In honor of National Bike Month, the League has released its latest Bicycle Friendly States ranking. In the sixth annual assessment, Georgia achieved a #24 ranking nationally, while placing 4th among southern states.
“We are encouraged to see significant progress in top states like Washington, Delaware, Colorado and Oregon,” 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 planning in every state. “
The Bicycle Friendly States Ranking is now even more comprehensive, capturing more information than ever before and delving more deeply into the issues embedded in becoming a more bicycle friendly state.
Georgia’s #24 ranking was based on a number of key indicators, including infrastructure and funding that provide on-the-ground bicycle facilities; education and encourage programs that promote cycling; and passage and enforcement of bicycle-friendly laws that make it safe and comfortable for people of all ages to ride. See GA’s report card
Georgia has made significant strides toward improving bicycling conditions in the past year. Most notably, the Georgia DOT adopted a “Complete Streets” policy in 2012. This policy integrates bicycle and pedestrian accommodations into most state and federally-funded transportation projects. In 2011, Governor Nathan Deal also signed into law HB 101, which requires motorists to provide a minimum buffer of three feet when following or passing a person on a bicycle. Future goals to further improve roadway safety include consistent bicycle traffic counts in urban areas, establishing bicycle transportation performance measures, and setting aside dedicated safety funding to plan, build, and evaluate quality bicycle facilities.
“The Georgia Department of Transportation acknowledges the League American Bicyclists rating of 24th,” says GDOT Chief Engineer Russell McMurry. “We believe that this ranking will continue to improve as we implement more bike friendly projects resulting from the Complete Streets policy, updating of statewide bike and pedestrian plan, and focus on safety improvement opportunities at high crash frequency locations. GDOT is also committed to work with Georgia Bikes and other groups to improve our standings.”
“There is no doubt that Georgia is an outstanding state for cycling,” adds Harris Blackwood, director of the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety. “As more motorists become familiar with our three-foot rule and as more on- and off-road biking lanes and trails are built, we believe that our ranking will only increase.”
The BFS program is more than an annual assessment. Throughout the year, League staff will work actively with state officials and Georgia Bikes to help Georgia identify and implement the programs, policies and campaigns that will improve conditions for bicyclists.
Learn more about the BFS program at www.bikeleague.org/states.