PORTLAND, Ore. (TheStreet) -- No one died during the first year of New York City's bike sharing program, but that doesn't necessarily make NYC a "bikeable" city.
When New York debuted Citi Bike last year, the tabloids and columnists collectively lost their minds. They predicted blood on the asphalt and tourists ground to hamburger by the wheels of speeding taxis. A year later, not so much.
Citi Bike reports that, in the 8.75 million trips and 14.7 million miles traveled on its bikes within the past year, there have been only 100 crashes and no deaths. It's been a similar story for bike sharing programs around the world, but that's not exactly surprising. When drivers acclimate to seeing cyclists on the road each day, their behavior tends to adjust accordingly.
Thus, Chicago gets the Divvy bike share program, Washington gets Capital Bikeshare, Boston gets Hubway and Minneapolis implements Nice Ride without a whole lot of people getting hurt. It also eliminates the notion that such programs -- and bicycles themselves -- are strictly for small cities and college towns
Walk Score, a mapping service generally rates cities and neighborhoods based on their density, their access to public transportation and their distribution of Amenities, has begun factoring a city's "bikeability" into its rankings as well. A city's Bike Score takes into account its bike infrastructure (bike lanes, turn boxes, trails, racks, etc.), the numbers of bikers on its streets per capita, its hilly terrain and other factors when considering just how highly a city should rank.
It began offering that data two years ago after The League of American Cyclists noted that American bicycle commuting jumped 47% between 2000 and 2011. It also noted that cities with more bike lanes, accommodations and even new buildings with bike storage and repair shops saw bike commuting jump 80% during that same span.
While Walk Score put out a Top 10 list of cities that garnered its best Bike Scores, it included only cities with a population of 500,000 or more. That put Portland, Ore., at the top of the list, but left a whole lot of locales off. To get a more fair representation, we drilled down as far as we could into Walk Score's data to cities of 200,000 or more. That leaves out some big bike meccas such as Davis, Berkeley and Palo Alto, Calif.; Boulder and Fort Collins, Colo.; Eugene, Ore.; and Cambridge, Mass. But it includes a whole lot of larger cities in their general area, so we'd offer the disclaimer that riders considering these cities should take a look at the smaller surrounding metros in the same states: