Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, the popularity of bicycling in America had been on a steady rise. Post-2020, experts expect bicycling to increase by at least 20 percent across the USA.
However, not every state has put bicycling infrastructure at the top of its priority list. While many have made impressive strides in bicycle safety, some states are lagging behind. The League of American Bicyclists has compiled data outlining some of the best states for bicyclists, as well as some of the worst offenders.
What Are the Best States for Bicyclists?
When it comes to bicycling, California remains the “gold” standard. While the League of American Bicyclists took issue with Gov. Newsom’s veto of biker protection programs in SB 127, the groups still gave this state an “A” for its countless policies and programs.
For instance, Oakland was the first state in the USA to introduce the “Safe Streets” initiative during COVID-19 lockdowns. This revolutionary program shut dozens of roads to car traffic so cyclists could easily navigate the city. California also has the fourth-highest rate of commuters who use their bicycles to get to work.
The League of American Bicyclists is consistently impressed with Washington State’s robust bicycle safety standards. Indeed, it seems like this Pacific Northwest state takes the top prize in the League’s annual survey every year. Just a few “pedal proactive” actions Washington has taken include creating a bicycle safety emphasis area and a complete streets law policy.
The League also likes how Washington allocates 2 percent of its federal funds to cyclist issues. As long as Washington continues moving forward, it will remain a leader in American bicyclist law.
Oregon is another Pacific Northwest state that has an exceptional reputation for bicyclist safety and infrastructure. In fact, this state has one of the lowest bicyclist fatality rates with 1.8 deaths per 10,000 bicyclist commuters. Speaking of commuters, Oregon also has the highest rate of workers who use their bicycles to get to work.
According to the League’s stats, about 2.4 percent of residents use their bikes to get to their job every day. If Oregon implements more programs to study pedestrian and cyclist behaviors, it may soon overtake Washington State’s position as the League’s favorite bicyclist state.
What Are the Worst States for Bicyclists?
The Equality State doesn’t seem to have equal standards for bicyclists vs. car drivers. According to the League of American Bicyclists, Wyoming has the absolute worst policies for cyclists on the books. Primarily, this has to do with a lack of funding for various bicycling initiatives.
Many cyclists also complain about extremely narrow shoulders, even in touristy areas like Yellowstone National Park. Until Wyoming gets serious about widening its cyclist lanes, it probably isn’t the best place for a bicycling business.
Everyone wants to travel to Florida, but few people like to bike here. Unlike states like California or Oregon, nearly every city in the Sunshine State is car-centric. Indeed, Florida’s focus on automobiles may account for the state’s high rate of cyclist fatalities.
Rhino Lawyers, one of Tampa’s most reputable personal injury law firms, states, “All too often, distracted motorists simply don’t pay enough attention to bicyclists sharing the road. Alternatively, the motorist assumes that they have the right-of-way over a bicyclist. This judgement error can have disastrous consequences.”
According to AAA, Florida is one of the deadliest places for bicyclists, with about 125 deaths per year. Although the League of American Bicyclists has high hopes for Florida’s future, they also note it needs to emphasize bicyclist safety.
Nebraska’s Cornhuskers don’t seem to be all that into cycling. According to the League of American Bicyclists, Nebraska has one of the lowest rates of commuters who cycle at only 0.4 percent of the population. While cyclist fatalities are relatively low at 5.2 per 10,000 cyclist commuters, the state also has few bicyclist safety initiatives. The League also ranks Nebraska as one of the nation’s worst for safe bicyclist infrastructure and planning.