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BFS: Evaluation and Planning

Our Evaluation & Planning category showed the second best improvement of any Bicycle Friendly State category this year.

This looks at how states plan to accommodate and protect bicyclists. To have good plans and ensure that they are working this category also looks at measurables – such as bicycle commuting rates and bicycle fatalities. This year, we saw a lot of improvement among states that scored either a 1 or a 2 in this category last year. Hopefully this means that these states are putting plans in place to increase cycling rates and decrease cycling-related fatalities, and that we will be reporting on those successes in the future. 

Both the Evaluation & Planning side of the category saw great growth in their associated Signs of Success. 

Evaluation: As reported in last year’s Where We Ride report and the recently released Census report, rates of bicycle commuting are rising. In the past year three additional states reported a bicycle commuter rate of 1% or better. There are now 10 states that have 1% or more of their workers choosing to commute to work by bicycle.

Planning: States are increasingly recognizing the need to address bicyclist and pedestrian fatalities. In the past year 9 states reported that bicyclist and pedestrian safety was an emphasis area in their Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP). This is the largest increase in any of our Signs of Success and now 40 states include bicyclist and pedestrian safety as an emphasis area in their SHSP. By doing so these states are setting the stage for safety programs, safety-related infrastructure funding, and interagency collaboration to ensure that bicyclist and pedestrian fatalities are reduced. 

The SHSP is an important part of the process that determines how federal funds from the Highway Safety Improvement Program are spent. In the period FY 2009-2013 only .4% of available HSIP funds were spent on projects that promoted bicyclist and pedestrian safety despite roughly 15% of fatalities during that period being bicyclists and pedestrians. More states emphasizing bicyclist and pedestrian safety should lead to an increase in the use of federal funds spent on bicyclist and pedestrian safety-related projects.

In addition to planning for better safety for bicyclists, two additional states reported that they have adopted a statewide bicycle plan. Now a majority of states, 27, have a statewide bicycle plan.