Boston Ranks Near the Top for Most Bikeable City

bike bostonA composite heat map of the factors used to determine Boston’s bike-ability (bike lanes, hills, destinations, and bike commuters). (Map via Walk Score.)

Further proof of a benevolent god progressive transportation planning, Boston is now ranked the fourth most bikeable city in the country, according to Walk Score, a company that typically ranks cities by walkability but is now expanding to include two-wheeled non-motorized transport tambien.

So what did we get? A 68, which puts us below Minneapolis, Portland, and San Francisco — a.k.a. the cities that pride and even define themselves on being urban cycling capitals — and above Seattle, New York, and Chicago, which like us, have lots of things going on. By my accounting, that makes us the number one city for cycling where, you know, cycling isn’t the most important thing ever.

According to the multitude of heat maps generated for Boston, we scored so well because the Boston area is relatively flat, and there is a decent amount of biking infrastructure in many parts of town. Beyond all that, though, we can learn the true identities of all those business folk who commute into work: the citizens of Allston and Jamaica Plain (Note: Cambridge wasn’t included in the study area, apparently). No big surprises there.

But as studies like this support what many of us already know — and more: the Bike Score number doesn’t seem to account for the general stress and anxiety of driving here — we’re sure to see more bikes on the road, despite even the loudest outcry from anti-bike critics and even cyclists’ strangely aggressive internal divisions as to who does and doesn’t help “the cause.” More people on bikes means safety in numbers, too, and the rankings’ authors anticipate new cyclists joining the fold faster in cities that already have high scores.

Who knows, that could even finally make commuting by bicycle something people think about even outside Bay State Bike Week. Then those of us who do commute could feel like we’re taking our lives into our hands a little less each morning and night. And then we move beyond mere safety in numbers and become a constituency. Lord knows, we’ve already found our mayor.