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

A man pushes his mother in a wheelchair down Ocean Drive in South Beach, Miami on May 19, 2020, amid the novel coronavirus pandemic. CHANDAN KHANNA / AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. reported more than 55,000 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, in a sign that the outbreak is not letting up as the Fourth of July weekend kicks off.

Read More Show Less
To better understand how people influence the overall health of dolphins, Oklahoma State University's Unmanned Systems Research Institute is developing a drone to collect samples from the spray that comes from their blowholes. Ken Y. / CC by 2.0

By Jason Bruck

Human actions have taken a steep toll on whales and dolphins. Some studies estimate that small whale abundance, which includes dolphins, has fallen 87% since 1980 and thousands of whales die from rope entanglement annually. But humans also cause less obvious harm. Researchers have found changes in the stress levels, reproductive health and respiratory health of these animals, but this valuable data is extremely hard to collect.

Read More Show Less

Sunscreen pollution is accelerating the demise of coral reefs globally by causing permanent DNA damage to coral. gonzalo martinez / iStock / Getty Images Plus

On July 29, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law a controversial bill prohibiting local governments from banning certain types of sunscreens.

Read More Show Less
Oat milk is popping up at coffee shops and grocery stores alike, quickly becoming one of the trendiest plant-based milks. jacqueline / CC by 2.0

By Kelli McGrane

Oat milk is popping up at coffee shops and grocery stores alike, quickly becoming one of the trendiest plant-based milks.

Read More Show Less

"Emissions from pyrotechnic displays are composed of numerous organic compounds as well as metals," a new study reports. Nodar Chernishev / EyeEm / Getty Images

Fireworks have taken a lot of heat recently. In South Dakota, fire experts have said President Trump's plan to hold a fireworks show is dangerous and public health experts have criticized the lack of plans to enforce mask wearing or social distancing. Now, a new study shows that shooting off fireworks at home may expose you and your family to dangerous levels of lead, copper and other toxins.

Read More Show Less
Billions worth of valuable metals such as gold, silver and copper were dumped or burned last year as electronic waste produced globally jumped to a record 53.6 million tons. Curtis Palmer / CC by 2.0

By Ashutosh Pandey

Billions worth of valuable metals such as gold, silver and copper were dumped or burned last year as electronic waste produced globally jumped to a record 53.6 million tons (Mt), or 7.3 kilogram per person, a UN report showed on Thursday.

Read More Show Less

Trending

A women walks with COVID-19 care kits distributed by Boston's Office of Neighborhood Services in Boston, Massachusetts on May 28, 2020. The pandemic has led to a rise in single-use plastic items, but reusable bags and cloth masks can be two ways to reduce waste. JOSEPH PREZIOSO / AFP via Getty Images

This month is Plastic Free July, the 31 days every year when millions of people pledge to give up single-use plastics.

Read More Show Less