The Top 10 Most Bike-Friendly Cities in the U.S. in 2021 | Metromile (2023)

Getting around by bike is a great way to limit your carbon footprint. It can also give you a sense of freedom, pedaling by the power of your own two feet and feeling the wind hit your face as you ride. The pandemic has created a biking boom, with more people getting into biking or rekindling their former hobby. In fact, as of April 2020, bike sales had increased a staggering 75%, amounting to 1 billion in sales, according to NPD, a market trends firm. Though biking has become popular again, that doesn’t mean that all cities are built for bicyclists. Some cities are lacking the infrastructure and safety, while others are on the frontier of creating some of the most bike-friendly cities in the U.S. Find out the top 10 best biking cities in the U.S.

The Top 10 Most Bike-Friendly Cities in the U.S. in 2021 | Metromile (1)

Our methodology

To determine the most bike-friendly cities in the U.S., we looked at two primary metrics. We looked at Bike Scores, a measure of bike-ability that shows access to bike lanes, connections within the city, and more. Next to bike-ability, we also looked at bicyclist safety as measured in fatalities, or the number of deaths, by looking at city and state data from the most recent Traffic Safety Facts Report (NHTSA). This report was issued in October 2021 and includes data for 2019.

We looked at data from 25 bike-friendly cities in the U.S. by SmartAsset and evaluated bike scores and bike fatalities. We gave the bike score a weight of 85% and the NHTSA safety score a weight of 15%. To create the Metromile bike-ability score, we used the following equation:

Metromile bike-ability score = bike score (85%) – safety score (15%)

From there, we ranked the top 10 best bike-friendly cities in the U.S.

10. New York, NY

The Big Apple is well-known for its 24-hour subway system, coming in the top spot for public transportation in the U.S. Aside from that though, the city also makes it to the tenth spot for best bike-friendly cities in the U.S. The city has the Citi Bike bike-sharing program and is home to many bike paths and greenways. You can find a bike map of New York City here.

Bike score: 70

Cyclist fatalities: 24

Metromile bike-ability score: 55.9

9. Sacramento, CA

Sacramento, CA makes it in the number nine spot as part of the most bike-friendly cities in the U.S. The city is home to Jedediah Smith Memorial Trail (also referred to as the American River Bike Trail), which is 32 miles and was named as the number one bike path as of 2006 for Trails.com. The city boasts many other bike trails and paths with great views, making it a great spot for cyclists.

Bike score: 68

Cyclist fatalities: 2

Metromile bike-ability score: 57.5

8. Washington D.C.

The nation’s capital isn’t just a popular place for politics but also for biking. Washington D.C. is home to 150 miles of bike lanes and trails and has 6,100 Capital Bikeshare bikes, according to goDCgo.com. The city also comes in the fourth spot for top walkable cities and top cities with best public transportation as well.

Bike score: 69

Cyclist fatalities: 1

Metromile bike-ability score: 58.5

7. Seattle, WA

Seattle may have an abundance of rainy days, but that doesn’t stop the city from being a popular haven for cyclists. Though the number of cyclists goes down in the winter months, as you can see in the chart below.

The Top 10 Most Bike-Friendly Cities in the U.S. in 2021 | Metromile (2)

Source/credit: Seattle Department of Transportation 2020 Traffic Report

The Emerald City offers various options for cyclists, including protected bike lanes and multi-use trails. On top of that, the city has a robust bike-sharing program making the city even more accessible by bike.

Bike score: 70

Cyclist fatalities: 2

Metromile bike-ability score: 59.2

6. Boston, MA

Coming in the sixth spot of most bike-friendly cities in the U.S. is Boston. According to Boston.gov, “The Boston Transportation Department works to make bicycling fun, safe, and convenient.” The city has an aggressive goal to increase bicycling fourfold by 2030. The city of Boston takes pride in being one of the first cities to adopt a bike-share program (Bluebikes) in 2011. There are about 4,000 Bluebikes and 400 stations, so you can get around Boston by bike.

Bike score: 70

Cyclist fatalities: 1

Metromile bike-ability score: 59.35

5. San Francisco, CA

San Francisco is a walker’s paradise, coming in the top spot for best walkable cities in the U.S. But aside from walking, it’s also one of the best biking cities in the U.S. as well, coming in the fifth spot. As of 2019, the city by the bay counted over 10.8 million bikes and added 670 bike racks, according to SF MTA data. San Francisco also has a growing bike-share program for residents and tourists alike to take advantage of.

Bike score: 72

Cyclist fatalities: 1

Metromile bike-ability score: 61.05

4. Chicago, IL

Chicago aka the Windy City makes it to the fourth spot for best bike-friendly cities in the U.S. The city has major perks for cyclists including more than 200 miles of bike lanes, 13,000 bike racks, and a beautiful 18.5-mile Lakefront Trail, according to Chicago.gov. On top of that, Chicago has the Divvy bike-share program making it easier than ever to get around by bike, even if you don’t own one.

Bike score: 73

Cyclist fatalities: 5

Metromile bike-ability score: 61.3

3. Denver, CO

When it comes to most bike-friendly cities in the U.S., Denver takes the third spot. The Mile High City is working to build a safe, convenient, and reliable bike city that cyclists can take advantage of as an affordable, healthier alternative to driving. The city is building out protected bike lanes and neighborhood bikeways, putting safety as a top priority.

Bike score: 73

Cyclist fatalities: 3

Metromile bike-ability score: 61.6

2. Portland, OR

Portland is nearly a bike utopia, which makes it the second spot for best biking cities in the U.S. The Rose City had the highest number of bike commuters in 2017, coming in at 6.3%, according to Portland Bureau of Transportation data. The city boasts 385 miles of bikeways, with even more on the way.

Additionally, the city has some unique things that make it bike-friendly, such as having bike-specific traffic signs at 31 different intersections as well as 42 bike boxes to help protect cyclists from drivers. Portland also has the Biketown bike-share program, sponsored by Nike, which is headquartered in the metro area.

Bike score: 82

Cyclist fatalities: 2

Metromile bike-ability score: 69.4

1. Minneapolis, MN

Coming in the top spot for most bike-friendly cities in the U.S. is Minneapolis. According to the city’s website, Minneapolis has 98 miles of bike lanes as well as 101 additional bike paths and trails and has 16 miles of protected bikeways. The city also ranks as one of the top cities for bike commuters. Minneapolis also has the Nice Ride Minnesota bike-share program that has over 3,000 bikes and 400 stations to make it easy to get around by bike.

Bike score: 84

Cyclist fatalities: 11 (in the state of MN)

Metromile bike-ability score: 69.75

The bottom line

Exploring or commuting on two wheels instead of four can be good for your health and the environment. As a cyclist, obviously, you want to stay safe and bike in cities catered to your needs. Choosing to bike in one of these 10 best bike-friendly cities in the U.S. can help you get the most out of your ride and stay safe.

If you prefer to ride on two wheels instead of four, but still have a car, it might be time to re-evaluate your car insurance. Using pay-per-mile insurance, you pay a low base rate and several cents for each mile you drive. That way if you don’t drive much, you actually benefit from it and never pay more than you need to. Consider a switch and get a free quote with Metromile today.


Melanie Lockert is a freelance writer, podcast host of the Mental Health and Wealth show, and author of Dear Debt. She’s a cat mom to two jazzy cats, Miles and Thelonious, an amateur boxer, music lover, and needs coffee to function.

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