Best States for Biking

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Best States for Biking

Whether for recreation or as part of a commute to work, the bicycle industry has continued to grow in the United States. According to Zippia, there are 52 million bicycle riders in the U.S. and $8.2 billion was spent by Americans on bicycles and accessories. 

One of the biggest recent jumps surrounding interest in biking in the United States came from as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Between 2019 and 2020, sales increased by 40% during that span. Sales continued to increase a year later by 57% from 2020 and 2021. 

This could just be the start of a renewed interest in biking in the U.S. Zippa believes more people could turn to biking because of urbanization and rising gasoline prices. By 2025, it’s estimated the global sales of e-bikes could reach $27 billion, and the global bicycle market could get to $92 billion. Currently, the U.S. ranks second with the most bicycles in the world at 100 million, trailing only China (450 million). 

Numerous reasons could be attributed to biking’s increased popularity. Technology has made it more convenient for riders to buy and maintain their equipment, while also adding a new element to the biking experience. Riders can utilize social media apps and GPS tracking devices to get more data on their rides. Cycling also remains a popular recreation and exercise activity. 

With continued growing interest, the research staff at decided to rank the best states for cycling in the U.S. We looked at four different data points to see how the 50 states compare to each other. 

Wyoming Tops the list for Best Biking State

Our findings found Wyoming to be the best overall state for biking. Across the four data points, Wyoming averaged an 89.8 cycling score

Wyoming had the second-highest score for bike stores receiving an excellence award designation and was tops in the impact of cycling-friendly actions. 

Wyoming also had a high safety score of 93.9, averaging 0.4 deaths per year from 2016-2020. 

The Top Five Spread Throughout the U.S.

Maine came in second at 84.2 thanks to grading high in the bike shop excellence award, cycling-friendly actions and rental cost categories. With a $29 daily bike rental available, Maine is one of the cheaper options for those looking to rent a bike for a day. 

Similar to Wyoming, South Dakota ranked high in bike shop excellence award (95.9) and cycling safety (100), with an average of 0.2 cycling fatalities per year from 2016-20. 

Alaska topped the bike shop excellence award score category thanks in large part to Cycle Alaska in Juneau receiving the President’s Award from the National Bicycle Dealers Association (NBDA), and Sockeye Cycle Co. in Haynes receiving Platinum. 

Kentucky came in at fifth and was boosted by its 93.8 bike shop excellence score. The Bluegrass State has four shops recognized by the NBDA, including Bicycle Face in Lexington, BikeWorld Bikes & Fitness in Paducah, Scheller’s Fitness & Cycling in Louisville and Pedal Power Bike Shop in Lexington.

Worst States for Biking

The absence of top-tier bicycle shops, poor safety statistics and lack of cycling-friendly actions, make Louisiana the worst overall score for biking (19.4). From 2016-20, Louisiana averaged 26 biking deaths per year and graded poorly in friendly actions because of poor education and encouragement, and evaluation and planning. 

Washington and North Carolina tied for the second-worst score at 23.5. Both states received a 0 in bike shop excellence, while the cost of renting a bike in Washington reached $130, one of the highest prices we’ve found. 

Arizona’s lack of safety (6.2) contributed to its ranking with the fourth-worst overall score at 24.5. The state averaged 30 deaths per year from 2016-20.

Georgia consistently ranked low in all four categories and also received a zero, with no bike shops rated highly by the NBDA. The lack of cycling-friendly actions also contributed to its overall score of 26.5. 


Methodology examined four factors to determine which cities are, right now, the best for cycling. 

Bike Shop Excellence Award Score: The NBDA Retailer Excellence Award is given to bike shops that score 70% or above on their application. Some factors considered when evaluating shops are the general retailer information, shop layout and design, staff and management, business operations, marketing and community. 

Number of Bicycle-Friendly Actions: The League of American Bicyclists evaluated each state for the number of friendly actions executed in each state and graded on a 1 through 5 scale. Considered components were infrastructure and funding, education and encouragement, traffic laws and practices, policy programs and evaluation and planning. 

Bike Rental Cost: To find a bike rental cost in each state, we looked at mountain bike rental rates for a single day. Trip Outside was used to find rates for certain states, while most were found by locating individual shops in each state and discovering the rental cost for a day. 

Cycling Safety: The cycling safety score was taken from the average number of bike deaths data found from the League of American Bicyclists. 

For three of the four data points (shops with excellence award, bicycle-friendly actions and cycling deaths), we did a per capita/million residents calculation before creating a percent rank value. Since the population has no bearing on bike rental cost, the per capita million residents, it was not used for this category. 

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Bryce Derouin

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