The League of American Bicyclists is out with its rankings of the most bicycle-friendly states and once again Minnesota has runner-up status, finishing behind No. 1 Washington again.
Washington has held the top spot in the league's rankings since they began in 2008, but this year narrowly edged out Minnesota for top honors this year.
"In recent rankings, Minnesota has just been slightly behind Washington and at time it could be considered a toss-up for the top spot," the league said in its report card assessing strengths and weaknesses of each state’s efforts related to bicycling. "MnDOT continues to do some excellent bicycle planning that enables state, regional and local collaboration that improves biking."
"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."
The Bicycle Friendly States ranking is based on a number of 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.
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, the league said.
But if it is to leap to the top, "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," the state's report card said.
Minnesota has 21 bicycle friendly communities and 86 bicycle friendly businesses.
Following Washington and Minnesota, the rest of the top 10 states are California, Massachusetts, Oregon, Colorado, Delaware, Utah, New Jersey and Virginia.