“For the first time since the Bicycle Friendly States ranking began in 2008, a state other than Washington claimed the top position,” wrote the League of American Bicyclists in their summary of their 2022 Bicycle Friendly States report. However, Massachusetts and Oregon should enjoy their victory while they can because Washington has already taken major action to address the area where the state was docked most of its points: Funding. The 2022 ranking is based on data from 2021, so it does not include Move Ahead Washington, the major transportation funding measure passed in March. Move Ahead Washington includes $1.29 billion for “active transportation” projects.
Washington’s reign as the top state in the Union for bicycling is the result of a lot of hard work from advocates and some WSDOT staff and state legislators. But being the most bike-friendly state has for long been a rather low bar. Our headline for the last ranking in 2019 (they did not release rankings in 2020 and 2021 because, well, you know) was “Other 49 states still seemingly uninterested in being more bike friendly than WA.”
But that is changing. Massachusetts took the top spot in 2022, and Oregon took spot number two. If they want to keep Washington from reclaiming the top spot in 2023, once Move Ahead Washington is accounted for, they are going to need to do something big. I hope they do, because having real competition for the top spot is great for everyone.
Washington’s report card recommends that the state invest more federal Highway Safety Improvement Program funds into projects to increase safety for nonmotorized users. Other than that, it mostly praises actions by the state such as its efforts for include environmental justice in its transportation planning and its creation of the Safe, Healthy, Active Streets program during the pandemic.
Below is the full ranking list:
TBH washington state really didn’t deserve #1 for so many years. It was coasting on aspirational work for quite a bit of the time. I find the Seattle area more hostile to cycling than the Portland (OR) area. I lived 5 years in Beaverton, OR and 17 in the Seattle suburbs.