For the seventh year in a row, Washington continues to lead the nation, but states like Utah, Minnesota and California moved up the ranking in 2014, shaking up the top 10.
"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."
How does your state rank?
The 2014 Bicycle Friendly State ranking is now even more comprehensive, capturing more information than ever before and delving more deeply into the issues embedded in becoming a more bicycle friendly state. The ranking now also incorporates a point system out of 100, providing even better context for the ranking.
Rising from 38 to 54 points in 2014, California jumped 10 spots to #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 give cyclists three-feet of space when they pass.
"Better bikeways depend on two things: the right designs and enough funding to build them. California is getting better on both fronts," said 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 $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 #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.
The BFS program is more than an annual assessment. Throughout the year, League staff will work actively with state officials and advocacy leaders to help identify and implement the programs, policies and campaigns that will improve conditions for bicyclists.
Learn more about the Bicycle Friendly States program: bikeleague.org/content/states
The League of American Bicyclists is leading the movement to create a bicycle friendly America for everyone. As leaders, our commitment is to listen and learn, define standards and share best practices to engage diverse communities and build a powerful, unified voice for change. For more information or to support the League, visit www.bikeleague.org.