Over a two-year period, the advocacy group People For Bikes created and maintained a massive database of American cities and their relationships with bicyclists.
Each city – and just under 500 were monitored – was rated on five criteria: Ridership, Safety, Network, Acceleration and Reach. Feedback from everyday bike riders, city staffers, open-source maps and publicly available data was used.
Number One in Florida: St. Petersburg (the Sunshine City was also ranked 22nd overall in the United States).
In the “Acceleration” category – indicating speedy progress towards a better biking infrastructure – St. Petersburg came in at No. 11.
People For Bikes describes the category thusly: “We measure this category separately from other factors that assess past achievements of a city (like Ridership, Safety, and Network) to showcase a city’s efforts to continuously improve and expand bicycling. We can recognize cities that are growing their bike network quickly, but maybe haven’t achieved long-term success – yet.”
“Acceleration,” the company’s research director Jennifer Boldry told bicycling.com, “is a measure of potential. Collecting data year over year, we’ll account for whether cities are actually achieving those goals.”
That was good enough for Mayor Rick Kriseman, himself a biking enthusiast, who issued a statement. “As we have been focused on making the City of St. Petersburg a friendlier place for cyclists and pedestrians,” he said, “this is great news. I want to thank People for Bikes, and most important of all, everyone in the Sunshine City who rides a bike or helps to make life easier for those on a bike.”