File photo: Todd Gill, Fayetteville Flyer
People for Bikes this week unveiled its annual city ratings report, and Fayetteville scored 50 points, which was the top rank in Arkansas and the 62nd overall in the country. There were a total of 1,105 cities in this year’s analysis, which places Fayetteville in the 94th percentile among the U.S.
Bentonville was second in Arkansas with a score of 48, Bella Vista ranked third with a score of 47. Springdale (42) and Rogers (40) rounded out the top five.
The ratings system was developed over a three-year period and was completely new to the bike advocacy community when it first launched.
Now in its sixth year, the system was adjusted in 2021 to emphasize the importance of building safe, comfortable and connected bicycle networks.
Scores were initially rated out of five, but the group switched to a 100-point system which incorporates two inputs – the quality of a city’s bicycle network, and community perceptions of bicycling. A city’s network score comes from the group’s bicycle network analysis and community scores come from an annual community survey.
Fayetteville scored a 46 for its network. In that analysis, the city placed highest for bicycle access to recreational amenities and retail areas, but the report shows Fayetteville could improve access to more jobs, schools and places that serve basic needs, like hospitals.
Fayetteville’s community score of 67 was remarkably higher than the national average of 24. The city scored a 94 for awareness, which measures how familiar people are with local biking resources and their city’s efforts to improve biking. Fayetteville’s ridership score was also impressive at 79.
The top scores for other medium-sized cities (50k-300k population) in the U.S. went to: Davis, California (72); Berkeley, California (70); Boulder, Colorado (66); Ankeny, Iowa (64); and Corvallis, Oregon (60).