This morning, Bicycling magazine named Chicago the best city for bicyclists in the U.S., beating out New York City, which placed first in the previous biennial ranking in 2014. In its 50 best bike cities rankings, the publication cited several major developments that contributed to Chicago's top spot, including Mayor Rahm Emanuel's completion of "100 miles of buffered and protected bike lanes," the forthcoming completion of the Loop Link transit project, which will make Chicago "the first major U.S. city with a downtown network of protected bike lanes" and the continued expansion of the Divvy bike-share program.
Bicyling magazine looked at Census and Department of Transportation data and consulted with cycling activists and riders in cities across the U.S. to arrive at its rankings. The magazine's Chicago write-up doesn't even mention the completion of the 606 trail system or Mayor Emanuel's intention to overhaul the 18-mile Lakefront Trail as part of his "Building on Burnham" plan, which demonstrates just how much the city is changing to accommodate cyclists.
While there's plenty to be proud of when it comes to Chicago's prowess as a city that's safe and easy for cyclists to navigate, there's still progress to be made. According to StreetsBlog Chicago, four bicyclist fatalities have occurred in 2016 thus far—a number that isn't necessarily above average but is still a tragic statistic. Improvements to Chicago's biking infrastructure have also predominantly focused on the Loop and the city's North Side, largely neglecting the West and South Sides, where protected bike lanes could provide new transportation options for low-income residents.
Whether you're a regular cyclist or an occasional Divvy rider, today's a great day to put on a helmet, hop on your ride and pedal through the country's most bike-friendly city—we've all earned it.
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