California was recently ranked number eight on a list of the most bicycle-friendly states in the country. The two top spots on the list were taken by Washington and Minnesota, while Alabama landed at the bottom of the list. Apart from Washington and Minnesota, the top five included Delaware, Massachusetts and Utah.
The ranking was developed by the League of American Bicyclists, and was based on a number of measures, including bicycle-friendly policies in the state, advocacy programs, legal protections, as well as bicycle-friendly infrastructure. Each state got a report card that included feedback about the state’s policies, and suggestions.
For California, the League of American Bicyclists recommends the adoption of a statewide bicycle plan that would ensure better implementation of policies. The report also recommends better data collection of bicycle accident injuries, and fatalities on roadways across California.
The report makes special mention of the fact that there is a disproportionately high number of bicycle fatalities in California, and calls for more emphasis on bicycle safety-programs, and transportation projects. The report also advises that the state adopt a vulnerable road users law that would significantly enhance the penalties in place for motorists who cause an accident that leads to injury and death of a bicyclist.
The feedback isn’t all negative. The report also has praise for some of the steps the state has taken to help enhance safety for bicyclists in California. One of the more successful measures that have been implemented are the Three-Foot Passing law that requires motorists to maintain a minimum of three feet distance when they pass by a bike. Other signs of success are the Share the Road Campaign, the Complete Streets policy, and the high numbers of bicyclists accounting for more than 1% of the total population.