editor’s note: I’m reprinting the press release from the League of American Bicyclists – because it’s something that most everyday bike riders (especially those who travel) will laugh (or groan) at . But it highlights something extremely important: these abstract planning measurement points (that determine a state’s bicycle friendly ranking) are the same poorly refined measurement ‘tools’ that are needed to do the more glorious tasks: gaining statistical knowledge to secure funding, to create infrastructure and programs. In a way these insane little measurements are what will advance all states. And we need to lobby for creating national, relavant measurement tools (ask the right questions, get better answers).
How can you do that?
For the sixth year in a row, Washington continues to lead the nation, with high performance in all categories. But up-and-coming states — including Delaware, Illinois and Arizona — charged up the ranking in 2013, shaking up the top 10.
“We are encouraged to see significant progress in top states like Washington, Delaware, Colorado and Oregon,” said Andy Clarke, president of the League of American Bicyclists. “But as the scores clearly highlight, there’s much work to be done in critical areas like infrastructure and planning in every state.”
The 2013 Bicycle Friendly State ranking is now even more comprehensive, capturing more information than ever before and delving more deeply into the issues embedded in becoming a more bicycle friendly state.
The BFS program is more than an annual assessment. Throughout the year, League staff will work actively with state officials and advocacy leaders to help identify and implement the programs, policies and campaigns that will improve conditions for bicyclists.
Delaware took a leap in the 2013 ranking, moving from No. 10 to No. 5 in just one year. U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-DE)praised Governor Jack Markell, the state legislature, congressional delegation, advocacy organizations and the people of the First State for prioritizing biking.
“Creating more walkable and bikeable communities boosts air quality by reducing the amount of time cars and trucks idle on our roadways releasing harmful emissions.” Sen. Carper said. “Biking also helps decongest our transportation system, allowing individuals to spend more time working or relaxing with their families instead of wasting time and money sitting in traffic. The benefits of biking are countless, and that’s why I’m proud to support dedicated federal funding for biking and walking infrastructure, as well as the efforts of the League of American Bicyclists and others to promote biking as an invaluable piece of the American transportation system.”
Also making a strong showing in this year’s rank is Colorado — and Gov. John Hickenlooper says he plans to be No. 1 very soon.
“An important part of making Colorado the healthiest state is encouraging people to be more active in their everyday routines,” Hickenlooper said. “We’re proud that our bicycle-friendly policies have skyrocketed Colorado’s rank up 20 places in just five years, and we are committed to being No. 1 in the near future.”
In the Southwest, Arizona moved back into the top 10. Among other strides, the state completed its Bicycle Safety Action plan to improve bicyclist safety on Arizona’s highways.
“The goal is to reduce the number of bicyclist fatalities and injury crashes with motor vehicles,” said Michael Sanders, Arizona Department of Transportation’s bicycle and pedestrian program coordinator. “We ‘crash-typed’ nearly 750 reported crashes that occurred over a five-year period to better define the sequence of actions leading to the collision. For example, we found that over half of all crashes occurred while a motorist was making a right turn. The Plan consists of action items addressing potential changes to policies and education programs, or new tools, such as bicycle road safety audit guidelines, to improve bicyclist safety.”
Learn more about the BFS program at www.bikeleague.org/states.
The Bicycle Friendly America program provides incentives, hands-on assistance, and award recognition for communities, universities and businesses that actively support bicycling, and ranks states annually based on their level of bike-friendliness. Learn more.
7. New Jersey
25. Rhode Island
27. New Hampshire
28. North Carolina
34. South Carolina
43. New York
44. West Virginia
46. South Dakota
48. New Mexico
50. North Dakota
Learn more about this ranking here.
About the League:
The League of American Bicyclists promotes bicycling for fun, fitness and transportation, and works through advocacy and education for a bicycle-friendly America. The League represents the interests of America’s 57 million bicyclists, including its 300,000 members and affiliates.