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League of American Bicyclists Announces 2015 Bicycle Friendly State Ranking

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2015 League of american Bicyclists state rankings

 

Today kicks off National Bike to Work Week. Whether you rode into the office for the first time or the 10,000th time, how your home state approaches bicycle infrastructure and advocacy can have a major impact on your commute. To honor those states who have been doing it right, the League of American Bicyclists has compiled the latest list of the best and the worst states to ride a bicycle.

Check out how your state measures up next…

2015 Bicycle Friendly State Ranking:

  1.    Washington
  2.   Minnesota
  3.   Delaware
  4.   Massachusetts
  5.   Utah
  6.   Oregon
  7.   Colorado
  8.   California
  9.   Wisconsin
  10.  Maryland
  11.  New Jersey
  12.  Pennsylvania
  13.  Virginia
  14.  Illinois
  15.  Maine
  16.  Ohio
  17.  Vermont
  18.  Michigan
  19.  Arizona
  20.  Tennessee
  21.  Idaho
  22.  Connecticut
  23.  North Carolina
  24.  Florida
  25.  Georgia
  26.  Rhode Island
  27.  New Hampshire
  28.  Iowa
  29.  New York
  30.  Texas
  31.  Nevada
  32.  Mississippi
  33. Louisiana
  34.  Missouri
  35.  Wyoming
  36.  Arkansas
  37.  Indiana
  38.  South Dakota
  39.  North Dakota
  40.  New Mexico
  41.  Alaska
  42.  West Virginia
  43.  Hawaii
  44.  South Carolina
  45.  Oklahoma
  46.  Montana
  47.  Nebraska
  48.  Kansas
  49.  Kentucky
  50.  Alabama

From League of American Bicyclists:

On the first day of National Bike To Work Week, the League of American Bicyclists has released its 2015 Bicycle Friendly State ranking.

For the eighth year in a row, Washington continues to lead the nation, but states like Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Utah moved up the ranking in 2015, shaking up the top 20.

“We’re encouraged to see measurable progress and improvement in many states, including Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Utah,” said League President Andy Clarke. “We hope to see continued improvements as more statewide leaders recognize and invest in the many benefits bicycling has to offer.”

Utah made the jump from #8 to #5 this year. The state adopted a Bicycle Master Plan in 2014, setting inter-agency goals for inclusion and support of biking and walking infrastructure in transportation projects.

“We are very proud of the high quality of life enjoyed by Utahns,” said Utah Gov. Gary R. Herbert. “We have worked to support and provide world-class bicycling opportunities across our state, both for commuting to work and enjoying the natural beauty around us. As we meet the evolving demands of our state and plan for the future, amenities like this will help Utah continue to be one of the greatest places to live, work and play.” 

Massachusetts jumped 6 spots to #4 in the ranking, thanks in part to a new transportation bond, which set aside more than $400 million over the next five years for biking and walking projects, Complete Streets projects and the continued implementation of MassDOT’s GreenDOT Initiative.

“This is a tremendous recognition of our collective efforts and the many initiatives in place throughout the Commonwealth which have contributed to our current status as the 4th friendliest bicycle state,” said Stephanie Pollack, Massachusetts Department of Transportation Secretary and CEO. “This has been a great team effort and I want to commend all of our partners in regional and municipal government, and in the bicycling advocacy community for their efforts. And of course, thank you to our many bicyclists across the state who continue to choose bicycling as both a means of transportation and recreation.”

Pennsylvania also made a move up the ranks, going from #19 to #12. The state passed Act 89 at the end of 2013, which is a comprehensive transportation funding plan that includes $84 million in multimodal investments. A minimum of $2 million annually will be directed to biking and walking projects specifically, which will help the state implement the federal Transportation Alternatives Program. 

“We are very proud that Pennsylvania has climbed to 12th in the ranking of Bicycle Friendly States,” said Pennsylvania Acting Secretary of Transportation Leslie S. Richards. “The new ranking reflects a collaborative effort among various stakeholders and our citizens to recognize bicycles as a viable and clean mode of transportation.”

“Pennsylvania’s Act 89, creates an annual minimum funding amount to explicitly embrace bicycling and walking as part of Pennsylvania’s transportation system, supporting a greener approach to multimodal transportation,” Richards continued. 

The BFS program is more than an annual assessment. Throughout the year, League staff work actively with state officials and advocacy leaders to help identify and implement the programs, policies and campaigns that will improve conditions for bicyclists.

bikeleague.org

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Eric Hansen
Eric Hansen
7 years ago

16 out of 50 ain’t bad, but living here and knowing how unfriendly the cycling atmosphere can be, i’d wager the friendliness scale is an exponential decay, rather than a linear decline.

Simon
Simon
7 years ago

Sad to see Wisconsin drop from #3 to #9…but if we’re #9 the top 5 must be cycling utopias

ScottB
ScottB
7 years ago

I am not sure what criteria was used, it must be purely based on legislation and infrastructure plans. Michigan is at 18, I have ridden in many states and consider Michigan to be the worst state I have ridden in. I have found Michigan drivers to be the most openly hostile drivers I have ever experienced. Indiana (37th on the list) is significantly better in terms of driver friendliness and accommodation on the road.

Veganpotter
Veganpotter
7 years ago

I don’t know how Hawaii is ranked worse than Maryland and Wisconsin. I’ve spend a lot of time in each of those states(lived in the latter two for many years). Wisconsin’s road conditions alone should put them well out of the top 35. Even many of their paved bike trails are in worse shape than many open traffic roads in the Philippines. Milwaukee bike lanes are full of potholes and there’s very rarely a buffer zone for parked cars. Maryland has very few bike lanes but where it has them, parking is typically considered. Its the drivers in Maryland that are often not so friendly. Hawaii doesn’t have tons of bike lines but generally very courteous drivers and great pavement(I’ve logged many hundreds of miles in Maui, Oahu and The Big Island)

John
John
7 years ago

States without a three-foot law should get an automatic failing grade.

Robert W
Robert W
7 years ago

States with a three-foot law should get an automatic failing grade.

Padrote
Padrote
7 years ago

AINT NO PARTY LIKE A WEST COAST PARTY

Veganpotter
Veganpotter
7 years ago

Robert W…

Do you want a 12 foot law or no law at all?

Slow Joe Crow
Slow Joe Crow
7 years ago

I’m glad Oregon is out of the top 5, as long we have the stupid sidepath law and no Idaho Stop law we don’t deserve top 5 and Portland should lose platinum status for the MTB hate.

Veganpotter
Veganpotter
7 years ago

Portland sucks because they don’t have the Idaho stop law and Idaho is 20th? I’d like the Idaho stop law but its really just a minor inconvenience to not have it. It does little for safety and I’ve had enough problems with cyclists pretending there’s an Idaho stop law(or now law) while nearly mowing me down when I ride legally at intersections.

Veganpotter
Veganpotter
7 years ago

*Oregon…not Portland

onion
onion
7 years ago

For the record, Oregon is in the process of instituting a similar stop law. SB 533 passed through the Senate, and is going through the House this week. I believe it allows bicycles and motorcycles to proceed though a red, but only if the intersection is clear and they have waited a full cycle without being given a green. Not full Idaho stop freedom, but seems pretty fair. Especially because of all the bozos out there who run reds in traffic and give the rest of us a bad name.

John
John
7 years ago

FWIW, there is a big difference between a “dead red” light (where bikes don’t trip the automatic traffic light sensors to change the light) and an “Idaho stop” (which lets bicyclists treat stop signs as a yield signs).

bikermark
bikermark
7 years ago

Re. Hawaii: The state’s low ranking has to do with its refusal to spend anything on biking facilities. The state DOT is openly hostile towards bicycling. This is also true of Alabama. Funding is weighted heavily in these rankings.

scentofreason
scentofreason
7 years ago

BOOM! Washington is number one baby! Please come visit us and find out why. Highly recommend the Spokane area. Endless empty country backroads for road cycling. Plenty of outstanding moutainbiking in and around town. (West sides not to bad either, a little more traffic, a lot more rain, a little farther to drive to the mountain biking – but still tons of great riding).

Paul
Paul
7 years ago

This is cute, but because I had nothing else to do, I ran the correlations with other rankings like income, education, ‘greenness’, recycling, ‘happiness’ etc and they’re all quite weak… not sure what to say, but I am now questioning the validity of this ranking.

badbikemechanic
badbikemechanic
7 years ago

WTF! So where is the district of Columbia?!? I know we don’t have any representation in congress, but being excluded from this site is ridiculous! The cycling race culture and infrastructure is hands down the best I have ever experienced.

Matthew
Matthew
7 years ago

@VeganPotter: I have no idea what part of Hawaii you rode, but I was stationed on Oahu and it was awful. One of the worst places in the world to ride (and I’ve rode in countries that still have land mine problems). Doubly so if you’re “haole”, in which case you’re taking your own life into the balance if you ride outside the densely packed tourist areas.

I’m currently in New York, and I’m surprised it was as high as #29. There’s some great places to ride, especially in rural upstate… But at the state level New York is inept. Seriously: we have a nearby state bike route on a four lane road with a 55 mph speed limit and no cyclist facilities- not even a shoulder.

Honestly though, I’m surprised Missouri isn’t #50. Seems like they have an annual braindead anti-cyclist piece of legislation EVERY SINGLE YEAR. 2015 had a requirement for cyclists to purchase motor vehicle equivalent insurance. 2014 and 2013 brought an attempted ban on cycling infrastructure funding. There was a requirement for fluorescent riding vests in 2013 and 2012 had a ban on cyclists using roads in the state highway system. 2009 they attempted to make it a crime to cross yellow lines in order to safely pass a cyclist. And even if none of those laws passed, the police of that state still pull cyclists over for violating them … Happened to me on a cross-country tour last year.

Javan
Javan
7 years ago

49th I guess it could be worse

Tim
Tim
7 years ago

Great! I just bought my son a bicycle to get around town and campus while he’s at college. He goes to college in Alabama (sad face)

Andy
Andy
7 years ago

Washington, sitting pretty at no. 1.

Veganpotter
Veganpotter
7 years ago

Matthew…
I lived in Hickam AFB(even though I’m a Navy Brat) when I was a kid but frequently visit. My sister lived in Kaneohe and I visited her there and also when she moved to Kona(rode in Hilo too). She now lives in Makawao, Maui. I’d much prefer riding there than Maryland and most definitely Wisconsin. Maybe the fact that I’m a bigger Filipino and can sorta pass as local may let me slide but I’ve only had one bad altercation in Hawaii while biking and have issues with drivers nearly every day I’m in Maryland and Wisconsin. Hawaii has little biking infrastructure but I feel the way people drive should matter, as well as shoulder width, even if its not marked for bikes. I admit, I’ve been passed by drivers driving way over the speed limit in Hawaii but I’ve always been given tons of space, even if it’s occasionally crossed my mind that they may have been trying to scare me by passing quickly. Milwaukee and Madison, WI have bike lanes all over the place. I don’t want anything to do with the bike lanes or drivers in Milwaukee(Madison is much better but even their pavement is only OK)

Simon
Simon
7 years ago

I have to defend Madison’s roads (city proper) but I have ridden some country roads where I’ve thought “this must be what Paris-Roubaix feels like”

Not much to be done for it though, winters absolutely wreck them and chip seal is the preferred method of repair out in farmland.

Veganpotter
Veganpotter
7 years ago

Simon…
I’ve heard the winter excuse for Wisconsin. I’ve also ridden in the Twin Cities and know their typical winters are far worse in terms of snow and cold. Calgary doesn’t have the snow(typically) but they literally have fairly common 60degree swings in temperature over a day or two and their roads are in spectacular shape.

Yes…Madison isn’t bad but they’re the shining light of Wisconsin when it comes to road conditions and it gets progressively worse as you leave the capitol. Outside of that…the rest of the state is deplorable. I left due to neck problems from a car accident being aggravated by the roads. Now that I’m in Maryland, mostly all those issues are gone and Maryland only has OK roads compared to Utah, Oregon and even Virginia. Wisconsin does not deserve to be in the top 10 because they have plans to build bike lanes /trails that they have zero plans on keeping in useable condition.

kelly johnson
kelly johnson
7 years ago

I’m surprised Idaho is that bad. Perhaps it makes more sense to rate locally. Boise is great (and improving fast), but I don’t know about the rest of Idaho. Plus, I can’t imagine commuting in some of the towns in Cali I’ve been recently (Palm Springs). Or maybe my impressions are just off. I will say that no matter where you are, there’s room for improvement.

JasonK
JasonK
7 years ago

How odd…I’ve lived in most of the places under discussion.

I agree that Madison’s roads are in iffy condition, but overall the riding here is pretty great. I’d prefer it if the city would maintain its roads as Minneapolis does, but things are so politically divided here that things like local transportation policy just, uh, fall through the cracks.

I used to have family on the big island of Hawaii and did a fair bit of riding around Kona. It was miserable! The locals sometimes buzzed riders for fun, and the tourists made things very dangerous for everyone: the Americans were jet lagged and dopey, and the Japanese were jet lagged and driving on the right-hand side of the road for the first time ever. The locals would get annoyed at the tourists doing 35 mph on King K highway, and PASS ON THE RIGHT using the generous shoulder that I and other cyclists rode on. If the locals didn’t see you as they moved right and accelerated, that was all she wrote.

Tri-geeks would ride along in ecstasy, seemingly thinking, “OMG I’m riding the ironman route!!!1” which baffled me. I mean yeah, live the dream, but there’s a 30-mph headwind, the drivers are aggressive and/or incompetent and there are only about three roads to ride on the whole island. (Up near Waimea was better, but still, there just weren’t that many places to ride a road bike).

I grew up racing in Maryland, and there are some fantastic little Pyrenees-like roads around Ellicott City. It’s in a valley, and there are about 15 different tiny roads climbing up from the valley including Ilchester, at a 25% gradient. The climbs aren’t nearly as long as those in the Pyrenees, but they’re steep and windy.

Drew Maito
Drew Maito
7 years ago

kelly–
try riding out in burley. . .lots of diesels with coffee-can exhaust there just waiting to smoke you out. not pleasant. or anywhere in 4C for that matter, especially during one of the county’s stop-and-frisk drug bust operations.

fast foreward freddy
fast foreward freddy
7 years ago

Props to Cascade Bicycle Club, and Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance. These organizations are why Washington is at the top, powerful political groups that make sure cycling interests are represented.

Veganpotter
Veganpotter
7 years ago

JasonK…I’m about to leave to ride to Ellicott City right now. While fun for around here(I live in Pasadena, MD), I don’t trust anything you say after comparing Ellicott city to any epic riding destination. Again, good for around here but pretty darn average at best if you’ve ridden anywhere even remotely cool.

The Conductor
The Conductor
7 years ago

“Massachusetts jumped 6 spots to #4 in the ranking, thanks in part to a new transportation bond, which set aside more than $400 million over the next five years for biking and walking projects, Complete Streets projects and the continued implementation of MassDOT’s GreenDOT Initiative.”

Lifelong MA resident here: Out of that 400 million, new bike lane paint may be applied in Boston. Maybe some bike path work. But like everything in the MA, the other categories may suck up most of the funding. Read just the mass dot (not including the green streets) objectives, and tell me how much will be left for cycling. After MassDot builds themselves a new office, there will be about $18 left over.

MassDot:

The Plan centers around sixteen sustainability goals organized under seven sustainability themes illustrated below:

Goals
Air
Reduce greenhouse gas emissions
Improve statewide air quality
Energy
Consume less energy
Increase reliance on renewable energy
Land
Minimize energy + chemicals used in maintenance
Enhance ecological performance of MassDOT impacted land
Materials
Improve life-cycle impacts of investments
Purchase environmentally preferred products
Build green facilities for MassDOT
Policy/Planning
Design a multi-modal transportation system
Promote healthy transportation + livable communities
Triple mode share of bicycling, transit + walking
Waste
Achieve zero solid waste disposal
Reduce all exposure to hazardous waste
Water
Use less water
Improve ecological function of water systems

DGaw
DGaw
7 years ago

I’m from Seattle and used to think that WA, overall, was a fairly cycle-friendly place. I am now very fortunate to live in The Hague. My opinion has changed. Sadly, the U.S. simply does not support or understand cycling culture. Aside from the 32,000+ km of cycle routes that cross all of The Netherlands (dedicated paths, isolated lanes, or at absolute least, low traffic “cycle-friendly” roads) the greatest factor to this country being both a pleasure to cycle in and also very safe is that nearly everyone that is driving a motor vehicle is also likely first a cyclist. This factor alone means that drivers are aware of cyclists and how they behave. Both as a commuter and as a road cyclist, this country is a dream. …that said, I’d kill for a hill to climb now and again.

JasonK
JasonK
7 years ago

Vega potter, I didn’t mean to say that Ellicott City was the Pyrenees, but Rather that some parts of it have steep and windy climbs that remind me of the Pyrenees. They’re not the same, that’s for sure. (I’ve ridden in both places, FWIW).

You’re so blasé about it that I suspect you haven’t found the good climbs there yet. Either that, or you think King K highway is awesome riding, and our tastes are just different. These are things about which reasonabLe people can disagree.

JasonK
JasonK
7 years ago

So many typos…I need to stop posting from my phone.

Hern
7 years ago

Alaska is more bike friendly than 9 other states. How bad is Alabama?!

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