Bicycle Friendly State Rankings: Washington first, California ninth, Alabama last

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Washington is the most bicycle friendly state for the seventh year in a row.

In celebration of National Bike Month, the League of American Bicyclists has released its 2014 Bicycle Friendly State ranking. For the seventh year in a row, Washington continues to lead the US nation, but states such as Utah, Minnesota and California moved up the ranking in 2014, shaking up the overall top 10.

The bottom five included Kansas, South Carolina, Kentucky, Montana and Alabama, which received 17.4 out of a possible 100 points. (See the full rankings: bikeleague.org

Rising from 38 to 54 points in 2014, California jumped 10 spots to number 9 in the ranking, thanks to notable progress in legislation, funding and policy that will make it easier to build bike lanes and mandate drivers to give cyclists three-feet of space when they pass.

“We’re excited and encouraged to see real progress in states like California, Minnesota and Utah,” said League President, Andy Clarke. “Overall, we still see a lot of opportunity to realize the huge potential of bicycling to promote health, economic development, and quality of life in all 50 states.”

“Better bikeways depend on two things: the right designs and enough funding to build them. California is getting better on both fronts,” added Dave Snyder, Executive Director of the California Bicycle Coalition. “Caltrans has been updating its design manuals – in fact it just endorsed the NACTO Urban Bikeways Design Guide – and spending on biking and walking increased by 30% over 2012 levels.”

“Our jump to one of the top ten states reflects Caltrans’ commitment toward more bike friendly communities,” said California Department of Transportation Director Malcolm Dougherty. “We plan to continue our success by working with our local partners to infuse about US$360 million into biking and other active transportation projects over the next three years.”

Utah also made a move up the ranks, declaring 2013 the ‘Year of the Bike’ and making good on that promise with wide collaboration among advocates and agencies and the passage of key legislation, including a measure that would increase penalties for motorists who injure or kill bicyclists.

“The willingness to collaborate by state and local agencies is fostering improvements at a record pace in all areas of the state,” said Evelyn Tuddenham, the state’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator. “In the past three years, Utah has improved conditions and built programs that address active transportation, as state and local government staff and leaders have joined with advocates to share ideas, solve problems and move efforts forward.”

In the upper Midwest, Minnesota rose in the ranking to number 2, thanks to innovative mapping efforts, new bike-friendly legislation and increased funding for Safe Routes to School and bike routes.

“This year’s Bicycle Friendly State ranking is a great acknowledgement of the dedication and commitment of our many agency partners, advocates and bicyclists from across the state,” said Tim Mitchell, the state’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator.


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  • bradley bleck says:

    As a Washingtonian and sometime cycling activist, commuter and road rider primarily, I’m not sure we deserve number one. Or, maybe I don’t know how good I have it and I’d sure hate to ride in some of those other places. Still, my guess is that the bulk of this ranking is based on the west side of the state, Seattle in particular. Some of the smaller cities do reasonably well, but there is no nirvana here.

  • tom says:

    yes i can attest that i am almost run over three times a week in alabama and we are in a good city for biking in bama!

  • Danny says:

    Very true
    Here in South Carolina I have some days multiple close calls while trying to get a training ride in
    And I live in a small town

  • John Smith says:

    In much of the south the very thought of exercise makes the 75% obese population so angry they can’t control their impulses. Air conditioning is the most significant technological innovation in the south’s history and along with the visual revolution (tv’s, computers, video games) has made the southern US a place of great big bodies and little bitty arms and legs.

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