Dallas Now Has a Bike Score, and It Sucks

Categories: Transportation

Walk Score became a thing almost as soon as the company first began rating the pedestrian-friendliness of cities and neighborhoods in 2007. By now, it's so firmly established that it's worked its way into the vernacular of real estate and urban planning. Zillow, for example, includes a walk score for every property it lists, and Phoenix used the data to determine where to locate light-rail stations.

A year ago, the company branched out into wheeled transport and began giving a bike score to an ever-expanding circle of neighborhoods and cities. That circle now includes Dallas.

The results aren't particularly surprising. Dallas as a whole gets a 41 out of 100, earning it a "Somewhat Bikeable" which, given that the label applies to everything with a 0 and above, isn't exactly a compliment. It's certainly well short of making Dallas a "Biker's Paradise" (which, to be fair, not even biking mecca Portland achieves) or "Very Bikeable" or even just "Bikeable," which requires a score of 50.

As you can see from the map, however, some areas are more bikeable than others. A couple of the yellowish spots -- Oak Lawn, East Dallas -- even reach the "Very Bikeable" threshold, earning praise for being "flat as a pancake" and having "some lanes." Mostly, though, the city's a sea of reddish orange.

For an even more damning indictment of the biking scene in Dallas, take a look at Walk Score's heat map of bike commuters in Dallas.


That little orangish blob coming downtown from East Dallas is me.

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Bought a bike this weekend and rode a ~10 mile stretch from Pleasant Grove to Casa Linda.  Everybody was super-friendly.  There was a stretch down Jim Miller that was a bit tricky, and I actually had fun letting the two dachshunds chase me for a couple hundred feet.  Our bike infrastructure will continue to improve, just like everything else seems to be doing over the last 10-15 years.  GO DALLAS!


And They sell what service to improve our score ?


"Flat as a pancake"? What a wussy scale if that's a plus factor. East Dallas is noticing a lot of wrong-way riders commuting off the White Rock trail. This all sounds like bond factors; Standard&Poors of biking?

mavdog topcommenter

I've biked thousands of miles and rode in most cities in DFW.

IMHO this "ranking" is about as bogus as it comes.

See, I am of the opinion there isn't really a need for bike lanes. If anyone wants to hop on a bike and go somewhere bike lanes are unimportant. Of course I believe it's really not smart to ride on streets like Preston, or to commingle with exhaust spewing cars and trucks.

the fact is DFW has miles and miles of hard surface (read concrete) roads, streets that are wide enough for cars to pass a bicycle and not get too close, and most important an abundance of sunny days. I hate riding when it is wet. And wind? if it is against you, it will be with you.


Lets get that score a little lower ! I would hate to encourage more bicycles. 

Might as well encourage: 

Everyone to drive 1/2 the posted speed limit 

Joggers with headphones in the middle lane 

Mexicans with baby strollers 

Sidewalk Chalk Art projects  

or how about a lane just for RED cars

and everyone else (not a car) to use our glorious pavement

Ill treat them just like real vehicles, just like I treat any driver not keeping pace

Sharon_Moreanus topcommenter

At least it's much lower than our douchebag score.


Just to add some perspective, I thought I would BENCHMARK the data (Mary Suhm hates benchmarking, by the way--- the City of Dallas says its unfair because Dallas is unique and old, or something like that).  Anyway, here you go:

Plano 45.2,

Houston 48.8,

Austin 45.1,

Tulsa 43.3,

Wichita 43.2,

Dallas 41.4,

San Antonio 40.1,

Oklahoma City 39.3, and

Ft. Worth 38.5.


@mavdog  The universe needn't revolve around what works for you. At some point we need to visualize the kind of city we'd like to become.


@mavdog Okay, so our streets aren't made of lava. Being able to physically bike a road isn't the point. The point is bike-friendliness. Education. If you decide to bike, how much BS will you have to put up with? 

Will people passive-agreesively drive their cars close and fast to you? 

Should you expect to get hit with objects thrown from cars? 

Will the people in cars know the rules of the road for cyclists?

I've heard a lot about unreasonable expectations from drivers for cyclists. Stuff like, "They belong on the sidewalk. They can't take the full lane. Etc" 

To me the bike score is representative of the amount of populist BS a cyclist will have to put up with if he wants to ride. The city can help ameliorate (make better) that problem by educating people in good cyclist behavior. It's simple communication. 

I can be as easy as putting up signs that say "Share the road" and marking off bike lanes to get people into the rhythm of minding the right three feet of a road. 

You're probably a hardcore bicyclist, but the idea is to get moms and casual people comfortable with the idea of biking a couple miles for errands. Bike lanes are part of that comfort.


@gmit "Ill treat them just like real vehicles, just like I treat any driver not keeping pace"

So you'll just pass when it's safe to do so?  Great! 



Wait, I'm confused, Austin has a lower score than Houston?


@robbysalz @mavdogAre you going to ride safely?  Legally?

Most bikers in Dallas don't do either of these.  I had a guy today fly up past me while I was sitting still in my lane.  Passed me on the right side at 20+ MPH, in my lane mind you, then flew up onto the sidewalk.  He almost got killed by a guy exiting the shopping center where he decided he'd fly up onto the sidewalk rather than continuing down the street where he belonged.

This guy is by far the typical bike rider in Dallas.  I see stoplights run, stop signs run at very high speed, wild dis-respect for the lane vs sidewalk, passing on the right up against the curb and other dangerous (and illegal) practices weekly by bikers.  Sure I live near the lake so I have to deal with it more than others, but I've seen it all over town.

Frankly, we need a mandatory bike education course for everyone before they renew their DL next.  It would re-educate all the bikers on what is legal and not, and re-educate the drivers on how to treat bikers....respectfully (assuming the bikers are being respectful back) 


@doublecheese @gmit YES, but what I consider to be Safe and what some yahoo on a bicycle not protected by by you know a car might differ slightly and ofcourse I will notify the vehicle he is going too slow 

TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

@CornyDoggy @WylieH

I wouldn't read too much into that. 

I'm pretty sure that as a state, we've all agreed to handicap Houston by 10 points on any scale to help build their self-esteem.

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