Monday, September 22, 2008

Ohio Ranks Low on Bicycle-Friendly States List

The League of American Bicyclists started a couple of new initiatives recently, Bicycle Friendly Businesses and Bicycle Friendly States. The idea is, like their now-famous Bicycle Friendly Communities program, to encourage states to modernize their support for cycling as an equal road-space user and to give communities a guideline to help them improve by supporting cycling.

They've started with some initial rankings, and Ohio got 32nd - firmly in the lower half of the rankings. The reasons they gave (from their website) are as follows:
Ohio

State Rank: 32 out of 50.

Reasons for Ranking: Ohio has a routine accommodation policy adopted in 2005, but no bike master plan and bicycling enforcement is not a police academy or POST training requirement.

This goes along nicely with the observation I've had since starting this blog: that if the police would effectively enforce the law, things would be much better for all road users. Academy or post training requirements would certainly help in this case.

Just as a comparison, here's how Ohio ranks against the states around us:

Michigan: 12
Indiana: 24
Kentucky: 29
Ohio: 32
Pennsylvania: 38
West Virginia: 50 (wow.. dead last!)

Washington was the highest ranked state nationally.

I love having this ranking. One of the things I've heard from various city and community leaders around the biking world is that for some of them, trying to surpass their "rival cities" on the bike-friendliness front is a great goal, and this provides an outside agency to measure their progress. And the rivalries between states can be even greater.

Picture rivalries such as Michigan/Ohio, or Texas/Oklahoma, etc. Then picture them trying to outdo each other by making their states more friendly to bicycles. When such a rivalry causes states to try to positively change for the better, everyone wins.

People, not speed.

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