Minnesota ranks second for being bicycle friendlyThe League of American Bicyclists announced that Minnesota ranks as the second most bicycle-friendly state in the nation.
The League of American Bicyclists announced that Minnesota ranks as the second most bicycle-friendly state in the nation.
This is a jump from the No. 4 slot achieved in 2010 and 2011 and fifth-place ranking in 2008 and 2009.
“This is a shared honor for bicyclists of all levels and the many partners who work collectively to make bicycling better across Minnesota,” Dorian Grilley, executive director of the Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota, said. “Improving bicycling is so much more than buildings bike paths and hoping people use them. Education, enforcement, promotion and evaluation must all be part of the program at local and statewide levels.”
Approximately half of Minnesotans rode a bicycle last year, according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation 2011 Omnibus Transportation Survey.
“We are encouraged to see significant progress in top states like Washington, Minnesota, Colorado and Massachusetts,” said Andy Clarke, president of the League of American Bicyclists. “But, as the scores clearly highlight, there’s much work to be done in critical areas like infrastructure and funding. We look forward to working with Minnesota to improve conditions for people who bike for transportation and recreation.”
Washington remains the top ranked state for the fifth year in a row, followed by Minnesota, Massachusetts, Colorado and Oregon. Minnesota received its ranking because of many factors, including:
• Partnerships among several state agencies and local/statewide advocacy groups that are encouraging increased commuter and recreational bicycle use and leading the Safe Routes to School program.
• Minnesota is recognized as the “Best Trails State” in the nation. The state features more than 600 miles of paved trails managed by the Department of Natural Resources. The DNR adds about 10 miles of paved trail to the system each year. National, regional and local governments manage thousands of additional trail miles.
• Nice Ride Minnesota, the first large-scale bicycle sharing system in the nation, is expanding into St. Paul. In summer 2012, the program will have more than 1,300 bicycles and 146 kiosks in Minneapolis and St. Paul.
• The Mississippi River Trail bicycle route continues to grow in popularity. The trail efficiently and cost-effectively repurposes existing roadways and trails to create a new coordinated bikeway. The MRT in Minnesota now has interactive and printable maps and is Minnesota’s first U.S. Bicycle Route and state bikeway.
• The Minnesota Department of Health’s Statewide Health Improvement Program has assisted more than 250 communities to increase access to bicycling and walking opportunities over the past two years, making the healthy choice an easy choice.
• The state has high rates of bicycle commuting and recreational use.
• For seven years, the nationally recognized bicycle safety education campaign, “Share the Road,” has helped improve awareness of bicycle laws for both motorists and bicyclists.