Cycling safety concerns: Chicago ranks 161st out of 163 cities in bikeability

In the city where you can find Divvy bikes galore and the lakefront path is always bustling — just how safe is Chicago really for cyclists? 

According to a new report: not so safe.

Chicago has become a major cycling city, and there's no shortage of bike commuters — especially during the summer months. 

Just this week, brand new protected bike lanes were installed on Halsted in Fulton Market, and the city is getting decent marks from some cyclists.

But a new ranking just published by People for Bikes out of Colorado ranked Chicago near dead last among big cities for bikeability, putting it an embarrassing 161st out of 163 larger cities.

"I can understand the sentiment of a little frustration of being kept low in the rankings," said Rebecca Davies from People for Bikes.

She says their methodology weighed factors like bike access to residential areas, schools, groceries and hospitals. Chicago didn't do so hot in those areas.


Another major factor: Chicago's typical city speed limit is 30 miles per hour, which is five to 10 miles per hour faster than in higher-ranking cities, like Denver and Minneapolis.

"With a change in speed limits on many of those roads, it could score comparable to a city like Denver in our rating system if it made that change," said Davies.

Chicago's Active Transportation Alliance is also in favor of lowering speed limits but says Chicago is not as bad of a biking city as this ranking would indicate.

"It's still a safe city to ride on. If you're riding on LSD, they are safer than some of the other cities that are listed above Chicago," said Alex Perez of the Active Transportation Alliance. 

While the Active Transportation Alliance says that Chicago isn't as bad of a biking city as this particular study would indicate, it does hope that the new administration will take notice of just how low Chicago ranked, and continue to expand Chicago's existing network of protected bike lanes.