Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

How Does Your State Rank for Being Bike Friendly?

Business

Thinking about taking your bike out for a spin? Chances are your commute will be a lot smoother if you live in the western U.S. compared to, say, the south. The League of American Bicyclists has released their annual rankings of the most bike-friendly states in the U.S. on a 0-to-100 point scale. Washington sits first on the list with 66.2 points while Alabama is dead last with 12.3 points.

Here are the best states for bicycling. Where does your state rank? Photo Credit: League of American Bicyclists

The rankings are based on a questionnaire that's answered by each state's Bicycle Coordinator and examines the following "bikability" categories: legislation and enforcement, policies and programs, infrastructure and funding, education and encouragement, and evaluation and planning. This translates to bike lanes and paths, safety laws, leaders who promote cycling tourism, etc.

Impressively, the Evergreen State has held onto the top spot since the organization kicked off its yearly rankings in 2008, making the state an eight-time consecutive champ. However, the league suggested that the state not get too complacent.

How bike friendly is your state?
Photo credit: Shutterstock

"Although Washington State has been number one for the past eight years, the gap between number two [Minnesota, 62.7 points] and number three [Delaware, 54.8 points] has steadily decreased since 2013," the league said.

The league gave Washington, as well as the other 49 states, some feedback on how to encourage more people to get on their bikes on their "report card" section. For Washington, one suggestion was that their State Department of Transportation should "build upon its past successes by increasing staff capacity for planning, engineering, and implementation of solutions that make bicycling and walking safer and more convenient."

Read page 1

For bottom-ranked Alabama, which dropped from 17.4 points last year, one suggestion read, "Alabama has a high rate of bicyclist fatalities. Ensure that bicycle safety is a major emphasis in all transportation projects, programs and policies to address this issue."

So what makes a state bike-friendly? There are several factors, the League notes, including:

  • There is a designated Transportation Alternatives program manager and the state bicycle and pedestrian coordinator works full-time on biking and walking issues.
  • State office buildings, state park and recreation facilities, and other state facilities are required to provide bicycle parking.
  • People on bikes and pedestrians have access across all major bridges and tunnels.
  • There are increased penalties injuring or killing vulnerable road users, including bicyclists.
  • Speed limits can be 20mph or lower.
  • It is illegal for drivers to drive distracted or use a handheld cell phone or to text while driving.
  • Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) funds are spent promptly on bicycling and walking projects, and not transferred.
  • The tourism board actively promotes bicycle tourism.
  • There are few bicyclist fatalities.
  • The state has up to date statewide bicycle and pedestrian plans and is making progress towards implementing them.
  • Bicycles are allowed on Amtrak trains, regional passenger rail and state operated buses.
  • The state has a Share the Road campaign and a Share the Road driver training for state employees.

It's also important for states to sponsor initiatives and awareness campaigns to promote biking. Wired noted how Massachusetts (which shot up to fourth place after coming in 10th last year) launched a GreenDOT program that aims triple the amount of walking, bicycling and public transit use in the state between 2010 and 2030 as a health and environmental sustainability initiative.

“We really saw them step up and commit to biking, walking being an important part of their transportation system,” Ken McLeod, a legal specialist who worked on the rankings, told Wired.

Hopefully, other states will further develop initiatives to get people to ditch four wheels for two. Besides, more people are biking than ever. In an previous post, we mentioned that bike commuting has boomed 60 percent in the last decade, making it the fastest-growing mode of transportation.

The top 10 most bike-friendly states are listed below. If your state isn't on the list, click on this link to see the complete rankings.

The top 10, based on five categories: legislation and enforcement, education and encouragement, evaluation and planning, policies and programs, and infrastructure and funding. Photo Credit: League of American Bicyclists

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Finally an Electric Bike Cool Enough to Ride

20-Mile Bike Lane Is Also Massive Solar Array

5 Reasons Cargo Bikes Are the Perfect Mode of Transportation

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

More than 1,000 people were told to evacuate their homes when a wildfire ignited in the foothills west of Denver Monday, Colorado Public Radio reported.

Read More Show Less

Accessibility to quality health care has dropped for millions of Americans who lost their health insurance due to unemployment. mixetto / E+ / Getty Images

Accessibility to quality health care has dropped for millions of Americans who lost their health insurance due to unemployment. New research has found that 5.4 million Americans were dropped from their insurance between February and May of this year. In that three-month stretch more Americans lost their coverage than have lost coverage in any entire year, according to The New York Times.

Read More Show Less
Heat waves are most dangerous for older people and those with health problems. Global Jet / Flickr / CC by 2.0

On hot days in New York City, residents swelter when they're outside and in their homes. The heat is not just uncomfortable. It can be fatal.

Read More Show Less
Nearly 250 U.S. oil and gas companies are expected to file for bankruptcy by the end of next year. Joshua Doubek / Wikimedia Commons / CC by 3.0

Fracking companies are going bankrupt at a rapid pace, often with taxpayer-funded bonuses for executives, leaving harm for communities, taxpayers, and workers, the New York Time reports.

Read More Show Less
Trump introduces EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler during an event to announce changes to the National Environmental Policy Act, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on Jan. 9, 2020 in Washington, DC. The changes would make it easier for federal agencies to approve infrastructure projects without considering climate change. Drew Angerer / Getty Images

A report scheduled for release later Tuesday by Congress' non-partisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) finds that the Trump administration undervalues the costs of the climate crisis in order to push deregulation and rollbacks of environmental protections, according to The New York Times.

Read More Show Less
The American Federation of Teachers (AFT), National Education Association (NEA), and AASA, The School Superintendents Association, voiced support for safe reopening measures. www.vperemen.com / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA

By Kristen Fischer

It's going to be back-to-school time soon, but will children go into the classrooms?

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) thinks so, but only as long as safety measures are in place.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Critics charge the legislation induces poor communities to sell off their water rights. Pexels

By Eoin Higgins

Over 300 groups on Monday urged Senate leadership to reject a bill currently under consideration that would incentivize communities to sell off their public water supplies to private companies for pennies on the dollar.

Read More Show Less