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Go west, young cyclist: Some of the safest cities to ride a bike in are in California, security firm says

Bicyclists ride along Market Street in San Francisco on May 9, 2013. While cycling is popular in San Francisco, the California city did not rank as one of the safest in the country. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
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Pedal your bicycle to California if you’re looking for the safest cities for biking, a home security service has found.

If you’re looking for a worry-free ride, six of the top 10 biking cities can be found in the Golden State — although so is the most dangerous metropolis for bicycles in the United States. That would be Los Angeles, of course, where residents’ DNA seems to contain octane molecules.

Surprisingly, cyclists in Iowa don’t seem to fare well either: Five cities in the most dangerous rankings are in the Hawkeye State.

Should we re-write traffic laws for bicycles — based on what the bicycling scofflaws do?

Here are the organization’s rankings:

Top 10 Safest Cities

  1. Davis, Calif.
  2. Berkeley, Calif.
  3. Boulder, Colo.
  4. Eugene, Ore.
  5. Palo Alto, Calif.
  6. Chico, Calif.
  7. Mountain View, Calif.
  8. Fort Collins, Colo.
  9. Santa Barbara, Calif.
  10. New Haven, Conn.

10 Most Dangerous Cities

  1. Los Angeles
  2. New York
  3. Webster City, Iowa
  4. Jamestown, N.D.
  5. Fargo, N.D.
  6. Houston
  7. Waterloo, Iowa
  8. Sioux City, Iowa
  9. Johnston, Iowa
  10. Des Moines

Your Local Security, which is an affiliate of ADT, analyzed factors such as bicycle fatalities, state and local traffic laws, infrastructure and spending on bicycle infrastructure and found, not surprisingly, that the safest cities have the highest number of people who walk or use bicycles to get to work and the most laws designed to maximize commuting by bicycles. Those cities also had the fewest fatalities.

Alice Good, who worked on the project with author Laura Schmitz, said Thursday in an email that their report examined data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the Census Bureau, as well as from the League of American Bicyclists and People for Bikes.

The rankings are interesting but also a little curious, if only because D.C. — which is often ranked as one of the best overall cities for bicycling — didn’t make the cut, either as a city in the nation or in the best per state rankings. True, the District not a state, but the city also doesn’t have the sort of traffic laws that boosted the rankings of others, Good said.

Looking at the safest city in each state, the organization ranked Arlington, Va., and Glen Burnie, Md., among the best.

The full report by YourLocalSecurity.com can be found here.

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