Minnesota is the second most bicycle friendly state in the nation, according to the League of American Bicyclists’ ranking released this past week. Minnesota has consistently ranked in the top five states since the rankings began in 2008.
The number one ranking went to Washington state, which has had the top spot since 2008.
“In recent rankings, Minnesota has just been slightly behind Washington, and at times it could be considered a toss-up for the top spot,” according to the Bicycle League’s report card. “MnDOT continues to do some excellent bicycle planning that enables state, regional and local collaboration that improves biking.”
“MnDOT and our partners work hard to improve the bicycling environment in the state,” said Amber Dallman, Minnesota Department of Transportation bicycle and pedestrian coordinator. “We know there is always more to do to make bicycling safe, comfortable and convenient for all, but we are happy that our efforts are keeping us at the top.”
The bicycle friendly states ranking is based on a number of key indicators, including infrastructure and funding that provide safe places to bike; education and encouragement programs that promote cycling and passage and enforcement of bicycle friendly laws that make it safe and comfortable for people of all ages and abilities to ride. Rounding out the top five bicycle friendly states are California, Oregon and Massachusetts.
“One difference between Washington and Minnesota this year is that Washington has recently secured long-term funding for bicycling and walking while Minnesota continues to have protracted transportation funding debate,” according to the report card.
“Being considered, at times, a toss-up, for the highest ranking state is something we can be really proud of,” said Dorian Grilley, executive director of the Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota. “We’ve worked as a coalition with many statewide organizations to support a long-term multi-modal transportation funding increase for several years, but the legislature can’t agree on this and other issues, like distracted driving, that would increase safety and access for all users. We’re confident that these changes will be enacted soon given their broad base of support, which includes MnDOT.”
Minnesota received its ranking in part because of its work in securing funding for bicycle district plans that align with the statewide bicycle system plan. Recent legislation also clarified the safe passing law with the double yellow line.
“Minnesota is a leader in bicycle and pedestrian counting,” according to the report card. “MnDOT’s initiative should be supported, so there are measures for users on varying facility types around the state.”
The report card also noted that Minnesota would benefit from laws that make it easier for local jurisdictions to lower speed limits on state roadways, increase penalties for a motorist that injures or kills a bicyclist or pedestrian and require the use of a hands-free device for phone use while driving. Minnesota has 21 bicycle friendly communities, 86 bicycle friendly businesses and four bicycle friendly universities.
Read more about the League of American Bicyclists’ at www.bikeleague.org.
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