Utah is the Fifth Most Bike-friendly State in the U.S.
UTAH, May 12 (UPI) — Utah is the fifth most bike-friendly state in the United States, the League of American Bicyclists’ annual report said.
The organization evaluated each state in five categories, including legislation and enforcement, policies and programs, infrastructure and funding, education and encouragement, and evaluation and planning. Utah received it’s top marks for education and encouragement, followed by legislature and enforcement and policies and programs.
Utah received 54.3 points out of 100, while the number one state, Washington, received 66.2. Utah is up from eighth place last year.
The report urged the state to consider ways to include bicycling in short and long-range planning processes and provide a clear vision for bicycling in the state of Utah. It also suggested the following:
• Update the State Bicycle Master Plan with input from communities, advocates, and other stakeholders. Create a structure where stakeholders can provide input on UDOT projects as they are being developed rather than minor adjustments after they are planned and budgeted.
• Conduct a bicycle economic benefit study to showcase the positive impacts of bicycling for tourism, health costs, economic development, job creation, and transportation return on investment.
• Disburse SRTS funds. These have not been distributed for projects over the past two years and, to date, no RFP has been issued for 2015. Create and fund a school-based bicycle education program.
• As the success, number and size of Utah’s biking and walking programs grows ensure that staff size and resource are increased so that the success and growth is sustainable.
• Adopt a statewide Complete Streets policy. The National Complete Streets Coalition has a model state policy and a variety of other resources to ensure adoption and implementation.
• Adopt performance measures, such as mode shift or a low percentage of exempted projects, to better track and support Bike and Walk Accommodation Policy compliance.
• Ensure that no funds from the Transportation Alternatives program are transferred for purposes other than bicycling and walking projects.
The least bicycle-friendly state is Alabama with a score of 12. The league said the state should adopt a safe passing law with a minimum distance of 3 feet to address bicyclist safety, and should use more federal funds on bicyclists and pedestrians.
“Alabama currently has few people who regularly use a bicycle for transportation and a high fatality rate for those who do,” Alabama’s report card said. “Without incorporating bicycling as a transportation option into future plans, Alabama may continue to miss out on the health, economic and community benefits of bicycling.”