Fayetteville moves into top 10 for best bicycling cities

Fayetteville continues to move higher in the rankings for best bicycling cities in the United States.

National bike advocacy organization PeopleForBikes this week released the third annual installment of its City Ratings program, and listed Fayetteville as No. 10 overall in the country.

Fayetteville entered the list at No. 45 in 2018 and moved to No. 15 in 2019.

It’s the second year in a row that Fayetteville was joined by two other Northwest Arkansas cities in the top 20 list. Rogers and Bella Vista also made the list this year, while Bentonville and Springdale joined Fayetteville last year.

The program uses a data-driven analysis that evaluates more than 550 cities and towns and shows city leaders how they can invest to make bicycling better for residents and visitors.

The ratings are scored across five indicators:

  • Ridership – The Ridership score reflects how many people in the community ride bikes. It considers biking for both recreational biking and biking for transportation.
  • Safety – The Safety score considers fatalities and injuries of people on bikes as well as those walking and driving. Perceptions of safety are also given weight.
  • Network – The Network score evaluates the quality of the bike network — how completely it connects people to each other and local destinations using comfortable routes. Perceptions of the network are also given weight.
  • Reach – The Reach score determines how well a community’s low-stress network serves all members of the community. It uses demographic data to understand differences in access and connectivity for traditionally underserved populations compared to the whole city.
  • Acceleration – The Acceleration score assesses how quickly a community is improving its biking infrastructure and how successful its encouragement programs are at getting people to ride.

Fayetteville ranked No. 1 nationally in the acceleration category.

The data comes from the U.S. Census American Community Survey and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System, as well as sources developed by PeopleForBikes team to capture city-specific data based on mapping, city planning information and survey responses from community members.

“We are extremely proud of what we’ve been able to do here in Fayetteville,” said Mayor Lioneld Jordan. “A community that just 20 years ago didn’t have a single bike lane or a shared-use paved trail is now in the top ten in the nation. It’s remarkable progress.”