Broken Arrow, Norman top list of safest urban areas in Oklahoma for cyclists
By John Dobberstein, Editor
The cities of Norman and Broken Arrow ranked highest in the state as being safe places for cyclists, while Oklahoma City wound up in the bottom 10 out of 250 cities nationwide mentioned in a recent study.
The personal injury law firm, Bisnar Chase commissioned Cherry Digital to carry out a survey of 3,000 cyclists, asking them to rate how safe or unsafe they feel during their daily commutes. Cyclists rated their experiences on a scale of 1-10, where 10 indicated feeling the safest.
Norman placed 63rd nationally with a score of 7.2. The city said Norman “is gaining a reputation as a safe haven for cyclists, thanks in part to its expanding network of bike lanes and trails.
“Continued infrastructure development complements the myriad of dedicated bike paths sprinkled throughout the city's parks and greenways, providing cyclists with traffic-free routes and an enjoyable riding experience. Beyond infrastructure, Norman boasts numerous bike-friendly businesses and organizations.”
Broken Arrow, with a score of 6.7, came in at 112th. That was still higher than Tulsa (6.4), which ranked 136th, and Oklahoma City (5.0) at 240th.
“In our efforts to understand the challenges and rewards of cycling in urban America, it's clear that infrastructure, education, and awareness play pivotal roles," said Portland, Ore.-based Bisnar Chase in a statement. “Cities that prioritize cyclists not only foster healthier communities but also create safer and more harmonious environments for all road users.”
The city of Broken Arrow does boast access to the southern portions of Liberty Trail, which serves as a popular venue for cyclists, and trail growth is part of the city’s Comprehensive Plan that was adopted in 2019.
Several years ago the city installed bike lanes in downtown Broken Arrow to improve access for those not in vehicles.
The Indian Nationals Council of Governments also drafted the “GO Plan,” which is a bicycle/pedestrian master plan for pedestrian and bicycle improvements. The Broken Arrow portion of this plan can be found here.
Last year, This Machine opened a bikeshare service in the Rose District and expansion was being planned for this year.
Nationally, the results were as follows:
#1 Virginia Beach: 9.4/10
Virginia Beach tops the list, with cyclists feeling incredibly safe, scoring an average of 9.4 out of 10. This is largely due to the city's robust cycling infrastructure, comprehensive bike lanes, marked trails, and cyclist-friendly amenities. Furthermore, active awareness campaigns and educational initiatives significantly contribute to this positive sentiment.
#2 Raleigh, North Carolina: 8.9/10
Raleigh is next, with its cyclists feeling notably secure. This is attributed to the city's commitment to a bike-friendly ethos, evidenced by its expanding network of bike lanes, trails, and facilities tailored for cyclists. Additionally, Raleigh has consistently promoted mutual respect between drivers and cyclists through public awareness campaigns.
= #3 Kent, Washington: 8.8/10
Kent's cyclists feel equally secure, ranking third. This confidence stems from the city's strategic investments in cycling, such as dedicated bike lanes, interconnected trails, and clear route signage. Regular dialogues with cycling advocates further refine the city's approach.
= #3 Syracuse, New York: 8.8/10
Matching Kent, Syracuse earns its high ranking through concerted efforts in improving its cycling infrastructure. This includes expansive bike lanes, connected trails, and clear route indicators. Local authorities also promote mutual understanding between drivers and cyclists.
= #3 Washington D.C.: 8.8/10
Bikers in Washington, D.C., benefit from an elaborate network of bike lanes and trails, which covers over 100 miles. Noteworthy trails include the Anacostia River Trail and the C&O Canal Towpath.
At the survey's opposite end, cities where cyclists felt most at risk were highlighted:
#250: Columbus, Georgia: 4.2/10
Columbus' cyclists give their city the lowest safety rating. The scanty bike lanes and frequently congested, narrow streets challenge their sense of safety.
#249: Memphis, Tennessee: 4.7/10
Memphis roads present significant obstacles for cyclists, primarily due to pervasive potholes. The city's heavy truck traffic and pedestrian congestion further compound safety concerns.
#248: Huntsville, Alabama: 4.7/10
Huntsville's infrastructure, although possessing some bike lanes, is less accommodating for cyclists. Common concerns include narrow streets and unaware drivers, exacerbated by the city's lack of cycling safety education.