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California Moves up the “Bicycle Friendly States” Ranking to #8

Screen shot 2015-05-11 at 4.07.22 PM
The League of American Cyclist's state ranking of bicycle friendliness, top 25 states.

The League of American Bicyclists today released its state rankings for “bicycle friendly states” and this year California is ranked 8th in the US, behind Washington, Minnesota, Utah, and Oregon.

The state earned 53.1 points out of 100 possible points in the League's point system, which is actually a bit less than what we earned last year (53.7). Still, that's barely over half of the possible number of points, which offers a clue about how much work remains. Washington, the top-ranked state, earned only 66.2 points—so clearly there's plenty of room for improvement throughout the country.

The scores among the top ten or so states are pretty close. States are awarded points in five areas:

    • Legislation & Enforcement
    • Policies & Programs
    • Infrastructure & Funding
    • Education & Encouragement
    • Evaluation & Planning

California's weakest areas, unsurprisingly, are infrastructure & funding and evaluation & planning. For example, we got dinged for not having a statewide bicycle plan. However, according to information hidden deep in the Caltrans website [PDF], the department anticipates beginning work on such a plan in June.

The league also recommends that California adopt a vulnerable user law, which legislators tried and failed to pass last year--and to improve data collection on bicycle injuries, trips, and fatalities.

The League's state rankings are available here.

California's report card can be found here [PDF]. Notably, it's remarkably similar to last year's report card [PDF], in which California ranked #9, despite getting credit for attempting a vulnerable users law.

Last year's report also recommended that California

Adopt a mode share goal for biking to encourage the integration of bicycle transportation needs into all transportation and land use policy and project decisions.

Check! That is, Caltrans has stated the goal of tripling bicycling. Now to integrate bicycle transportation needs into all those policy and project decisions.

Also, Angie Schmidt at Streetsblog USA has the national perspective on the state rankings.

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