Washington and Minnesota have again dominated the list of top bike-friendly states in America. Washington has been barely edging out Minnesota for the past 10 years. The west coast state and home to bike-friendly Seattle has held the No. 1 spot for a decade.
Many find it unusual that two cold-weather states are consistently ranked as the best place to ride a bike. The bottom line, however, is that it’s all about infrastructure and public policy. Local officials gotten behind building networks of safe biking paths and/or lanes for local citizens and tourists.
Other consistent contenders for stellar bike-friendly status are Oregon, California, Delaware, Massachusetts, Colorado, Utah, Florida and Virginia.
Much of the reason Washington holds onto its top ranking is its largest city, Seattle. It’s rated the No. 1 city in America for biking, according to Bicycling.com. The criteria used by the website is extensive and complicated. Its system takes into account more than 1,000 data points that looks into everything from the number of bike paths to gauging the opinions of avid biking fans.
The Bicycling.com evaluation method also goes beyond making judgments by evaluating just one type of rider, be it the daily commuter or the hardcore recreational roadie. Washington and Minnesota get high marks because local officials in these states have worked hard to build riding cultures that benefit everyone and all types of riding. That includes everyone from children to senior citizens.
Biking observers praise Seattle city planners for their attention to detail. For example, they protect biking lanes with sport concrete buffers. At intersections, bikers can lean on rails while they wait for biking lane signals to change. Seattle bike blogger Tom Fucoloro said a rider can cruise from the Space Needle to Pioneer Square on comfortable, protected lanes that are flat out fun to ride.
Minnesota boasts a combination is superior urban bike lanes in major cities, such as Minneapolis, along with some of the best “rail-trails” across the rural areas of the state. Biking bloggers note that Minnesota has established more than 4,000 miles of paved bike trails that run through lush forests and wild prairie-scapes. This includes secluded, scenic trails that wind past many of Minnesota’s famous 10,000 lakes.