Bicycle Friendly State Categories and Maps
What Do We Assess?
How do we determine the Bicycle Friendly State℠ Ranking? With our multi-faceted survey, we assess progress in five categories:
- Education and Encouragement
- Infrastructure and Funding
- Legislation and Enforcement
- Programs and Policies
- Evaluation and Planning
Click through the slideshow to see how your state stacked up in 2015 in each of the five categories and read more about what each category means below.
Bicycle Friendly State℠ Categories
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 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.
For more information on the particular data reported by each state please reference the Alliance for Biking & Walking's Benchmarking Report. The Benchmarking Report shares data with our Bicycle Friendly State ranking and comprehensively reports the data collected. In addition, a full version of the survey used to collect data is included in the Benchmarking Report.