Miami Rated Eighth Most "Bike Friendly" City in America — Thanks to Money

A bicyclist in Wynwood.
A bicyclist in Wynwood.

According to BetterDoctor, Miami is the eighth "most bike-friendly" city in America, only behind a handful of cycling meccas like Portland, Oregon; Oakland, California; and Washington, D.C. To determine the ranking, the analysis graded each of America's 52 largest cities on three different criteria. Miami actually did horribly in two of the three, so how did we still wind up in the top ten? Money, my friends. We're buying ourselves into status as a bicycle haven even if we aren't quite really there yet.

Here's the three criteria taken into account:

  • Percentage of commuters who bike to work (40 percent of overall score)
  • Bicycle fatalities per 10,000 commuters (30 percent of the overall score)
  • Federal transportation funds obligated to bike/pedestrian projects per capita (30 percent of the overall score)


Miami did horribly on the first two, which shouldn't be a surprise. 

Only 0.94 percent of Miamians commute to work via bike. The next lowest rank in the top 10 was fifth-place Sacramento where 2.32 percent of citizens bike to work. Miami's rank was moderate when compared to all 52 cities, but its far below the rest of the higher ranking cities. 

There are also 7.9 bicycle fatalists per 10,000 commuters here in Miami a year. Again, that's the worst showing of any of the cities in the top ten. Sixth-place New Orleans came closest with 5.8. Though 19 other cities had higher death rates overall, Miami's numbers were nothing to crow about.

However, when it comes to federal funds earmarked for bike and pedestrian projects, Miami rules supreme. For every citizen here there's $14.22 being spent on bike-related projects. That's the best showing of any city in the analysis by far. Only second-place Washington, D.C. came close with $13.80 per person. 

Obviously we were intrigued, and the listing didn't have any explanation. Turns out BetterDoctor got the stats from the Alliance for Biking & Walking's 2014 Benchmark Report. That says that Miami received, on average, $5,811,712 a year over a four-year period between 2009 and 2010. Divide by the city of Miami's population that indeed works out to $14.22. That information was supplied by Collin Worth, the city's bicycling coordinator. So we're getting the money to become a better biking city, but by practical measures, we're just not there yet.


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