For 7th straight year, Washington named most bike-friendly state – UPDATED

BFS2014_Washington-cropDespite very little improvement over 2013, Washington State was able to hang on to the top spot on the League of American Bicyclists’ annual list of bike-friendly states. The state scored 66.8 out of 100 points, effectively unchanged from 2013′s 66.2 score.

UPDATE: Governor Jay Inslee hailed the news in a press release announcing his proclamation of May as Bike Month.

“As a bike rider I get to see firsthand all that Washington has done to make bicycling part of a sustainable transportation system,” said Gov. Inslee. “Bicycling helps make healthy communities, healthy people and a rich quality of life.  There’s always more to do, but being named the most bike friendly state shows we are moving on the right path.”

See full press release at the bottom of this post.

The state’s marks for “infrastructure and funding” was already Washington’s lowest point, but the 2014 rank found that the state is now doing even worse. It now gets only 2 points out of 5 in that category.

But Washington gets very strong marks for education, legislation and policies, and those scores are enough to keep it at the top of the nation’s list.

But perhaps not for too long. Minnesota is now giving Washington a run for its money, scoring 62 points compared to 56.6 last year. And since the bar is so low, they might not have to try very hard to take the lead next year if Washington does not step up its game.

According to the Alliance for Biking & Walking’s 2014 Benchmarking Report, Washington State’s annual budget dedicates only $4.19 per resident to walking and biking projects combined. Of the Federal transportation funds Washington receives, only 3.2 percent goes to biking and walking projects. That figure includes bike/walk elements of other roads projects.

If the state is able to pass a transportation funding package that includes strong support for biking and walking, Washington will likely secure its top spot for years to come.

Below is the state-to-state ranking list:

2014_state_ranking_chart-650UPDATE: Here’s a statement from the Governor’s Office:

For the seventh consecutive year, Washington has been named the nation’s No. 1 “Bicycle-Friendly State” by the League of American Bicyclists.

Meanwhile, Washington state will officially celebrate Bike Month in May with a signed proclamation by Governor Jay Inslee describing the many benefits of bicycling.

“As a bike rider I get to see firsthand all that Washington has done to make bicycling part of a sustainable transportation system,” said Gov. Inslee. “Bicycling helps make healthy communities, healthy people and a rich quality of life.  There’s always more to do, but being named the most bike friendly state shows we are moving on the right path.”

Strong partnerships among the state’s cities, counties, advocacy organizations, state agencies and transportation providers form the foundation of Washington’s success in improving conditions for bicycling and walking.

“Being an avid bicyclist, I’ve had an opportunity to explore Washington’s urban and rural roadways this past year,” said Washington Transportation Secretary Lynn Peterson. “We’ll continue to work with our local partners to identify and fund bicycle needs in their areas, especially on highways that also function as main streets in our communities.”

The Washington State Department of Transportation supports bicycling through its Bicycle and Pedestrian programs and provides transportation design guidance, grant programs and technical support.

“We’re pleased and proud that Washington has remained the number one bicycle-friendly state,” said Barb Chamberlain, Washington Bikes executive director. “The work that goes into growing bicycling statewide every year is important for everyday people bicycling to work, school or errands. It’s equally important for Washington’s reputation as an incredible place to experience the great outdoors through bike travel and tourism. What a great way to kick off Bike Month!”

The League of American Bicyclists annually ranks all 50 states on how “bikeable” they are. The League evaluates each state’s cycling success in several categories: legislation and enforcement; policies and programs; infrastructure and funding; education and encouragement; and evaluation and planning.

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10 Responses to For 7th straight year, Washington named most bike-friendly state – UPDATED

  1. SGG says:

    I guess these lobbying groups have to give awards, otherwise they would have nothing to do, but I feel just as unsafe riding in Seattle today as I did yesterday.

  2. Anthony says:

    I disagree with SGG, I feel more unsafe now than back in 1994 when I first started riding in town.

    I can’t thank the folks at all the local cycling organizations enough for trying their best to improve our riding quality while out on the trail.

    That said, the political establishment in this town doesn’t really care about cycling as a mainstream activity, Seattle has gone downhill in helping the regular cyclist, we all need to buy a car first and then we’ll get some attention like anew tunnel or something.

    • RTK says:

      Having been an avid bike commuter in the Seattle region since 1988 I too must say the changes have been immense. Time to stop yet? Not even close, but the tangible changes are real.
      Policy changes have led to infrastructure changes.
      Bike commuting has exploded over that period, I see more riders on a day in January now than I saw any day of the year when I started bike commuting.
      It is a snowball that is building, more infrastructure means more riders, means more visibility and clout. On any given day the change might not be noticeable, and stumbles have been made, but improvements are found all over the city.

  3. Southeasterner says:

    I take this to be horrible news. Governor Walker of WI decimated state spending on bike infrastructure (and everything not related to cars) yet they moved up from 8th to 3rd.

    The only way I can understand how that could happen is if other states are actively removing bicycle infrastructure and discouraging cycling.

  4. pqbuffington says:

    with friends like this…

  5. Mike Lindblom says:

    This is odd….Washington and California are the two best ranked state for infrastructure and funding, even as Tom observes that’s our worst category. Mainly this tells you that a lot of states are doing absolutely nothing.

    • Tom Fucoloro says:

      Yeah. Very low bar. If WA’s $4/resident for combined walk/bike funding makes it a leader… Yikes.

  6. Adam says:

    If anything, I find this ranking rather depressing. Washington can be nice for non-cars in some respects, but it pales so far in comparison to many other countries that I find it nothing to pat ourselves on the back about.

    We have a long way ahead of us in the US until being #1 in the States means anything at all internationally.

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