May 6, 2022
If you’re a local cyclist, we’ve got some positive news to share.
California ranked 4th among all US states in “Bicycle Friendliness” in the latest national rankings published by the League of American Bicyclist.
The rankings are a gauge of all the steps states undertake to create safe cycling opportunities for residents and visitors. Among the categories that states are graded on include the following:
In its scorecard, the League characterized California’s overall bicycle friendliness by saying the following:
“California has made significant advances in bicycle policy in recent years, but those advances must be institutionalized more thoroughly in local Caltrans offices and in funding decisions made by Caltrans and the state legislature. For example, while California’s Active Transportation Program has expanded in recent years, it still fails to meet the demand for biking and walking investments with a nearly $2 billion gap in funding in the last application round.”
2021 drew renewed and unprecedented attention to the federal Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD). California should ensure that its version of the MUTCD reflects the leadership of Caltrans in promoting Complete Streets. Work with bicycling and walking advocates on a comprehensive update that prioritizes safety.
Local advocates point to lack of community engagement and outdated design standards often imposed on local projects by Caltrans as issues. Caltrans should work to improve its community engagement and design standards so that it can more effectively implement cultural change for safe streets and encourage more biking and walking. Caltrans District Level Active Transportation Plans are a great initiative.
Advocate concerns persist about a disconnect between Caltrans leadership and day-to-day activities. Caltrans’ implementation of a Safe System Approach and development of state-level guidance for quick builds are welcome steps to creating a cultural change that prioritizes safety for all people and recognizes changes to the built environment as key to safer streets. AB43 provides significant new authority for localities in California to lower speed limits and we look forward to its implementation.”
The League also gave California positive marks for making progress on creating a Safe Passing Law, instituting a 10-year bike plan, spending 2% or more of federal transportation funds on biking and pedestrians and creating a Bicycle Safety Emphasis Area.
While there is still much more progress to be made, California can once again definitively say that it remains one of the most cycling friendly states in the union.
Gary Brustin is a lifelong cyclist and a specialist in bicycle accident law. In fact, these are the only types of cases he accepts. If you’ve been injured in a collision, we urge you to contact Gary for a complimentary consultation.