but speeding bicyclists. Not to mention bikes taking over sidewalks.

    The worst is the common ccrit mass arrogant attitude that will flip you off, scream obscenities or just run you down. Until bikers start to respect pedestrians I will vote against every ballot item that promises to increase The number of rude and dangerous (to walkers like me) cyclists.

    P.s. I’m afraid to put my name on this for fear of retaliation from some self-righteous rider who is saving the planet for me.


SF Responds to Bike Injunction With 1,353 Page Enviro Review

Two-and-a-half years after a judge issued an injunction preventing the city from adding any new bicycle infrastructure to its streets, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) and the San Francisco Planning Department have released a 1353-page Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) on the San Francisco Bicycle Plan. At a cost of more than $1 million, the city has attempted to demonstrate in excruciating detail what would seem to be obvious: better bicycle amenities contribute to increased cycling and an improved environment.