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On April 19, the League of American Bicyclists releases its 2022 report (1) ranking the 50 U.S. states by their efforts toward bicycle transportation. This annual ranking has existed since 2008 for one or more important reasons. Find out why.
Bicycle injuries and fatalities cost the United States $23 billion a year
According to a report (2) by the US Department of Transportation, cyclists represent more than 2% of people who die in an accident involving a motor vehicle… while they represent only 1% of trips in the country. Only this statistic, which explicitly illustrates the bicycle problem in the United States, is enough to motivate the key transport actors to find solutions.
Digging deeper, these actors conclude and highlight the tremendous role that individual state leadership plays in making the nation’s roads safer for cyclists. Indeed, while states only own 19% of roads in the United States, 38% of bicyclist deaths occur on those roads. This issue, which has become publicized, thus gives rise to the ranking of the 50 American states on bicycle transport.
How to rank states on bicycle transportation?
Evaluating and comparing territories on their involvement in the bicycle problem in the United States is something that is quickly said but not immediately done. After careful consideration, the league identifies five factors that will be used to rank states against each other.
Criteria include a Complete Streets policy, a safe passing law, a statewide bike plan, a 2% or more of federal transportation funds spending on biking and walking, and a bicycle safety emphasis area.
So who are the best… and the worst?
Among the fifty positions, the state of Massachusetts finds itself in first place, followed by Oregon and Washington. These positions have been earned in part through their bike safety education campaigns as well as their bike plans. At the bottom of the ranking, we find Nebraska and Wyoming in 49th and last position, due to a lack of public funding and infrastructure in place.
Elsewhere on the scale, California ranks 4th, Florida 8th and New York 13th. Hawaii, meanwhile, ranks 27th on the ranking with an average score, while Alaska finds itself in 41st place due to a lack of legislation and incomplete policies.
What does the future of bicycle transportation in the United States hold?
It goes without saying that American states are now motivated to invest more and more in making bicycle transportation safer and more accessible. For context, only 13 states adequately met four or five ranking factors in 2015. Now that number has nearly doubled to 24 states in total.
On the other hand, technological advances and the development of transport encourage the use of bicycles and reduce the risk of accidents. Outside the United States, for example, the Quantum eBikes company located in Quebec contributes to the safety of Canadian cyclists by introducing them to the electric bike, which has been shown to be safer than the traditional bicycle.
To learn more, visit the 2022 U.S. State Bike Transportation Rankings (3).