Washington is, once again, the most bike-friendly state in the Union.
That’s according to the League of American Bicyclists, which creates annual report cards for every state in the US, taking into account various criteria for being bike-friendly.
“But wait,” you’re saying to yourself, “when did Washington start investing so heavily in bicycling?” You’re not crazy. In fact, Washington’s lowest score (3 out of 5) was for “Infrastructure and Funding.” See below for the full report card.
So, congratulations to everyone working to make cycling a state-level issue, something that is relatively rare in the US. But Washington is in a good place to step things up and start competing on an international level by funding significant infrastructure improvements that can save lives and encourage more walking and biking in every city and town in the state.
In fact, the legislature can start today by funding these trail projects.
More on the bike-friendly designation from the Bicycle Alliance of Washington:
In honor of National Bike Month, the League has released its latest Bicycle Friendly States ranking. Washington state achieved the top ranking nationally for a sixth consecutive year.
“I’m proud that Washington state has again claimed the mantle of the most bicycle-friendly state in America,” said Governor Jay Inslee. “Here in Washington, we recognize a 21st-century transportation system not only includes roads, rail, airports, transit, and ferries, but also bike lanes, sidewalks and trails. Bicycles create jobs, connect communities, and give Washingtonians healthier choices to get around.”
“We’re pleased to again be number one; bicycles play an important role in managing our transportation system,” said WSDOT Secretary Lynn Peterson. “As we continue to find efficiencies in our system, we look forward to partnering with organizations like the Bicycle Alliance of Washington to improve safety and grow bicycling statewide.”
The Bicycle Friendly States Ranking is now more comprehensive than ever, capturing more information than ever before and delving more deeply into the issues embedded in becoming a more bicycle friendly state. The League of American Bicyclists partnered with the Bicycle Alliance of Washington to review and provide recommendations for next steps to make Washington’s streets safer and to grow bicycling statewide.
“We are encouraged to see significant progress in top states like Washington, Delaware, Colorado and Oregon,” said Andy Clarke, president of the League of American Bicyclists. “But, as the scores clearly highlight, there’s much work to be done in critical areas like infrastructure and planning in every state.”
Washington’s top ranking was based on a number of key indicators, including infrastructure and funding that provide on-the-ground bicycle facilities; education and encouragement programs that promote cycling; and passage and enforcement of bicycle-friendly laws that make it safe and comfortable for people of all ages to ride. While the state still has much more to do in making Washington’s roads safer for bicycling, this ranking recognizes Washington’s progress relative to the rest of the nation.
Washington state was recognized as a leader in using the previous federal Transportation Enhancement program and the new Transportation Alternatives federal program for bicycle and pedestrian projects; the League notes that other MAP-21 federal funding programs can be utilized to include biking and walking in all transportation projects.
The Bicycle Friendly States program is more than an annual assessment. Throughout the year, League staff will work actively with state officials and advocacy leaders to help Washington state identify and implement the programs, policies and campaigns that will improve conditions for bicyclists.
“We’re proud of Washington’s continued recognition as one of the best places to bicycle in the entire country,” said Barb Chamberlain, executive director at the Bicycle Alliance of Washington. “At the same time we will continue to work for improvement in how we identify and overcome barriers that keep people from riding, how we better collect and track data and then address issues around bicycle safety and collisions, and how we identify and prioritize opportunities for investment in non-motorized transportation.”
To see how Washington ranked in the five evaluation categories and to learn more about the Bicycle Friendly States program, see www.bikeleague.org/states. For a list of Washington businesses, communities, and universities that have earned recognition from the League, see http://bit.ly/WAbikefriendly.
4 responses to “For sixth year in a row, Washington named most bike-friendly state in the US”
This is great, and congratulations to us. My own pet peeve: as the report points out, “significant gaps exist in crash data collection.” I understand that the most-bike-friendly designation is only relative to other states, so we’re being graded on a curve, but without actual data on injuries and deaths this designation rings hollow – at least to those of us who have been injured, who have had friends die in collisions with cars, and have had countless close calls.
Let’s work on collecting these statistics, which will help us identify areas for improving safety for all concerned.
I also think there is a terrible lack of rider and driver education. Painted signs appear on streets without either community knowing what they mean or how they work. For example, I have met very few cyclists who know that setting the bike on the T sign at intersections trips the traffic light, and that it is possible to let SDOT know if it doesn’t so they can adjust the sensor. I have seen more cyclists than I can count just give up and run a red light. Additionally, other cities in the area use a different symbol (Bellevue uses an X); why isn’t that standardized?
On the other hand, enacting the Vulnerable User Law last year was a fantastic achievement (reported on this blog here: http://www.seattlebikeblog.com/2012/07/05/the-vulnerable-user-law-is-live-in-washington-state/). Now let’s make sure everyone knows about it.
Thanks for the great reporting, Tom, and all the advocacy!
The “T” or “X” are terrible symbols for marking the signal. Much better are the “mini bicycles” yet I rarely am able to trip these. In practice if you look for the loop cut in the pavement and get over that, and if your bike is metal vs Carbon…(not that mine is carbon) it should sense it. However as a commuter I’ve adjusted to which signals I can trip and which ones I either need a car in the lineup, or I hit the crosswalk signal.
MUTCD provides examples of bicycle sensor paint, but doesn’t appear to even require it (“A symbol (see Figure 9C-7) may be placed on the pavement” and “An R10-22 sign (see Section 9B.13 and Figure 9B-2) may be installed to supplement the pavement marking.”). From http://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov/htm/2009/part9/part9c.htm#figure9C07
Note the wording – “may” rather than “must” or “shall”.
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