Skip to main content

Critiquing the Bike Friendliness of a City with a Reputation for Bike Friendliness

One opinion writer thinks Denver is getting more credit than it deserves as a bike friendly city, but to be fair, a lot of cities have gotten good at overselling their bike friendliness.

1 minute read

October 2, 2017, 12:00 PM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

Philip Rodgers / Shutterstock

Thierry Backes writes an opinion piece for The Denver Post that pokes holes in the city of Denver's reputation as a bike friendly city.

After noting that several national rankings put Denver near the top of bike-friendly rankings, and the city of Denver's website praises the city as a paradise for bikers, Backes announces the following: "I think it is not. After one month of commuting, I think that Denver is at the very best an OK city to bike in. Biking here feels uncomfortable, annoying even. It can be slow and sometimes downright unsafe."

After listing some of the vital statistics of the Denver bike infrastructure network, Backes also reports that the city has a new Mobility Action Plan that will invest $2 billion over 12 years with the following major goals: "reduce single-occupant vehicle commuters from 73 percent to 50 percent by 2030; increase the percentage of transit commuters to 15 percent; and raise the bike or pedestrian commuters to 15 percent as well." A $937 million general obligation bond, expected to be before voters in November, will include $30 million for bicycle infrastructure.

Still, Backes is skeptical that initiative will be enough to convince motorists that more lane space and signal priorities should be given to bikers, the opinion piece includes plenty of anecdotes to build that case.

Friday, September 22, 2017 in The Denver Post

Less Paint, More Barriers, Make for Better Urban Cycling

New research from the University of Colorado Denver and the University of New Mexico sheds light on how to make cities safer for cyclists and other road users and refutes some assumptions about bike safety, such as "safety-in-numbers."

June 3, 2019 - CU Denver Today

NACTO to Help Five Cities Design and Build Low-Carbon Transportation Infrastructure

Five cities will help the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) prove that urban streets can provide the location for a drastic shift in the carbon emissions status quo.

May 16, 2019 - National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO)

Analysis: Denver's 20-Year Vision for Not-Quite-Complete Streets

The Denveright plan puts pedestrians first, but could do more for public transportation and bikes, says a critique from Streetsblog Denver.

August 15, 2018 - Streetsblog Denver

Pennsylvania Mall Conversion Bill Passes House

If passed, the bill would promote the adaptive reuse of defunct commercial buildings.

April 18, 2024 - Central Penn Business Journal

Planning for Accessibility: Proximity is More Important than Mobility

Accessibility-based planning minimizes the distance that people must travel to reach desired services and activities. Measured this way, increased density can provide more total benefits than increased speeds.

April 14, 2024 - Todd Litman

Fair Housing Cannot Take a Back Seat to ‘Build, Baby, Build’

If we overlook fair housing principles in the plan to build US housing back better, we risk ending up right back where we started.

April 11, 2024 - James Jennings

Planning Director

Licking County

Senior Planner

Barrett Planning Group LLC

News from HUD User

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Call for Speakers

Mpact Transit + Community

New Updates on PD&R Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Attention Professional Planners: Join Our Survey on Urban Planning Engagement!

Tufts University, Department of Urban and Environmental Policy & Planning

Comprehensive Plan Update

City of Universal City TX

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.