It’s really this simple. You either live somewhere where people go places to ride bikes, or they ride bikes to go places. If you want it to be somewhere where people ride bikes to go places (which tends to indicate safer streets for all modes of transportation), look for scenes like this (which I passed while Traveling at the Speed of Bike yesterday). Note the adult tricycle, which tells me this area is welcoming to all ages and abilities.
If you are thinking about moving (as we are in the next few years), check the BikeScore (on the Walkscore site, which also shows transit score) of the city you have in mind (plus its scorecard as a certified Bicycle Friendly Community at the League of American Bicyclists site) and the particular neighborhood you are considering. Also, go to the city’s website and read its Comprehensive Land Use Plan and any other more-specific master plans of interest to you (arts, transportation, etc.).
My husband and I are doing that right now with cities across the USA, and we have one clear leader (besides Atlanta, which I do truly love but my husband does not) that meets our multiple objectives (bikes and urban agriculture for me; sports for my hubby; affordability, arts, mass transit, vibrant public spaces, universities, and cultural diversity and fit* for both of us).
Where you choose to live does determine your health and vitality. Make a fully informed decision next time.
* I have never fit in where I currently live (except for one brief and magical year when we launched the community garden), for multiple reasons, and I always feel like I’m constantly reigning myself in. I have worked around it and lots of good has come from it but I know for sure that there has been an enormous “opportunity cost” for what was actually possible. And I don’t want to live feeling less than I am any more.