Bicycle Friendly State
2011 State Rankings
5. New Jersey
14. New Hampshire
28. Rhode Island
34. New York
38. North Carolina
39. South Carolina
41. South Dakota
44. New Mexico
49. North Dakota
50. West Virginia
HOW BICYCLE FRIENDLY STATES ARE RANKED 1-50
The League annually ranks all fifty states for bicycle friendliness. We do this based on a multi-faceted Bicycle Friendly State (BFS) questionnaire that is answered by each state’s Bicycle Coordinator. The data collected – based on 56 questions, across five categories – is verified by League staff in concert with advocates in each state. States that continue to promote bicycling and improve conditions can expect to improve their scores. Our BFS annual ranking measures to the best of our degree the states bicycle-friendliness but does not include everything states can and should do for bicycling. It is primarily designed to establish best practices for others to follow as every state has great riding opportunities, dedicated state-agency staff, determined advocates and cyclists of all stripes working to make a great state for cycling.
The BFS ranking process illustrates general performance needs. Traditionally, the BFS rankings show that there are fantastic efforts to emulate and there is still a lot of work to be done to increase bicycle-friendliness in states – from the bottom to the top of the BFS ranked list.
Legislation & Enforcement: The Legislation and Enforcement component of the BFS questionnaire covers basic laws and regulations that govern bicycling. Questions include whether cyclists can legally use the shoulder, signal turns with either hand or leave the right-hand portion of the road when their safety requires it. This section also covers motorist responsibilities like passing at a minimum of three feet, making sure traffic is clear before opening automobile doors, and gathers data on the types of training law enforcement officers and traffic court judges receive to ensure protection of cyclists’ rights to the road and safe travel on our shared roadways.
Programs & Policies: The Programs & Policies component of the BFS questionnaire covers what state agency requirements are for accommodating cyclists, be it a Complete Streets policy, a plan or agreement for mountain bike trails, how much state agency staff time is dedicated to bicycling, and whether or not bicycling is included as part of the state’s carbon-reduction plan.
Infrastructure: Infrastructure and how it’s funded is a critical element of the BFS questionnaire, and the questions aim at collecting data on specific performance measurements, i.e. in the amount of facilities and spending amounts for bicycling. Other examples include the percentage of state highways with shoulders, signed bike routes, trail miles, and bicycle-related project obligation rates for available federal funding. As states improve their numbers for many of the BFS questions, the bar will continue to rise for states in regards to bicycle-friendliness.
Education & Encouragement: The Education & Encouragement section covers the amount of bicycling education in the state for adult and youth cyclists, and individual and professional motorists. A few ways that states can educate drivers on the road about cycling, for example, are Share the Road campaigns and questions concerning cyclists’ rights in state drivers’ exams. States can encourage more and better bicycling by promoting bicycling tourism, producing bike maps and collaborating with state and local advocacy groups, along with education efforts.
Evaluation & Planning: The Evaluation & Planning section of the BFS questionnaire surveys how bicycling is incorporated into each state’s yearly planning. Questions address the way bicycling is included in the highway safety plan, outdoor recreation plan and/or bicycle transportation plan. This section also measures results of the state’s bicycle/car crash rates and bike commuting rates.
national Advisory Group
The National Advisory Group provides guidance on BFS program development and priorities. Members include:
Tim Blumenthal, Bikes Belong Coalition
Ariadne Delon Scott, Stanford University
Tom Huber, Toole Design Group
Rob Sadowsky, Bicycle Transportation Alliance
Jeff Olson, Alta Planning+Design
Robert Ping, Safe Routes to School National Partnership
Tim Potter, Michigan State University
Jim Sebastian, DC Office of Transportation Planning
Sarah Strunk, Active Living By Design
Jennifer Toole, Toole Design Group
Zoe Kircos, Bikes Belong Coalition
Alan Turnbull, National Park Service
Jill Van Winkle, International Mountain Bike Association
Robbie Webber, Bike Walk Madison
Charlie Zegeer, Pedestrian & Bicycle Information Center
Ed Barsotti, League of Illinois Bicyclits