For the second-straight year, Washington and Minnesota took the top two spots on an annual list of states that are best for cyclists. But the League of American Bicyclists’ rankings also show that no state scored higher than 67 points out of 100.
Last on the list was Alabama, which has occupied the No. 50 slot in four of the past eight rankings. The state earned a score of 12.3 points.
We’ll publish the full list below. For now, here are the top 5: Washington, Minnesota, Delaware, Massachusetts, Utah; the bottom 5: Montana, Nebraska, Kansas, Kentucky, Alabama.
The league’s rankings are based on a range of criteria that reward areas such as new policies, advocacy, legal protections and infrastructure. The league also issues a “report card” for each state, including a feedback section. One common suggestion: “Adopt a statewide, all-ages cell phone ban to combat distracted driving and increase safety for everyone.”
For Alabama, the feedback includes the observation, “Alabama has a high rate of bicyclist fatalities. Ensure that bicycle safety is a major emphasis in all transportation projects, programs and policies to address this issue.”
A look at recent years’ rankings shows that some states have moved up and down the list. For instance, Ohio has maintained its No. 16 spot after rising from the list’s lower half in 2014.
Two of the sharpest declines were in Hawaii and South Carolina, which fell from 2008 ranks of 14 and 15, respectively, to 40 and 47 this year.
This year, the league advised South Carolina officials, “Repeal the state’s mandatory bike lane law. These types of laws ignore the quality and safety of available bike lanes.”
The “Top 10 Signs of Success” for cycling in U.S. states, according to the League of American Bicyclists:
- 1 percent or more of people commuting by bike
- Safe passing law (3 feet or greater)
- Complete streets policy
- Dedicated state funding
- Active state advocacy group
- State bicycle plan (adopted 2005 or later)
- Share the road campaign
- Vulnerable road user law
- Bicycle safety emphasis in strategic highway safety plan
- 2 percent or more federal funds spent on bike/ped