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2013 map of League of American Bicyclists rankings. Gray mean low ranking, pale yellow indicates the most support.
2013 map of League of American Bicyclists rankings. Gray mean low ranking, pale yellow indicates the most support.

Is Your State Bicycle-Friendly?

With its massive 10,000 bicycle share program about to rollout in New York City, you would think the Empire State ranked high in terms of its bicycle-friendliness. Think again.

When the League of American Bicyclists issued its 2013 bike-friendly rankings of American states, Washington state again ranked first for the sixth year in row, followed by Colorado, Oregon, Minnesota, and Delaware. But over the last six years, rankings have shifted, some dramatically. In 2008, Colorado ranked 22, while Minnesota held the number two slot. While the Rocky Mountain state improved its support for bicycle mobility, moving up 20 places, states like New York (ranked 34 in 2008) and Nebraska (33 in 2009), have gradually slipped over the years, dropping to 43 and 41 respectively.

Perhaps the biggest single one year shift was Delaware, which jumped from 10th place last year to 5th place. US Today reports that Delaware governor Jack Markell, a cyclist himself, says his state focuses on cycling because it brings employment.

"Jobs are going to go where the talent is, and talented people are going to work in places where they want to live, and having amenities for bicycling is a very attractive thing."

That seems to support the views of urbanists like Richard Florida, who contend that what he calls 'cultural creatives' are being attracted to active city centers where bicycles offer a low cost, often more efficient, form of personal mobility.

The League of American Bicyclists uses a nationwide network of volunteers who complete surveys that consider a states support for five key areas:

  • Engineering: Physical infrastructure and hardware to support cycling

  • Education: Programs that ensure the safety, comfort and convenience of cyclists and fellow road users

  • Encouragement: Incentives, promotions and opportunities that inspire and enable people to ride

  • Enforcement: Equitable laws and programs that ensure motorists and cyclists are held accountable

  • Evaluation: Processes that demonstrate a commitment to measuring results and planning for the future

The American NGO also offers similar ratings for individual communities, businesses and universities. Links to those rankings are available on the Bike League website.

Here are the individual state rankings.

2013 Bike League rankings by state for 2013

Posted By: Bill Moore [06-May-2013]