The League of American Bicyclists recently announced its 2017 Bicycle Friendly State ranking. This is the ninth iteration of the Bicycle Friendly State ranking (since 2008) and the first since 2015.
From the League:
According to Ken McLeod, Policy Director for the League, “2016 proved an ideal time to re-examine and improve the Bicycle Friendly State program. With the passage of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act in late 2015, it was important to ensure that our Bicycle Friendly State ranking process reflected current federal funding laws and provided a strong basis for state improvements now that federal transportation funding was set until 2020. By working with our stakeholders at state Departments of Transportation and statewide advocacy associations, the 2017 Bicycle Friendly State ranking provides a new level of transparency for policy and programmatic comparisons between states. Our hope is that this ranking will provide important feedback and competition for states as they adjust to the FAST Act and pursue innovative bicycling-related actions that will inform future federal policy.”
The League launched its Bicycle Friendly State program in 2008 in order to better understand state efforts related to bicycling and provide a comparative framework that allows states to easily identify areas of improvement. Through our ranking, we hope that states and the public can easily understand the relative strengths and weaknesses of each state’s efforts related to bicycling. Most of the League’s focus is on the behavior of state Departments of Transportation and state legislators. These two groups are powerful policymakers and implementers who have significant impacts on conditions for bicyclists in each state.
The Bicycle Friendly State ranking seeks to rank each state according to its current conditions and efforts related to bicycling. Each state receives a report card that showcases:
- Federal data on bicycling conditions
- Five Bicycle Friendly Actions chosen by the League of American Bicyclists as important indicators of state efforts related to bicycling
- Rankings and scores in five categories analyzed to create the state’s ranking
- A state summary with key points of emphasis
- Feedback Points that provide guidance on improving the state’s ranking and the safety and mobility of bicyclists within the state.
The Bicycle Friendly State ranking is based upon data drawn from several data sources:
- Bike commuting data from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey
- Bicyclist fatality data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System
- Bicycle and Pedestrian spending data from the Federal Highway Administration’s Fiscal Management Information System
- Survey responses from state Departments of Transportation to the combined Bicycle Friendly State & Benchmarking Survey
- Data on advocacy and bicycle-related laws maintained by the League of American Bicyclists.
To learn more about the data on each Bicycle Friendly State Report Card, please reference this Guide that describes the data sources, calculations, and surveys used to create the report cards and rankings. The Guide as well as charts and maps that illustrate the data used to develop the 2017 Bicycle Friendly State rankings can be found by following this link.
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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.”
“In Washington, we’re focusing on connected communities and sustainable transportation, and bicycling is an important element of that multimodal system,” said Washington Secretary of Transportation Lynn Peterson. “There’s more work ahead, and this recognition tells us we’re on the right path.”
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 fourth 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 twelfth 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.
See the rankings
- You can find all the state rankings here.
- View Bicycle Friendly report cards of each state.
- Learn more about how the states are evaluated and ranked here.