It’s official: There’s no better place to ride your bicycle than the city of Chicago, according to the prominent Bicycling magazine. It’s the first time the Second City has claimed the publication’s top spot since it began appearing in the magazine’s top ten list six years ago.
Chicago beat out perennial contenders like New York and San Francisco after a steady rise in the ranks. One of the reasons the Windy City claimed the top spot this year, says the Tribune: it emphasizes an infrastructure that separates cyclists from motorists. That includes the establishment of better bike laws, the implementation of dedicated bike lanes, and working to provide progressive legal protection for cyclists.
The Divvy bike-sharing program also earned kudos from the magazine’s editors for spreading the Divvy concept to lower-income communities and providing alternative means of transportation to places that have high-density populations. Also something to note from the Trib article: Chicago has added roughly 148 miles of bike lanes—108 of which are buffer-protected—in the city since 2011. Numbers from the U.S. Census also point out that the number of bike commuters in Chicago has jumped 157 percent over the past decade.
Though the distinction should prove to be a nice boon to the city and its cyclists, many continue to raise concerns about the long-term protection of riders. Several recent collisions, two of which proved to be fatal, have brought cycling safety back into the public’s general awareness. One of those collisions involved a city tour bus that witnesses have described as avoidable.
The shout out in Bicycling mag is a nice reminder that we’re making progress. But let’s not kid ourselves: we can and should do more to protect riders and make cycling in the city as safe as possible.