- Jessica Wiens, MnDOT
Minnesota ranks second in nation for bicycle-friendly states
ST. PAUL, Minn. – The League of American Bicyclists today announced that Minnesota ranks as the second most bicycle-friendly state in the nation. This is a jump from the number four slot achieved in 2010 and 2011. Prior to that, Minnesota ranked fifth in 2008 and 2009.
“This is a shared honor for bicyclists of all levels and the many partners who work collectively to make bicycling better across Minnesota,” said Dorian Grilley, executive director of the Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota. “Improving bicycling is so much more than buildings bike paths and hoping people use them. Education, enforcement, promotion and evaluation must all be part of the program at local and statewide levels.”
Approximately half of Minnesotans rode a bicycle last year, according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation 2011 Omnibus Transportation Survey.
"We are encouraged to see significant progress in top states like Washington, Minnesota, Colorado and Massachusetts," 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 funding. We look forward to working with Minnesota to improve conditions for people who bike for transportation and recreation."
Washington remains the top ranked state for the fifth year in a row, followed by Minnesota, Massachusetts, Colorado and Oregon. Minnesota received its ranking because of many factors, including:
- Partnerships among several state agencies and local/statewide advocacy groups that are encouraging increased commuter and recreational bicycle use and leading the Safe Routes to School program.
- Minnesota is recognized as the “Best Trails State” in the nation. The state features more than 600 miles of paved trails managed by the Department of Natural Resources. The DNR adds about 10 miles of paved trail to the system each year. National, regional and local governments manage thousands of additional trail miles.
- Nice Ride Minnesota, the first large-scale bicycle sharing system in the nation, is expanding into St. Paul. In summer 2012, the program will have more than 1,300 bicycles and 146 kiosks in Minneapolis and St. Paul.
- The Mississippi River Trail bicycle route continues to grow in popularity. The MRT efficiently and cost-effectively repurposes existing roadways and trails to create a new coordinated bikeway. The MRT in Minnesota now has interactive and printable maps and is Minnesota’s first U.S. Bicycle Route and state bikeway.
- The Minnesota Department of Health’s Statewide Health Improvement Program has assisted more than 250 communities to increase access to bicycling and walking opportunities over the past two years, making the healthy choice an easy choice.
- The state has high rates of bicycle commuting and recreational use.
- For seven years, the nationally recognized bicycle safety education campaign, “Share the Road,” has helped improve awareness of bicycle laws for both motorists and bicyclists.
Several state agencies, including the departments of Health, Natural Resources, Transportation and Tourism invest in bicycling as an important component of Minnesota’s transportation system. Bicycle tourism also has a positive impact on Minnesota’s economy and being physically active can decrease the risk of a variety of diseases such as heart disease and stroke, diabetes, depression and certain types of cancer.
A group of state agencies, private organizations and businesses also launched this week the new Pedal Minnesota promotion, which aims at getting more people on bikes more often in Minnesota. Find upcoming bike events, mom-to-mom tips for riding with kids and much more at www.pedalmn.org.
This is the fifth year the League of American Bicyclists has awarded Bicycle Friendly State designations as part of National Bike Month. To learn more about the Bicycle Friendly State program, visit www.bikeleague.org/programs/bicyclefriendlyamerica/bicyclefriendlystate/.
The League of American Bicyclists promotes bicycling for fun, fitness and transportation, and works through advocacy and education for a bicycle-friendly America. The League represents the interests of the nation’s 57 million bicyclists, including its 300,000 members and affiliates. For more information, visit www.bikeleague.org/.