Washington remains the most bicycle friendly state in the nation for the fifth year in a row, according to an appraisal by the League of American Bicyclists released Tuesday.
The state earned a score of 4 out of 5 in the categories of Legal, Policies and Infrastructure, and a perfect 5 in Education and Evaluation.
Other states in the top 10 are, in order, Minnesota, Massachusetts, Colorado, Oregon, Wisconsin, New Jersey, Maryland, Maine and Delaware.
At the bottom of the list are Montana, Alabama, West Virginia, North Dakota and, the least bicycle friendly — Arkansas.
Washington state leads the nation in creating new bicycle infrastructure and using federal funds for bicycle and pedestrian projects, according to the League’s announcement.
This honor for Washington is due in no small part by the advocacy efforts of the Bicycle Alliance of Washington and the Cascade Bicycle Club. Last year, for instance, the groups advocated for passage of a Vulnerable Users Law that holds motorists accountable when they strike a pedestrian or bicyclist. The law goes into effect June 1.
Becoming a member of these types of organizations in any city or state helps strengthen the voice of bicyclists when they seek better laws and safer roads.
The League said the bike groups in Washington have “some of the highest advocacy capacity” in the nation.
Quoting Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire:
“People in the Pacific Northwest embrace bicycling as part of a lifestyle that honors the environment, healthier living and transportation choices. This title once again confirms that we’re on the right track, supporting bicycling as a transportation option in our communities.”
Outgoing executive director Barbara Culp was quoted at the Bicycle Alliance of Washington:
“Thanks to the League of American Bicyclists for this award. This honor comes with much responsibility for the state, bicycle advocates and others to continue to strive for complete streets ordinances in every community and Safe Routes to every school. This is a call to anyone who rides a bike to hold your city, county and state officials accountable to an even more bike-friendly state.”
The League says that, to improve, Washington needs to expedite Complete Streets training and guidance for engineers and planners to “increase bicycle mode share,” which is currentlyu ninth in the nation. See the Washington state bicycle report card.
Delaware and Colorado
Entering the Top 10 for the first time are Colorado (4) and Delaware (10).
Colorado was credited with its share of bicycle commuting that double the national average and a high-ranking statewide advocacy group (Bicycle Colorado). It’s transportation department also is bicycle friendly.
Delaware’s departments of Transportation and Natural Resources and Environmental Control are creating a multi-modal transportation system in the state, says the League. Again, the League also credits the statewide bicycle advocacy group, Bike Delaware, for much of the progress.
Overall, League president Andy Clarke said that there are disturbing trends in funding and infrastructure. The states are lagging behind the cities and the expectations of local cyclists.
The League works throughout the year to help states identify and implement bicycle programs. This year, it updated the evaluation process to get a better picture of states’ accomplishments.
Mississippi might be an example of a state that, in spite of its low ranking, is seeking to improve its lot. The state advocacy group — Bike Walk Mississippi — is working at the community level to make streets and roads safer for bicycling.
Bicycle Friendly States (Follow this link for map of Bicycle Friendly States; click on state for details)
- New Jersey
- New Hampshire
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
- Rhode Island
- South Dakota
- New York
- New Mexico
- West Virginia
- North Dakota