In California, eco-friendly forms of transportation are on the rise. This revolution may be what led to the state ranking within the League of American Bicyclists Top 10 Most Bike Friendly States in the nation last year. For 2015, California remains at the top of the list moving up from last year’s ranking of number nine to number eight.
Each year, the League of American Bicyclists releases the rankings for the most bicycle friendly States in the US. The league released its yearly Bicycle Friendly States rankings on May 11, which was the first day of National Bike to Work Week. The event runs from May 11 through May 15. The annual Bike to Work Day is the final day of the event, May 15.
For 2015, California remains within the list of the top 10 Bicycle Friendly States; with CicLAvia rides closing the streets, new bike lanes and a community that aggressively pursues the rights of cyclists, it is no wonder. The improvements the state is making for bicyclists make it clear that California will continue to embrace this healthy and environmentally friendly form of transportation.
According to the League of American Bicyclists, surveys are completed by bicycling advocates and state transportation departments. The survey has five categories that are assessed.
These five categories include:
- Policies and Program
- Legislation and Enforcement
- Education and Encouragement
- Infrastructure and Funding
- Evaluation and Planning
A state receives higher scores on the survey if it has:
- Campuses participating in the Safe Routes to School Program
- Street policies that are bike-friendly
- Funding available for bicycle infrastructure
- Three-feet buffer zones for bicyclists – this was just recently enacted in California
Andy Clarke, who is the president of the Bicycle League, says that the league saw measurable progress in numerous states and hopes to see improvements continue as the benefits that bicycling has to offer are recognized by more statewide leaders.
California received 53 points out of the 100 points possible, only 13 points shy of first place Washington.
California’s category scores are as follows (with 5 being the highest score possible):
- Policies and Programs – 4
- Legislation and Enforcement – 4
- Education and Encouragement – 4
- Infrastructure and Funding – 3
- Evaluation and Planning – 4
The Bicycle League would like California to establish a statewide bicycle plan, which according to Caltrans website is already in the works. The department plans to begin working on the plan in June. Additionally, the league wants California to adopt a vulnerable user law and improve its collection of data related to bicycle injuries, trips and fatalities. Legislators attempted to pass a vulnerable user law in 2014, to no avail.
California’s Strong Points
- Safe passing law implemented
- At least 1 percent of people using bicycles to commute
- Dedicated funding
- Active advocacy group
- Bicycle safety emphasis in highway safety plan
- Share the Road Campaign
- Complete streets policy
The Bicycle Friendly State Program is not just an annual assessment. State officials, league staff and advocacy leaders work together to improve conditions for bicyclists. This joint effort helps identify and then implement policies, programs and campaigns geared toward the bicycling community.