Bicycle Friendly States
The Bicycle Friendly State program promotes awareness, best practices, and action by state Departments of Transportation and state legislatures. While each state has its own beautiful scenery, bicycling culture, and weather – the ranking is concerned with actions by state decision-makers and helping each state understand how it can play a role in building a Bicycle Friendly America for Everyone!
The Bicycle Friendly State program is structured around a ranking of all 50 states based upon publicly available data and a survey completed by state Departments of Transportation and/or state bicycle advocacy organizations. This data is used to rank and create a report card for each state. Publicly available data used by the Bicycle Friendly State program includes:
- Bike commuting data from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey,
- Bicyclist fatality data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System,
- Bicycle and Pedestrian spending data from the Federal Highway Administration’s Fiscal Management Information System, and
- Data on advocacy and bicycle-related laws maintained by the League of American Bicyclists.
The survey completed by state Departments of Transportation and/or state bicycle advocacy organizations is a survey that is shared by the Bicycle Friendly State program and the Benchmarking Project on Bicycling and Walking in the United States. The Benchmarking Project is funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. An interactive website that includes data from all biennial Benchmarking Reports, including the most recent 2016 report, can be found at bikingandwalkingbenchmarks.org. The next Benchmarking Report will be published in late 2018.
Learn about Bicycle Friendly States:
About the Program
The Bicycle Friendly State program was launched in 2008 in order to better understand state efforts related to bicycling and provide a comparative framework that allows states to easily identify areas of improvement. Through our ranking, we hope that states and the public can easily understand the relative strengths and weaknesses of each state’s efforts related to bicycling.
The primary focus of the Bicycle Friendly State program is on the behavior of state Departments of Transportation and state legislators. These two groups are powerful policymakers and implementers who have significant impacts on conditions for bicyclists in each state. The League recognizes that there are often other departments that play a key role in state biking policies and programming, including Departments of Health, Natural Resources, Highway Patrol, Motor Vehicle Licensing, and others. While we encourage engagement with those departments, our survey does not explicitly ask for information from them.
Resources for Building a Bicycle Friendly State
- Review the National Conference of State Legislatures guide Encouraging Bicycling and Walking: The State Legislative Role
- Find more information on 13 types of common laws and regulations pertaining to bicycles for each state
- The League of American Bicyclists opposes mandatory side path laws and any legislation that would restrict bicyclist access to roads as operators of vehicles. Review the League’s position on this and other topics.
- Review information regarding helmet laws for your state, as well as the League’s position on helmet use.
- Find states that require a safe passing distance
- Review information on photo enforcement
- Check out more information on state laws restricting cell phone use
- See an example of officer bicycle and pedestrian law trainings
- Review Chapters 1, 11, and 12 of the Uniform Vehicle Code
- Check out The Innovative DOT - A Handbook of Policy and Practice
- League of American Bicyclists supports Complete Streets that are designed and operated to enable safe access for all users. Pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and bus riders of all ages and abilities are able to safely move along and across a complete street. Visit Smart Growth America to learn more, and see this example of a statewide policy.
- For an example of a carbon emission reduction plan, review Maryland's Comprehensive Greenouse Gas and Carbon Footprint Reduction Strategy
- Cyclists often travel across city, county and even state boundaries. See FHWA's Small Towns and Rural Multimodal Networks Guide and the Lake Champlain Bikeways for an example of bike facility coordination with neighboring states.
- Review information on FHWA’s rumble strip recommendations as well as Colorado’s bicycle-friendly rumble strip design
- For context sensitive design guidance see Oregon’s Main Street…When a Highway Runs Through It and Maryland’s When Main Street is a State Highway
- See information about the Bicycle Level of Service (BLOS)
- Learn about the FAST ACT - the most recent federal transportation bill
- Information on the Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP)
- Information on the State Planning & Research (SPR)
- For an example of a plan for a statewide bicycle route network, click here
- For information on national US numbered bike routes, click here
- For more information on the liability issues of bikeways see the National Cooperative Highway Legal Digest
- For information on League of American Bicyclists Bike Ed classes being offered in your state, as well as a listing of current League Certified Instructors (LCI’s) click here
- An example of a statewide “Share the Road” campaign
- See how other states are supporting Safe Routes to School efforts here
- For an example of a state Bicycle Driver’s Manual click here
- Information about state and large city advocacy organizations
- An example of a bicycle tourism promotion
- For an example of bicycle usage rates listed within a State Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP), click here and here
- Check out examples of good statewide bicycle plans
- Video produced by Arkansas State University explaining the statewide bike planning process
- Uniform guidelines on bicycle safety for your state Highway Safety Plan
- NHTSA cyclist fatality rates
- Explore California's community bike safety assesment and strategy
- American Community Survey rates of bike commuting by state
- Read the League's Guide to Statewide Bicycle Summits
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