January 28, 2010
2010 Benchmarking Report:
The State of Bicycling and Walking in the US

alliance2coverThe Alliance for Biking and Walking released their biennial report today, called the U.S. Bicycling and Walking Benchmarking Report.  This project is an on-going effort spearheaded by the Alliance for Biking and Walking to collect and analyze data on bicycling and walking in all 50 states and at least the 50 most-populated U.S. cities.  The Benchmarking Report is an essential resource and tool for government officials, advocates, and those working to promote bicycling and walking. The Alliance continues to expand the scope of this project while refining its methods. This first biennial report was released August 29, 2007.  Through the ongoing Benchmarking Project, the Alliance will publish an updated version every two years.  The data offers advocates and government officials benchmarks and recommendations so that they can improve bicycling and walking in the US.

Check out the report or purchase it here.

View this quick facts report, a cheat sheet revealing a South Carolina perspective of the report.
A South Carolina Perspective
The 2010 Benchmarking Report shows that while 5% of trips in South Carolina are by bicycle or foot, bicyclists and pedestrians account for 12% of traffic fatalities.
Lack of investment in bicycling and walking could be to blame.  According to the report, South Carolina spends just 0.4% of its federal transportation dollars on biking and walking, ranking 47 among states in the nation for investing in biking and walking. This amounts to just $0.44 per person.
According to Palmetto Cycling Coalition's Director Rachael Kefalos, "this report highlights not only how poorly South Carolina ranks in terms of levels of bicycling and walking, funding for these programs, and overall safety--but it clearly demonstrates that in order to make our streets safe and inviting for all citizens, and to reverse the obesity epidemic looming over South Carolina, state and local officials must make investing in bicycling and walking a long-term priority."

Listed below are four primary take-aways from the Benchmarking Report.  Please take a moment to review these.

Current levels of bicycling are low compared to other states
bike lane riding
In the analysis of US States in bicycling to work rates, South Carolina ranked 44th.  An estimated 0.5% of all trips made in SC are by bicycle, and 0.2% of trips to work are by bicycle.  From 1990 to 2007, SC saw a 17% drop in bicycle to work levels.  There is a significant gap between men and women in terms of bicycling rates in the state: 90% of those trips taken on bicycle are by men, while women comprise only 10% of those trips.
safetySecond most dangerous state for bicycling

According to the Benchmarking Report analysis, South Carolina is the second most dangerous state in the nation for bicycling with 20.2 deaths per 10,000 bicyclists.  Bicyclists account for 1.6% of all traffic fatalities in the in the state-making it one of the most riskiest state for bicycling, along with Alabama, Louisiana and North Carolina.
Spending on bike/ped projects remains low
Along with West Virginia and Virginia, SC spent the smallest percentage of funds on bicycle and pedestrian projects among states in the US-0.4% of federal transportation dollars, or $0.44 per capita.  Spending of Transportation Enhancement dollars in SC, the best known funding source for bike/ped projects, was the lowest rate of any state in the nation.
haribsonImpact of bicycling and walking on public health is substantial

Analyzing data from 1960 to 2000 revealed that as bicycling and walking levels have plummeted in the nation, overweight levels have steadily increased and obesity levels have soared.  South Carolina, which has relatively low levels of bicycling, has an overweight population of 65% and obese population of 29%.
How can you help?
You may be concerned about the findings of this report.  So, how can you help?
  • First and foremost: Be a safe and lawful bicyclist.  Remember: you are representing all cyclists in the state when you are out on the road or trail
  • Donate to the Coalition!  Your donations ensure our success in our efforts to turn South Carolina around
  • Talk to your public officials: Let them know you want to see more support for bicycle/walking initiatives and funding.  View our fact sheet or cheat sheet, educate yourself, and use these documents as talking points with speaking with your municipal, county, state or legislative officials.  Attend local council meetings, hearings--make your voice heard!
  • Get involved: Join local advocacy groups & clubs that support bike/ped causes. 

Thank you for all you do!

Rachael Kefalos
Palmetto Cycling Coalition
(803) 445-1099

We need your support to fuel our efforts!
South Carolina is behind the eight-ball, and now more than ever, the Coalition needs the support of cyclists like yourself to continue our efforts of making SC more bicycle friendly.  We are THE voice for cyclists across South Carolina.  If your membership has lapsed, please renew today!  If you are not currently a member, please consider becoming one.
Your donations ensure our success.  Again, thank you for your support!