Sarah Braker, communications manager
Atlanta sure has some cute kids, but do they have what it takes to win this month’s challenge? (Image: Atlanta Bike Chic)
We are now in month number five of our eight-month search for the best U.S. city for “everyday biking.” In case you’re just joining us, we define “everyday biking” as casual, utilitarian trips around town. The method to this madness is fairly simple. Each month, bicycle advocates in cities across the country pick an intersection and from 4:30 — 5:30pm they count the total number of bicycles as well as a specific category of bikes or bike riders. This month that specific category was kids. (Check out our previous counts of racks, cargo bikes, skirts/dresses and kits).
What’s the matter with kids these days? Actually not much, if you’re basing your answer on how much they’re riding bikes. According to our U.S. Bicycling Participation Study, last year, 57% of American youth ages 3-17 rode a bicycle. (You can learn more about kids’ riding habits from our awesome back to school infographic). We were excited to see the numbers in motion with this month’s count.
Hot diggity dog, Denver! That’s a lot of kids on bikes.
This month we had five cities participate in our count: Denver, Tuscon, Atlanta, Portland and Memphis.
Safety first when crossing the street in Tucson.
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!
We’ve got three months to go, plenty of time for other cities to join in the fun and a shot at the title of best U.S. city for everyday biking. Our next three counts will be:
September: business attire (jackets, blouses, ties, office-friendly skirts and dresses)
Don’t touch that dial! We’re just a few months away from naming our big winner and you know you want to be here when we do.