The 10 States With the Best Bike Policy Tend to Have One Thing in Common

The top 10 states for biking and walking were concentrated on the coasts and in the upper Midwest. Image: League of American Bicyclists
Map: League of American Bicyclists

How does your state measure up on bike policy? The League of American Bicyclists is out with its 2015 state rankings, highlighting the states that are doing the most — and the least — to make bicycling a safe and convenient way to get around. Washington tops the list for the eighth year in a row, with Alabama bringing up the rear.

Here are the top ten:

  1. Washington
  2. Minnesota
  3. Delaware
  4. Massachusetts
  5. Utah
  6. Oregon
  7. Colorado
  8. California
  9. Wisconsin
  10. Maryland

Now, these states aren’t perfect, and most still have their share of highway expansion projects in the pipeline. But most of them have one key thing in common: They’re finally letting cities and towns implement street designs like protected bike lanes, which the American engineering establishment shunned for decades. Of the top ten states, seven have endorsed the National Association of City Transportation Officials’ Urban Street Design Guide. Only one state that has endorsed the NACTO guide is not in the top ten — Tennessee, which the League rated number 20.

The League included the NACTO endorsement in its scoring criteria for the first time this year (much to the chagrin of some members of the old guard). While there are plenty of other criteria that go into the rankings [PDF], at the moment a NACTO endorsement seems to be a very good proxy for a state’s bike-friendliness compared to other states. The League is also using the absence of a NACTO endorsement to ding some states, like New York [PDF], for falling behind.

Two of the big up-and-comers in this year’s rankings were Utah and Massachusetts (both NACTO endorsers). Utah received credit for developing a bicycle master plan and setting goals to increase biking and walking rates. And Massachusetts enacted a transportation bond that designates $400 million for walking and biking projects over the next five years.

The Bike League has put together state-by-state report cards and recommendations, where you can see how your state stacks up.

  • Richard Moeur may be “old guard” to some, but his credentials are impeccable for a cycling context. Does Streetsblog have anyone with this much firepower?

    http://www.richardcmoeur.com/docs/rcmresume.pdf

  • The League needs to keep updating the criteria that it uses. I would love to see an “Idaho Stop Law” give states significant points. That would help incent state legislators to pass these laws.

  • RobMF

    I wish they included DC and US territories in this as well. Not sure how Guam or the Northern Mariana Islands would rate, but the District would likely knock Maryland out of the top 10.

  • Froggie

    This isn’t the first time StreetsBlog has taken a swipe at Richard Moeur, even though the guy has done a lot to promote bicycling and routinely bicycles to work. In Phoenix.

  • BBnet3000

    The 10 States With the Best Bike Policy Tend to Have One Thing in Common

    Andrew Cuomo isn’t the Governor of any of them.

  • J

    Seriously, DC has more people than Vermont and Wyoming, but doesn’t get the benefit of a ranking. Ugh.

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