The weather might not always be bike-friendly but that doesn’t stop enthusiastic residents from riding in it. The League of American Bicyclists released its annual scorecard for the most bike-friendly states today and for the eighth year in a row, Washington leads the list.
All 50 states are graded each year across five categories that include cyclist-friendly legislation as well as funding for infrastructure like bike lanes. So Washington boasts lots of people who ride bikes, yes, but it also stays on top due to progressive policies that place biking at the center of neighborhood development and transit planning. The new bikeshare system that Seattle launched in 2014 likely bolstered the rankings as well.
“In Washington, we’re focusing on connected communities and sustainable transportation, and bicycling is an important element of that multimodal system,” says Washington Secretary of Transportation Lynn Peterson.
A map of 2015 rankings; the bike-friendliest states are in blue
While Washington keeps its lock on the top spot, there are other perennial state standouts like Minnesota—which has a thriving bike culture, even with frigid winters—plus Colorado, California, and Oregon. Big gains were seen this year in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Utah, which all moved up significantly in the rankings. Utah, for example, will see the country’s first protected intersection for bikers.
Seattle’s bike share which launched in 2014. AP Photo/Elaine Thompson