Fort Wayne Not in Bike-Friendly Cities Top 50
But it just doesn’t matter to me. Why? Because Fort Wayne ranks high on a couple safe driver lists, plus it has over 50 miles of paved bike trails.
Would you rather ride a bike in a city of safe motorists, or in a city of more dangerous streets touted as a bicycle friendly city? It might depend on "where" you ride.
If you want to bike “anywhere” you want to, and also like paved bike paths out of traffic,
Fort Wayne might be a good place to do both, if you’re careful, and if you use the independence a bicycle gives you. (Hint - a bike can go where motor vehicles can’t.)
Men's Health Magazine (February 29, 2012) ranks U.S. cities for how dangerous or safe their motorists are. Their Top 10 Safest Driver Cities puts Fort Wayne at #6.
1. St. Paul, MN
2. Lincoln, NE
3. Boston, MA
4. Buffalo, NY
5. Reno, NV
6. Fort Wayne, IN
7. New York City
8. Chesapeake, VA
9. Madison, WI
10. Aurora, CO
Interestingly, Allstate Insurance publishes an annual list of Safe Driver Cities. Their 2012 list is apparently not out yet, so I've used their 2011 stats.
Allstate TOP 10 Safe Driver Cities - 2011
1. Fort Collins, Colo.
2. Boise, Idaho
3. Lincoln, Neb.
4. Chandler, Ariz.
5. Huntsville, Ala.
6. Knoxville, Tenn.
7. Springfield, Mo.
8. Reno, Nev.
9. Eugene, Ore.
10. Chattanooga, Tenn.
Fort Wayne didn't make their Top 10, but it did appear at #15,
and was #11 in 2010.
You might find this next part fascinating or puzzling. Here’s the 2011 Top 10 list of Bicycle Friendly Cities from Bicycling.com.
2 Portland, OR
3 Boulder, CO
5 Eugene, OR
6 San Francisco
7 Madison, WI
8 New York City
9 Tucson, AZ
We didn't even make it into the Top 50. Apparently our paved Rivergreenway and other connecting trails totaling more than 50 miles, together with our designation as a safe driver city wasn’t enough.
I looked up some of those bike friendly cities in the 2011 Allstate Safe Driver's stats. You'll notice Minneapolis appears down at #57, Portland is way down at #128, Seattle at #147. Eugene does appear at #9, surprisingly close to the Bike Friendly ranking. But San Francisco is way waaaay down at #185. New York City is at #171, yet, the Men's Health safe driver list puts New York City at #7. Huh? The difference between 7 and 171 is hard to comprehend, even if the two motorist rankings did take differing stats into consideration. And then there's Chicago at #157, while it’s #10 on the bike-friendly cities list.
The more I read about bike friendly cities, the more the term seems driven by politics over biking. A bicycle is, after all, the consummate symbol of personal freedom and independent travel, yet bike-friendly almost always focuses on what is expected of city government rather than the individual. Wouldn’t it be more appropriate to use bike- friendly when speaking of the degree to which a person desires or feels comfortable riding a bike?
With this new definition, I’d have to say The People of Fort Wayne are not very bike friendly.
UPDATE: September 17, 2013 - Having just looked at the recent list of Bike Friendly Cities posted by Bicycling.com, I still find it amusing that cities they put in their Top Ten are cities that other websites like Allstate put in their most dangerous driver cities.
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Fort Wayne’s attempt to be bike friendly