Congratulations to the state of Washington for once again ranking No. 1 on the list of Bicycle Friendly States compiled by the League of American Bicyclists.
This marks the sixth year in the row that Washington has led the list compiled by the bicycle advocacy group.
The list is released every year on the first day of May, which is Bike Month. In fact, Washington has topped the list since its inception.
Best, worst states
The other top states on the list all changed places from last year. They are: No. 2, Colorado (up from No. 4 in 2012); No. 3, Oregon (up from No. 5); No. 4, Minnesota (down from No. 2); and No. 5, Delaware (up from No. 10).
The five worst states are: No. 50, North Dakota; No. 49, Alabama; No. 48 New Mexico; No. 47, Kentucky; and No. 46, South Dakota.
Arkansas, the lowest ranked state in 2012, rose to 37th for this year’s list.
Why does the League choose Washington state as the most bike friendly? Essentially, the state scores the highest in five categories on a report card.
Washington scored 5 out of 5 in Legislation and Enforcement, and 5 out of 5 in Education and Encouragement. The state scored 4 out of 5 on Policies and Programs, and 3 out of 5 in Infrastructure and Funding, and Evaluation and Funding.
Further the state achieved 9 out of the top 10 signs of success: vulnerable user road law; complete streets policy; dedicated state funding; active state advocacy group (Bicycle Alliance of Washington); state bicycle plan; share the road campaign; bicycle education for police; bicycle safety emphasis in strategic highway safety plan, and congestion mitigation and air quality spending.
Washington state only missed a perfect 10 for 10 by not achieving a 1% rate for statewide bicycle commuting (it hit 0.92% in 2012).
The 1% goal is achievable. States with more than 1% bike commuting are Oregon (2.25%), Alaska (1.32%), Idaho (1.21%), Colorado (1.14%), Montana (1.07%) and California (1.01%).
Also, the League would like to see the Legislature enact a 3-foot passing law.
“We’re proud of Washington’s continued recognition as one of the best places to bicycle in the entire country. At the same time we will continue to work for improvement in how we identify and overcome barriers that keep people from riding, how we better collect and track data and then address issues around bicycle safety and collisions, and how we identify and prioritize opportunities for investment in non-motorized transportation.”
“We’ve made significant gains in improving the conditions for bicyclists and pedestrians in our state, but there much more that we can do through partnerships and low-cost enhancements. The League’s evaluation reinforces the need to include bicycle facilities as part of our transportation programs.”
50 states ranked
Here is the League of American Bicyclist’s Bicycle Friendly State list. Click on the state to find details.
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
More about the 2013 Bicycle Friendly States at the League of American Bicyclists’s blog.