Minn. & Wis. ranked No. 2 & 3 most bike friendly states
Thursday, June 05, 2014 1:22 PM
Minnesota took the No. 2 spot in the latest ranking of “bike friendly states” as determined by the League of American Bicyclists.
Wisconsin jumped from No. 8 to No. 3, approaching that state’s highest rank of No. 2 in 2010.
Minnesota, up from No. 4 last year, is now behind only Washington State which held fast to the top position it earned in 2013.
Illinois fell two spots to No. 9 as did Michigan, now ranked No. 14. Iowa also dropped, from 21st to 25th.
Wisconsin Bike Fed Deputy Director Dave Schlabowske said he and his staff were surprised Wisconsin ranked so high after state lawmakers “cut funding for bicycling to the bone in the 2013-2015 Biennial Budget and gutted our Vulnerable Users bill” of any enhanced penalties for motorists who seriously injure or kill cyclists.
But the league looks at a range of criteria when calculating its rankings, including access to bike trails, education and encouragement programs that promote cycling and passage and enforcement of laws that make it safer and more comfortable for people to bike.
As it happens, Wisconsin actually spent more on bicycling in 2013 than 2012 because of the lag time between the allocation of the money and the hiring of contractors to build the infrastructure and run the programs that benefit bicyclists.
So Wisconsin’s No. 3 ranking “is sure to fall in the next year or two based on WisDOT’s 2013-2015 Budget,” Schlabowske wrote, unless state residents “can convince our elected officials in Madison that bicycling is a great investment with a tremendous return in terms of adding to our state economy and making our state a better place to visit, live, work and do business.”