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Rose City pedals to top of website's bike-friendly list

TRIBUNE FILE PHOTO - The website BetterDoctor.com says Portland is the No. 1 city for bicyclists.Portland could be the most bike friendly city in the nation, according to a study by a health-related website.

BetterDoctor.com reported Monday that Portland topped the rankings of 52 major U.S. cities for the number of bicycle commuters and the friendliness of local governments toward bike riders.

Portland, Oakland, Sacramento and San Francisco were the only West Coast cities in the survey’s top 10.

Divya Raghavan of www.BetterDoctor.com reviewed data from the U.S. Census 2013 American Community Survey from the nation’s 52 largest cities to determine the percentage of bike commuters and also used information from the Alliance for Biking and Walking and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to complete the survey.

Her March 23 report weighed such factors as the percentage of people who use bikes to commute to work, the safety of bike riders in the cities and street work and other improvements that support bicycle riders.

BetterDoctor.com is a four-year-old website and mobile app that helps people find doctors in their communities who are covered by their insurance carriers.

According to the survey, the Top 10 most bike-friendly cities in the nation are:

1. Portland, where 6.14 percent of the city’s commuters bike to work. That’s 50 percent more than the bike commuting rate of the next-highest city, Washington, D.C. Portland’s bike culture is supported by the local government, which holds cycle classes and guided bike tours and holds a Bicycle Lunch and Learn series every month, according to BetterDoctor.com.

2. Washington, D.C., which is investing in improving infrastructure for bikers, at the cost of almost $14 per person. About 4 percent of DC’s commuters travel by bike, and the fatality rate is one of the lowest in our analysis.

3. Minneapolis, the only city with a harsh winter that made it into the Top 10. Almost 4 percent of commuters bike to work there, and the city is investing almost $11 per person in infrastructure to support bikers and pedestrians. Minneapolis has 118 miles of on-street bike paths and 92 miles of off-street bike paths.

4. Oakland, Calif., where 3 percent of Oakland’s commuters travel by bike, and the fatality rate for bike commuters is fairly low.

5. Sacramento, which invests almost $10 per person in federal funding toward bike and pedestrian projects.

6. New Orleans, where almost 3 percent of commuters in New Orleans commute by bicycle.

7. Tucson, which also has a large biking community, with almost 3 percent of commuters choosing to travel to work by bike.

8. Miami, where there is a critical mass (an event where bikers do an organized ride) every month.

9. San Francisco, where almost 4 percent of San Franciscan commuters get to work on a bicycle, and the bike fatality rate is very low.

10. Philadelphia, which has 205 miles of bicycle lanes.