Intersecting Minds: Education, Business and Technology at the North Carolina State Jenkins Graduate School of Management

The 11 Most Bike Friendly Cities | September 23, 2009

A friend of mine yesterday commented that we must live in the most bike friendly city in the world. That got my brain going, and so last night I google’d, “worlds most bike friendly cities”. The top link led me to a ranking of the 11 most bike friendly cities. Interestingly enough, I’ve lived in three of them.

Portland, Oregon, my hometown, comes in at #2 on the list. Copenhagen is #3, and San Francisco is #8. I’ve also visited Boulder, CO, which comes in at #4, and I’ll be touring Amsterdam, which tops the list at #1, in less than two months. Of the cities I have lived in, I can sing the praises of all three. They are beautiful and interesting cities, and they all have a focus on managing sustainable growth and protecting the environment.

As a result, Portland, Copenhagen and San Francisco all have strong public transportation systems, of which promoting bike use is just a piece. They all have well-organized bus systems and there are many neighborhoods that are completely walkable in all three. And while I’ve only traveled through Boulder, it seemed to share the same ethos and layout as the other cities.

The situation almost makes me a little sad to come back to Raleigh, which, like far too many American cities, has almost nothing in terms of public transportation. In Raleigh, everyone drives everywhere all the time. The natural sprawl of the city has made the bus system inconvenient, and there are no bike lanes to be found, despite the flatness of the terrain. Raleigh has many redeeming qualities, but the public transportation system and citywide emphasis on sustainability isn’t one of them.

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